& cplSiteName &

WiFiForward Presses for 5GHz

Mari Silbey
3/7/2014
50%
50%

Just three weeks ago, that cable, retail, and consumer electronics companies put aside their competitive differences and joined together to form the WiFiForward coalition. The new group has one primary goal: to make it easier to use unlicensed spectrum for the steadily growing deployments of WiFi in the US. (See Rival MSOs, Tech Rivals Unite on WiFi.)

On Friday morning, the coalition put a finer point on that mission with its inaugural event in Washington. The group's breakfast session, entitled, "WiFi in the 5 GHz Fast Lane," focused on the economic benefits of unlicensed spectrum, and specifically on the arguments for opening up new parts of the 5-gigahertz spectrum band to WiFi use.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel headlined the WiFiForward event with her take on the importance of WiFi. "WiFi is an essential on-ramp to the Internet," said Rosenworcel. "But more than that, nearly one-half of wireless data connections are now offloaded onto unlicensed spectrum."

Rosenworcel argued that in addition to looking at the 5.35-5.47GHz and 5.85-5.925GHz frequency bands, the FCC should allow the expansion of WiFi into the frequency band between 5.15 and 5.25GHz. She cited a letter from the US Department of Defense last summer, which said that it no longer needed the lower frequency band for telemetry use and that the spectrum could be re-allocated for WiFi.

"We should seize this opportunity right now," said Rosenworcel. "We can take the flexible WiFi rules that have already been the script for an unlicensed success story in the 5.725-5.825GHz band and expand them to the 5.15-5.25GHz band. If we do, we could effectively double unlicensed bandwidth in the 5 GHz band overnight."

Raul Katz, an adjunct senior research scholar at the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information and the author of "The Value of Unlicensed Spectrum," also spoke at the WiFiForward event. Katz cited his own research indicating that unlicensed spectrum provided $222.4 billion in economic value in 2013. He also stated that 68% of wireless traffic is now being conducted over WiFi and noted that in some ways WiFi has become the primary wireless transport mechanism for Internet data, while mobile carrier networks now handle offload traffic.

For cable companies, securing greater WiFi capacity is critical for several reasons. Service providers need more wireless throughput in the home to support wireless video networking and more WiFi outside the home to support public hotspots and the sale of WiFi offload services.

In a final panel discussion at the WiFiForward event, several technology company and association representatives made their own arguments for opening up more unlicensed wireless spectrum. Memorably, Steve Schwartz, representing the International Association of Venue Managers, pointed out that 43% of stadiums and arenas currently offer WiFi to consumers, while another 48% plan to add WiFi to their venues this year. "We simply don't have enough capacity," Schwartz said.

That statement is likely to be a common refrain for the WiFiForward coalition in 2014.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
spc_isdnip
50%
50%
spc_isdnip,
User Rank: Lightning
3/10/2014 | 6:01:07 PM
Major FCC docket already open
The FCC opened a docket on 5 GHz about a year ago.  It proposes expanding unlicensed into the 5.35-5.47 and 5.85-5.925 GHz bands, and changing some other rules. The former is used for weather radar (like TV stations) now and they're a bit unhappy, the latter for intelligent transportation systems, and the car companies are uneasy.


I don't get this talk about WiFi at 5.15-5.25 though -- that has been legal since 1998 or so. That patch is resticted to indoor use only, at modest power, since it's part of Globalstar's uplink.  But the current docket proposes opening it to outdoor use too, at higher power.


They also propose ending the unlimited-ERP for point to point ISM rules for 5.725-5.850.  That would cripple some rural WISPs and limit many current users. Of course some companies with ties to the telcos support that restriction.   High antenna gain reduces out-of-path interference, but they pretend that it doesn't. The WISP industry and others have spoken up against this change.
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/10/2014 | 3:45:17 PM
Who would want to make this part of the spectrum not unlicensed?
If this part of the radio spectrum were auctioned off, would it even be valuable enough to buy up and just sit on it? This part of the spectrum is too short range to be valuable for anything but small home networks. Are there any other uses for this spectrum that would trump making it unlicensed? I can't imagine any public safety organizations would want to use these 5GHz bands for communications.... 
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
3/9/2014 | 10:23:18 PM
Re: Argument against
Right, not a real good argument against it , but probably any big mobile carrier building out LTE is ready to make an argument against, which could at least draw things out more than WiFIForward and other proponents would like.
PaulS681
50%
50%
PaulS681,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/8/2014 | 5:49:32 PM
Re: Argument against
I agree Mitch. What would be a downside to this? I don't see one.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/7/2014 | 5:36:27 PM
Argument against
It's hard to think of an argument against expanding the unlicensed spectrum. This would seem to be a development that benefits everyone.
From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP’s Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it’s going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Innovations in Cable

5|26|16   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Marc Aldrich from Cisco discusses the latest in security, the evolution and momentum for CCAP and what the industry will be seeing next from Cisco.
LRTV Documentaries
Leading Lights 2016 Highlights

5|25|16   |   02:26   |   (1) comment


Some of the high points from this year's Leading Lights awards dinner at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2016

5|23|16   |   05:43   |   (0) comments


Find out who has been welcomed into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE TM Forum Highlights

5|23|16   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcased its new ICT solutions at TM Forum in Nice.
LRTV Interviews
Gamma's MD on the Emergence of UC2

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Gamma Communications Managing Director David Macfarlane believes the unified communications (UC) market has reached a tipping point.
LRTV Custom TV
The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Digital Customer Engagement

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this short video, you will hear all about how Digital Customer Engagement is the key to meeting customer expectations, keeping them happy, and maximizing revenue. VP Product & Marketing at Pontis, Ofer Razon, breaks down for us the five essential capabilities for successful Digital Customer Engagement. Don’t miss!
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 1 – NFV Use Cases Get Real

5|19|16   |   05:57   |   (0) comments


Consensus is building around the key use cases for NFV, including managed IP services at the network edge and on customer premises, which can generate new revenues from enterprises/SMBs and consumers; Evolved Packet Core to support LTE migration; and adjacent technologies, such as TAS and IMS, to support VoLTE and next-generation charging and policy control ...
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 3

5|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang discusses the challenges of operational transformation and how Nokia helps its customers. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Why UC Is In Demand

5|17|16   |   04:12   |   (1) comment


Andrew Edison, Level 3's senior VP of sales, EMEA region, talks about the drivers of growth in the unified communications services market.
LRTV Custom TV
ARM's OPNFV Action

5|17|16   |     |   (0) comments


At the ARM booth at MWC 2016, Joe Kidder and Bob Monkman speak to Light Reading about OPNFV and their upcoming action.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 2

5|16|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang gives advice to service providers on how to move to NFV. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity

5|13|16   |   06:46   |   (1) comment


Matt Finnie, CTO at international operator Interoute, explains how NFV has made life easier in terms of logistics and how Interoute can now enable a 'software-defined moment' for its customers.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
December 6-8, 2016,
June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
DT: Telcos Must Escape Vendor Prison
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/24/2016
AT&T to Start 5G 'Friendly' Trial by 2016 End
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/24/2016
Cisco's Patel Hails 'Microculture' Successes
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/26/2016
Cable Is Eyeing Its Retail Options
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/25/2016
AT&T's Margaret Chiosi Retires
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 5/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.