WISPA supports 6 GHz plan put forth by Google, Facebook, Apple and more

Rural (Pixabay)
WISPA said it enjoys a unique perspective with respect to spectrum sharing in the 6 GHz band. (Pixabay)

The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) said it overall supports a framework for spectrum sharing in the 6 GHz band proposed by a group of tech companies that includes Apple, Facebook and Google. 

WISPA, which represents a small army of WISPs, told the FCC that it enjoys a unique perspective with respect to sharing in the 6 GHz band. On one hand, WISPA members have deployed thousands of licensed links for backhaul and internet connectivity that they want to protect from harmful interference if new users are introduced into the band. On the other hand, WISPA members would benefit from access to additional spectrum, for both outdoor use to expand networks and increase capacity, and for indoor use for routers and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices.

"The framework recognizes that indoor devices and outdoor devices should be treated differently given their potential impact on existing operations," the organization told the FCC (PDF). "WISPA also agrees that both ex ante interference protection measures and a periodic database check are essential parts of a comprehensive regulatory framework. Applying these functional requirements will pave the way for shared use of a new unlicensed band that could bring significant benefits to consumers."

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The association was responding to a June 12 proposal where the tech companies collectively proposed that the commission adopt a robust framework for the 6 GHz band designed to prevent harmful interference to fixed service (FS) incumbents. It also includes a remediation tool to assure incumbents that, if they were to experience any harmful interference, the interference would be stopped and prevented from recurring.

The companies are confident, however, that introducing new unlicensed devices, the way in which they’re proposing, will not lead to harmful interference. But, they’re suggesting rules anyway and propose that the commission initially adopt rules that ban all outdoor Radio Local Area Network (RLAN) operations in the 6.425-6.525 GHz (U-NII-6) band, regardless of power level, mobility, antenna height and other characteristics. The U-NII-6 band recommendation is designed to accommodate concerns expressed in particular by public safety mobile users.

The group of tech companies also includes Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Ruckus Networks. They’ve argued that there’s enough commentary in the record to warrant a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to get things further rolling at the FCC.

RELATED: Enterprise alliance urges FCC to back off sharing in 6 GHz band for safety, other reasons

Representatives of AT&T earlier this year met with FCC officials to discuss their concerns about the proposed expansion of the 5.9125-7.125 GHz band to include unlicensed use. The operator said it was  concerned because the band contains about 100,000 microwave links, many of which are carrying critical voice and data traffic, including for the nation’s first responders.

Earlier this month, the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) said it had grave concerns about putting the 6 GHz microwave band into play for 5G. EWA urged the FCC not to proceed with any band sharing proposal unless or until the commission has empirical evidence that unlicensed U-NII-type usage can be controlled sufficiently to avoid causing destructive interference.

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