Microsoft, Intel urge FCC to reject operators’ arguments about 64-72 GHz

Microsoft (Pixabay)
CTIA, along with T-Mobile USA and the Competitive Carriers Association, suggested licensing the 66-71 GHz band while still providing unlicensed use of the 57-66 GHz band.

Several commenters in the FCC’s Spectrum Frontiers proceeding, including Microsoft, Intel and Boeing, are urging the commission to reject calls for reallocating all or part of the 64-71 GHz band for licensed services, arguing that the band will be better served via unlicensed use.

CTIA, T-Mobile USA and the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) have urged the commission to reconsider its reservation of the entire 64-71 GHz band for unlicensed operation. CTIA suggests licensing the 66-71 GHz band while still providing unlicensed use of the 57-66 GHz band.

“Petitioners toss up a handful of ill-considered reasons the Commission should reconsider its allocation of the 64-71 GHz band to unlicensed use in the hope that something will stick,” Microsoft wrote in its filing (PDF). 

The company pointed out that the Wi-Fi Alliance in October 2016 initiated a Wi-Fi Certified WiGig program that would provide the multivendor interoperability needed for the proliferation of 802.11ad compliant devices.

“CTIA further claims that only five products have been certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance for use in this band, suggesting the band is not primed for unlicensed use,” Microsoft wrote. “At best, this claim appears to be nothing more than CTIA’s attempt at misdirection by equating the Wi-Fi Alliance certification program that began in late October 2016 with the number of relevant 60 GHz devices the FCC has certified. Microsoft has learned through the Wi-Fi Alliance that the number of FCC certified devices is well over 100. And, contrary to CTIA’s claims, production of devices for unlicensed use in this band is well underway. ABI Research predicts that 180 million WiGig chipsets for the smartphone market will ship in 2017 and that smartphone chipsets will make up almost half of the 1.5 billion total WiGig market shipments in 2021.”

Intel said CTIA, T-Mobile and CCA don’t meet the requirement for presenting facts or arguments that haven’t previously been presented to the commission and said their 64-71 GHz reconsideration petitions should not be granted. Intel said the record shows that unlicensed usage of the band is justified and there’s every reason to believe that unlicensed millimeter wave products with expanded range to cover the 64-71 GHz band will appear in a timely manner.

The approved IEEE 802.11-2016 standard already supports IEEE 802.11ad devices operating in 64-71 GHz range and product developments to take advantage of the commission’s authorization of the band for unlicensed use are underway.

In addition, draft amendments to the standard, known as IEEE 802.11ay, will enable higher throughput and lower latency for 60 GHz operations. The IEEE 802.11ay draft process is well underway and a certifiable draft, which permits product introductions to take advantage of the enhancements in 802.11ay, is expected to be voted upon by the end of the year, Intel said.

Aerospace giant Boeing also weighed in on the matter, saying it uses unlicensed spectrum in many settings, including on the factory floor to streamline and monitor manufacturing processes. Boeing urged the commission to “view with skepticism the proposals of wireless carriers to carve off yet another segment of this vital and vibrant public resource for their exclusive use,” the company said (PDF).