About a week ago, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai made comments about opening up an additional 45 MHz of spectrum at the top of the unlicensed 5.8 GHz frequency band. Ernesto Falcon describes the strategy and impact of these changes in his article The FCC Is Opening up Some Very Important Spectrum for Broadband. Specifically, the FCC is addressing a part of the 5 GHz frequency band that had been reserved for DSRC (Dedicated Short-Range Communications) but has always been underused.
Commissioner Pai suggests only 45 MHz of the 75 MHz total be dedicated to Wi-Fi. While it’s as yet uncertain exactly which rules this added spectrum would follow, he did state it would be contiguous to the existing 5.8 GHz spectrum, meaning 5850 to 5895 MHz. If the FCC decides to follow the same rules as the existing 5.8 GHz band, this would be very advantageous for fixed wireless deployments.
For existing Cambium Networks customers using either ePMP or PMP 450, this is very welcome news. These products were already designed to support higher frequencies for regulatory regions outside the United States. Therefore, they support these frequencies with optimal performance, and will only require a software update in order to take advantage of these frequencies, which are not currently being used by anyone.
What can you do with 45 MHz of additional spectrum? With cnMedusa™ Massive Mu-MIMO technology in the PMP 450m, you can provide over 750 Mbps of capacity to up to 238 Subscribers in a single sector. Have a look at this thread on our community forum, describing several customer deployments and the real-world results they are having using PMP 450m. There are also a lot of technical details in our cnMedusa Solution Paper. With advanced Point-to-Multipoint (PMP) techniques like GPS Synchronization, Beamforming in both Uplink and Downlink directions and Massive Multi-User MIMO extremely high capacities and spectral efficiencies can be realized.
If you are not yet familiar with the PMP 450m, check out these videos:
I hope that Commissioner Pai is able to act on these comments and the Commission can issue the order to release this band as quickly as possible, in order for additional fixed wireless service providers to utilize more unlicensed spectrum, providing enhanced bandwidth and supporting more customers than ever.