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FCC Saves World From Wi-Fi Congestion Nobody Was Worried About
Freeing 195 MHz of 5 GHz Band Spectrum
by Karl Bode 08:39AM Friday Feb 22 2013
In addition to new rules requiring that signal booster owners get carrier approval to use those devices, the FCC this week also claimed to have made some rule changes that will tackle what the agency insists is an emergency congestion epidemic facing Wi-Fi networks. The press quickly became awash in stories about how the FCC was saving us from a Wi-Fi congestion apocalypse nobody was actually worried about.

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Yes, some Wi-Fi networks in heavily-trafficked areas do get clogged.

A study earlier this year from the University of Twente’s CTIT research institute found that available bandwidth in urban areas can drop to as low as 20% of its overall potential.

Again though nobody's actually worried about this -- there's a myriad of engineering options to address this, ranging from improved Wi-Fi standards to more efficient use of spectrum, and the study was clear to point out that inefficient (but fixable) control mechanisms were primarily to blame for packet collision and urban congestion.

Enter the FCC on stage left to save the day. FCC boss Julius Genachowski desperately wants to have his legacy at the FCC be "the guy who ushered in the new wireless age," even if that legacy will more accurately be "yet another in a long-line of FCC bosses that pretended U.S. broadband has no competition issues." That's not to say the FCC's move here is bad, just overblown a bit.

According to the FCC, they'll modify part 15 rules governing Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) to make up to 195 megahertz of additional spectrum in the 5 GHz band available to unlicensed wireless devices. That's a 35% boost in available spectrum the agency says will ease congestion and boost wireless speeds moving forward. In short, the FCC move will contribute to engineer efforts to prevent more significant congestion issues before they happen.

"The proposed modifications would provide access to additional contiguous spectrum with consistent technical requirements, allowing unlicensed devices to use wider bandwidth channels, leading to faster speeds," notes the agency that saved the world.

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gatorkram
Need for Speed
Premium
join:2002-07-22
Winterville, NC
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Suddenlink

5gz

When I look at the wifi in use around me, no one is using 5gz, everyone is jamming the 2.4 band.

I think the issue comes down to range. 2.4 simply works better.
--
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djdanska
Rudie32
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
San Diego, CA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Cox HSI

Re: 5gz

said by gatorkram:

I think the issue comes down to range. 2.4 simply works better.

It has better range but when everybody in my apartment building all has 2.4ghz routers (if not two) then it completely ruins that. I have a (pre?) 802.11ac router (netgear r6300) and the 5ghz works flawlessly compared to the 2.4ghz band. Much better range on 5ghz due to less people using it.
--
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Alden Nowlan

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1

Re: 5gz

Yea right now 5Ghz is free and clear. When I moved to my current apartment the wifi was absolutely horrid in my apartment, I can always see at least 15 APs

I switched to a dual-band router and almost all of my traffic goes over 5GHz, I was surprised how many devices supported this very underutilized band, even my older blu-ray player and my Galaxy S2 support it.
In this 2.4 ghz nightmare area, 5Ghz is wonderful right now, I can only see one other AP on the band and real throughput is normally 180mbps to my desktop 450mbps adapter.

But newer wifi revisions rely on 5Ghz by default like 802.11ac, the 5Ghz band is going to eventually get more crowded and is capable of using much more spectrum including 80MHz and 160MHz channel support, 2 to 4 times the spectrum wireless N can use.

Spectrum changes take awhile, this spectrum is in use by the government, they'll have to vacate the spectrum. And hardware manufacturer's will have to build wifi gear that utilizes this additional spectrum, before 802.11ac really takes off would be the best time to do this.

For urban and apartment dwellers this is important. 5Ghz will eventually become crowded like 2.4Ghz in many areas.
To dismiss this rare good decision by the FCC as not important is short-sighted.

djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO
I think they're jamming 2.4ghz because that's the default of most routers. The range in 5ghz mode seems acceptable.

2.4ghz is horrible. I'm not even in an apartment. Everything wants to use that band. I have a pair of wireless outdoor speakers that obliterate 2.4ghz wifi when turned on, regardless of what channel you use.

I have to maintain a couple APs on 2.4ghz because we have cell phones and a NEST thermostat that can't pick up 5ghz.
--
AT&T U-Hearse - RIP Unlimited Internet 1995-2011
Rethink Billable.

PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD

Re: 5gz

said by djrobx:

I think they're jamming 2.4ghz because that's the default of most routers. The range in 5ghz mode seems acceptable.

2.4ghz is horrible. I'm not even in an apartment. Everything wants to use that band. I have a pair of wireless outdoor speakers that obliterate 2.4ghz wifi when turned on, regardless of what channel you use.

I have to maintain a couple APs on 2.4ghz because we have cell phones and a NEST thermostat that can't pick up 5ghz.

And they all default to 1, 6, or 11; even when they're on auto.

I've got a couple of access points around my house on 2.4GHz for phones, and devices that can't pick up 5GHz. They're all on channel 8. I've got my neighbor on channel 4. I do a quick Site Survey and see a flood of AP's on the big 3.
meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

1 recommendation

Re: 5gz

Which is good. 2,3,4,7,8,10,and12 should NEVER be used. The only channels that should ever be used are 1, 6, and 11 as a set or 1,5,9, and 13 as a set. That's it. Ever. Using the in between channels causes and is subject to far worse interference than two AP's on the same channel since they can't use CSMA to play nicely.
ptbarnett

join:2002-09-30
Lewisville, TX

1 recommendation

said by PapaMidnight:

And they all default to 1, 6, or 11; even when they're on auto.

There's a good reason for that. That is the most common set of non-overlapping channels. The rest of the channel have slightly different center frequencies, but they overlap each other.

»farm3.static.flickr.com/2398/249···d9c7.jpg


iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2

Re: 5gz

...but having two routers dead-set on channel six is not preferable to having those routers offset.
meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

Re: 5gz

said by iansltx:

...but having two routers dead-set on channel six is not preferable to having those routers offset.

Yes, yes it is...

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1

Re: 5gz

Most newer routers aren't dead-set on channel six, you can switch the band through the web interface, and many routers now dynamically choose 1,6 or 11 based on the AP's they detect around them.
putting an ap on any other channels is worse than adding another router as on channel 4 that AP will cause interference with router using channel 1 or 6. Instead of just affecting routers using one channel 1,6 or 11 which enables the most AP's to function.

In my opinion consumer routers should only provide 1,6 or 11 channel options.
meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

Re: 5gz

In my opinion they should only provide 1, 5, and 9 as channel options BUT the problem would be legacy 1-6-11 deployments. Channel 13 would be on Euro routers.

Regardless, 2,3,4,7,8,10, and 12 should just be removed. There's NEVER a reason to use those - ever.

RWSI

join:2012-11-27
Albuquerque, NM
Some of the signals you can't see doing a standard wifi scan. Over the decades different non ssid broadcast wireless devices have been deployed. Some of these devices are designed to wipe out interference. The only true way to see is to have on hand a very expensive spectrum and special antennas. These signals could be ruining your home wifi at 5gHz and you would never know it. Adding more spectrum only helps the few who can afford the good stuff coming down the road but gives a wireless ISP like us more room to grow.
cferro

join:2003-07-27
Jersey City, NJ
Where I live the same thing is true, most people use the 2.4GHZ band. I do not believe many people know about the 5GHZ band, and what equipment it takes to run it.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

1 recommendation

?

I thought the ITU was the standardizing body for 802.11ac.. while the FCC might allocate & regulate spectrum they're not the ones who make or finalize anything about wifi.

besides, there are so many versions of 802.11n; 150, 300, 450 and now 802.11ac is about to become the same... that the wireless network equipment will be a hodgepodge of frequencies & speeds that it will look like the analog modem days from 300 baud to 56000 baud..

(and the whole point of having a STANDARD) is guaranteed interop at the highest capacity & backwards compatability
kitsune

join:2001-11-26
Sacramento, CA

Re: ?

said by tmc8080:

besides, there are so many versions of 802.11n; 150, 300, 450 and now 802.11ac is about to become the same... that the wireless network equipment will be a hodgepodge of frequencies & speeds that it will look like the analog modem days from 300 baud to 56000 baud..

Those are not different versions of 11n. Just a different number of bonded channels. Which is supported by the 11n standard. Though bonding channels on the 2.4 spectrum causes a lot of problems for your neighbors.
brianiscool

join:2000-08-16
Tampa, FL
kudos:1

Wi-Fi

Where I live in my complex there are 10 other access points. I just love the radation my body gets on a daily basis.

djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO

Re: Wi-Fi


APs
said by brianiscool:

Where I live in my complex there are 10 other access points. I just love the radation my body gets on a daily basis.

That's all? I see 14 (4 of which are mine, LOL), and I'm in a house in a suburban neighborhood. AT&T's U-verse is a big hit in our neighborhood, and their gateways put out a lot of power.

--
AT&T U-Hearse - RIP Unlimited Internet 1995-2011
Rethink Billable.

PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD

Re: Wi-Fi

said by djrobx:

said by brianiscool:

Where I live in my complex there are 10 other access points. I just love the radation my body gets on a daily basis.

That's all? I see 14 (4 of which are mine, LOL), and I'm in a house in a suburban neighborhood. AT&T's U-verse is a big hit in our neighborhood, and their gateways put out a lot of power.

Them and Verizon both. Do a quick Site Survey in a densely populated area served by FiOS...

By the way, out of curiosity, why use different SSID's on each AP? Would it not be easier to keep the same SSID on each AP for the purposes of roaming between them?

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1

Re: Wi-Fi

That's what I always did when I lived in a rented house that needed two AP's to cover the entire house, Was much easier.

maypol18

@meridiantelekoms.com
yes u can roam around but still u will need to reconnect since each AP has its own mac...and ull be surprised why ur signal is so low....either way works ^_^

Darknessfall
Premium
join:2012-08-17
kudos:5
Oh yes... the 2wires...

DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000
microwaves are non ionizing, so unless your getting toasty hot, you have nothing to worry about.
hrickpa

join:2001-06-07
Reading, PA
I see about 25 2.4 Ghz networks around me where I live since the 2.4 Ghz I am using the 5 Ghz band (more stable and not crouded)
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Linked Artcile

The first link doesn't work. Says article does not exist.
hrickpa

join:2001-06-07
Reading, PA
Reviews:
·Verizon Online DSL

Crowed 2.4 Ghz networks

where I live there are at least 25 2.4Ghz networks around me not including mine because I am using the 5 Ghz band there is one other person using the 5 Ghz band in my area but it is very weak. since I am using the 5 Ghz it is more reliable also hides me from my neighbors

Darknessfall
Premium
join:2012-08-17
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast
·AT&T U-Verse

1 edit

5GHz

5GHz is empty here. Only my router and a U-verse wireless receiver AP that's far is on 5 GHz.

Also a thing to note: I'm putting up all my APs on one channel to force everyone off >:). Well... it's not that effective but at least it pushes my neighbor off the channel when I do it lol.

anonanon

@comcast.net

i would like to see special 'non commercial' spectrum

one thing that would actually be very pro consumer would be to allocated i nice chunk of spectrum for 'non-commercial' and/or free wireless only.

for example spectrum that could be used unlicensed for home usage or free/open networks but no paid or add sponsored networks allowed.

if carriers want to wifi instead of cellular let them pay for the spectrum they use.
meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

Re: i would like to see special 'non commercial' spectrum

The only way to do that would be to make it licensed and make the licenses personal only. They do this for GMRS. $75 buys you a license for your immediate family's use only. Do you really want to see that? Remember, your friends won't be allowed to use your Wi-Fi (they wouldn't be licensed).

BTW, yes, that means most GMRS users are breaking the law. And no, almost nobody cares.
b10010011
Whats a Posting tag?

join:2004-09-07
Bellingham, WA
Reviews:
·Comcast Formerl..

Re: i would like to see special 'non commercial' spectrum

How about licensing commercial WiFi and regulating them to not use an area of the band set aside for non commercial use?
--
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meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

Re: i would like to see special 'non commercial' spectrum

What is commercial WiFi? That's an insanely horrible idea, sorry, but it is.
meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

Re: i would like to see special 'non commercial' spectrum

P.S. just to be clear on some reasons WHY this a horrible idea:

1. There only are 3 non-overlapping channels (1,5,9,13) and 13 is illegal in the US (thus 1, 6, 11 are usually used to get a bit more guard space for legacy 802.11b). If you made even ONE CHANNEL (say from 7-12) non commercial, you'd leave Americans with only TWO CHANNELS to use in large office buildings, schools, etc. That would be HORRIBLE. THREE IS BAD ENOUGH.

2. Since you'd have to prove non-commercial use, there'd probably be a license fee.

3. The law woud be blatantly ignored anyways.

SmokChsr
Who let the magic smoke out?
Premium
join:2006-03-17
Saint Augustine, FL

I'm seeing more activity on 5Gig

I'm using 5 gig for point to point shots, and when I first put up the devices 2years ago, it was wide open, Nuttin in site. Now I'm seeing a fair amount more signals. My sites are typically 100'+ up a tower so I can see a long way. Still for the most part most home equipment I go right over and it never sees my signal, nor do I see it. A few more channels would be nice, but so far I've had no problems getting data from one site to the next

cork1958
Cork
Premium
join:2000-02-26

1 edit

Re: I'm seeing more activity on 5Gig

Nice little area I live in has a total of 5 people, including me, on the 2.4 frequency and 0 on the 5ghz.

I've worked on all 4 of the other people's setups also, so I know which channel they are all on. Not that it makes much difference with that few connections around anyway.

Does the FCC actually do anything? Sarcastic question.
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»www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey/

SmokChsr
Who let the magic smoke out?
Premium
join:2006-03-17
Saint Augustine, FL

Re: I'm seeing more activity on 5Gig

said by cork1958:

Does the FCC actually do anything? Sarcastic question.

You'd be surprised, they tend to show up when you least expect them (speaking of the EB {Enforcement Bureau}). If you put up a 5 gig on the wrong freq too close to one of the new TDWR radar sites it may not take long for them to show up.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
·Comcast

The FCC can't add more 2.4 spectrum...and more 5GHz is good

...because it's already licensed out on both sides of the band. On the upper side, it's a company (I want to say Immersat or someone like that). On the lower side, I believe it's other services that can't be easily moved...and routers don't support below channel 1 anyway.

Also, think for a minute about semi-rural areas that are just out of reach of cable, and are being abandoned by DSL providers (or at most being provided low speeds at high prices). These customers can be reached via 5GHz wireless in many cases, and more available spectrum in the band allows for more capacity/less interference from competing networks. So maybe your WISP can, for customers a couple miles or less from the AP, run 40MHz channels and offer 30 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up, consistently, where cable won't go, where they'd be able to only offer half that with less available spectrum (due to running afoul of other 5GHz users).

As for 2.4 GHz congestion, sure, it's there. There are twelve distinct networks visible at my location, and to my knowledge they all use 2.4 (too lazy to check). However I have no issue pushing 50 Mbps over my WiFI (also in 2.4). Then again, I have a router that's built for high RF performance (600 mW output...though I have it turned down to around 200 mW) so I don't get dropouts due to lousy equipment on either side of the link.

tonyram57

join:2001-11-08
Brooklyn, NY

Re: The FCC can't add more 2.4 spectrum...and more 5GHz is good

I have 68 other WiFi networks on 2.4 Ghz. All I did on 2.4 Ghz was print and stream music on my 4th Gen iPod Touch. Even just streaming music was horrible. It will cause buffering. I had to keep switching from channel 6 then back to channel 3 back and forth because of interference.

I then bought a new iPod Touch and a new dual band router and I now have no problems streaming music on the 5 Ghz. My new 5th Gen iPod Touch is the only thing that I have that works on 5 Ghz. Even my Dell XPS laptop from September 2011 only has a crappy 2.4 Ghz wireless so I keep it plugged into Ethernet like anything else that has a Ethernet port is hardwired.
meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

Re: The FCC can't add more 2.4 spectrum...and more 5GHz is good

While sure not a fun RF environment (especially if they aren't nicely laid out 1-5-9-13 or 1-6-11), I bet 2.4GHz is workable. Look at something like Ruckus, their AP's will run standalone (controller isn't needed) and will handle a high noise environment far better. Cost is about $600.

kevver

join:2003-12-11
Palatine, IL

2.4 crowded

The 2.4 GHz band is very crowded here in my condo complex. I can see about 20 APs, most of them are Uverse gateways that have wifi turned on by default (even if their wifi is never used).
There is only one other user on the 5GHz band.
When this new bandwidth becomes available, manufacturers will have to make new models of routers and adapters. This may take a long time. If you try to find a 802.11n "final" router it is still very difficult; everyone is still selling old 802.11 "draft" models.