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FCC to Free New Chunk of Unlicensed Wi-Fi Spectrum
Largest Block Made Available Since 2003
by Karl Bode 03:22PM Thursday Jan 10 2013
The FCC this week announced that the agency will be taking steps to free up wireless spectrum to be used by newer technologies like 802.11ac (aka "Gigabit Wi-Fi). Speaking at CES, FCC boss Julius Genachowski stated that the agency will begin a significant effort to free 195
megahertz of spectrum in the 5 gigahertz band -- the largest block of unlicensed spectrum to be made available for expansion of Wi-Fi since 2003.

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The lion's share of this spectrum is currently being borrowed by numerous government agencies the FCC will have to work hand in hand with. Genachowski, who may be leaving his post before too long, has been very busy trying to craft a legacy as the "man who saved wireless," though the reality is well, different. In this case, Genachowski insists he's acting to stop a "Wi-Fi traffic jam."

"When the FCC helped pioneer Wi-Fi nearly thirty years ago - through an innovative spectrum policy that relied on unlicensed use - no one knew the potential it held," said Genachowski in a statement. "But that FCC-created platform for innovation gave us cordless phones, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, benefitting consumers and our economy massively. We'll keep nurturing today's Wi-Fi as we also develop a next generation of spectrum policies to drive our mobile future for our innovators and our economy."

Granted adoption of 802.11ac probably isn't going to be all that significant initially. Even the engineers involved with the effort say the first incarnation isn't going to be worth buying. First-generation 802.11ac products will offer up to 1.3 Gbps via three spatial streams and 80-MHz-wide channels -- double the largest 40 MHz channel width currenly seen in 802.11n hardware.

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qworster

join:2001-11-25
Bryn Mawr, PA

And....

And the lion's share of wireless still happens on three non-overlapping channels in the 2.4 Ghz band.
iansltx

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

Re: And....

Yep, because 5GHz equipment on the AP side is still expensive, and has shorter range.

Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:23

Re: And....

No it's not. The TP-Link TL-WDR3500 is a simultaneous dual-band router (so it can do 2.4 and 5 at the same time), and costs $50 at retail... I'm sure there are cheaper examples too.

To put this in context, my WRT54GL cost more than that.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: And....

AC only runs in the 5ghz band... a lot of AC routers also support 2.4ghz N. However, it remains to be seen how much AC catches on.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Where is it sold, retail? Remember that the great unwashed masses don't all shop on Newegg, or shop for routers on Amazon.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: And....

Good routers are a lot more than $50 nowadays, like the ASUS RT-N66U Dark Knight with N900.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
Yeah, 5ghz is still pretty clean.
eco
Premium
join:2001-11-28
Wilmington, DE
802.11ac is going to be 5GHz only so that spectrum will start filling up over the next couple of years.

Darknessfall
Premium
join:2012-08-17
kudos:6
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
·Comcast
·AT&T U-Verse

5 Ghz Doesn't Seem to Need More Channels :)?

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As you can see below, there's a ton of 2.4 devices and only two 5(My router and a possible U-verse Wireless Receiver AP)
Kamus

join:2011-01-27
El Paso, TX

Re: 5 Ghz Doesn't Seem to Need More Channels :)?

That's pretty bad, do you live in an apartment complex?

Darknessfall
Premium
join:2012-08-17
kudos:6

Re: 5 Ghz Doesn't Seem to Need More Channels :)?

No, just holding my wireless adapter really high :P. I only normally pick up 8 or so when placed on top of my computer on the 2nd floor . WNDA4100

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
Why are all those people using channel 11? Are they stupid? I bet their connections suck which they promptly blame on their ISP instead of themselves.

Darknessfall
Premium
join:2012-08-17
kudos:6
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
·Comcast
·AT&T U-Verse

2 edits

Re: 5 Ghz Doesn't Seem to Need More Channels :)?

Lol I asked the same thing in a thread a month or so ago on this website. Most of them are 2wire U-verse gateways :P! Channel 1 is actually the clearest out of them all.

For your enjoyment with not holding my adapter up in the air:

AggieDan

@xo.net

Re: 5 Ghz Doesn't Seem to Need More Channels :)?

The AT&T U-Verse gateways don't look around to see how congested the bands are and instead default. You have to manually change the channel. Luckily for me, none of my neighbours seem to have this figured this out, leaving me the opportunity to set my APs on different channels with less interference.

Darknessfall
Premium
join:2012-08-17
kudos:6

Re: 5 Ghz Doesn't Seem to Need More Channels :)?

Both of my gateways that I received from AT&T had "Auto" for channel as the default.(3800/3801)
xur17

join:2003-03-26
Cincinnati, OH
I live in an apartment by my college, all of my neighbors except for 1 are on channel 11. I have no complaints though, as it leaves me 1 free non-overlapping channel, and 1 lightly used channel.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
I have traditionally seen channel 6 as the most, and 1 as the best. And then there's a few idiots on like 4 and 7, making only 2 usable (although one time in a dorm with horrendous interference, I found something like 3 or 4 to be the only thing that was remotely usable, as it partially fit in between 1 and 6).
ssavoy
Premium
join:2007-08-16
Dallas, PA
Reviews:
·Anveo

Re: 5 Ghz Doesn't Seem to Need More Channels :)?

I hate this. I'm forced to use channel 9 because 1, 6, and 11 are completely saturated. One neighbour runs two access points on two separate channels with 40MHz bandwidth and another uses channel 4. My LAN speeds over Wireless N rarely go past 20mbps on most channels. I get 30mbps on channel 9.

Another AP popped up last week on channel 7. I think 802.11ac will be my saving grace. I keep putting more devices on my wired network every week.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: 5 Ghz Doesn't Seem to Need More Channels :)?

You can also use dual-band N900, which works great.

antdude
A Ninja Ant
Premium,VIP
join:2001-03-25
United State
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
said by 88615298:

Why are all those people using channel 11? Are they stupid? I bet their connections suck which they promptly blame on their ISP instead of themselves.

Not everyone is an expert, but illiterates. They just set them up and be done. Do they care about security? Nope.

koolman2
Premium
join:2002-10-01
Anchorage, AK
I like that lone 11b access point in there.

Darknessfall
Premium
join:2012-08-17
kudos:6
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
·Comcast
·AT&T U-Verse

2 edits

Re: 5 Ghz Doesn't Seem to Need More Channels :)?

The B is someone's adhoc network which has been unsecured for years lol.

Just counted up how many per channel when holding my adapter in the air after about 10 minutes of letting InSSIDer pick up networks (All of the networks weren't all in range at once).

Channel - 2.4:
1 - 4 + 1 guest
2 - 2
3 - 1
4 - 2
5 - 2
6 - 4 + 1 guest
7 - 1
8 - 1
9 - 1
10 - 3
11 - 8

elios

join:2005-11-15
Springfield, MO
i dont get why WiFi doesnt use some thing like FHSS? we use it with our RC gear and it works great
public

join:2002-01-19
Santa Clara, CA

Re: 5 Ghz Doesn't Seem to Need More Channels :)?

said by elios:

i dont get why WiFi doesnt use some thing like FHSS? we use it with our RC gear and it works great

The old 1Mbps radios used fhss. It is not an efficient modulation method.
Jazzemt

join:2009-02-12
USA
Which software are you using to display that?

antdude
A Ninja Ant
Premium,VIP
join:2001-03-25
United State
kudos:5

Re: 5 Ghz Doesn't Seem to Need More Channels :)?

said by Jazzemt:

Which software are you using to display that?

Probably InSIDDer.

streamer

@cable.net.co
What app is that i'd love to run it on my mac to see how bad my area is.

Darknessfall
Premium
join:2012-08-17
kudos:6
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
·Comcast
·AT&T U-Verse

Re: 5 Ghz Doesn't Seem to Need More Channels :)?

@Jazzemt/streamer

It's called InSSIDer

»www.metageek.net/products/inssider/
»www.metageek.net/products/inssider-for-mac/

IowaMan
Premium
join:2008-08-21
Grinnell, IA

TV OTA Spectrum?

Are they going to do away with that I thought there was talk that by 2016 or so the government would like to see OTA TV go away for good.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: TV OTA Spectrum?

No, no one ever said they were going to do away with OTA. This has nothing to do with that anyways. What they wanted to do with OTA is to get 120 MHz of the 222 MHz of OTA UHF spectrum and auction it off for mobile. They still plan to do that but they are now counting on getting at best 80 MHz and probably closer to 60 MHz. There still would be 42 MHz on hi-VHF like there is today.

anonisp

@backdeck.com

probably in the 5330-5700 range

Where radar detection is already being approved... Not really new spectrum, just allowing more home stuff to use it...

RWSI

join:2012-11-27
Albuquerque, NM

Interference

As a user of the 5 GHZ spectrum in our market area there is nothing left here to use.
Any new devices will do nothing but cause degradation of bandwidth and nothing but trouble to anyone attempting to deploy product.

We are already in competition with other major users and have been problems increasing final cost to the end user.

I'm betting the new spectrum will be so low power it won't go any distance and be so regulated to add more DFS requirements to devices making them absolutely not worth a damm.

All I'm saying is the FCC needs to make it right and do what is right instead of making spectrum useless.

alphapointe
Don't Touch Me
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-10
Columbia, MO
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Socket Internet ..

Re: Interference

Same deal here. Most people have newer dual-band WAP's and beat the shit out of both 2.4 and 5.8GHz. Doesn't bother my PtP UBNT link, as I'm a ham radio operator and run mine above 5900MHz where consumer unlicensed gear can't go.

Consumer grade wifi is almost useless in this building, and I have to keep telling tenants that there's nothing I can do about it.
--
"When the hammer drops, the bullshit stops"