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New Zealand won't rush a spectrum upgrade for next generation Wi-Fi

New Zealand won't rush a spectrum upgrade for next generation Wi-Fi

Incumbent users of 6GHz spectrum bands need assurances

Credit: Dreamstime

Concerns about interference and the development of a device ecosystem are likely to delay an upgrade to New Zealand's Wi-Fi spectrum.

While the US Federal Communications Commission voted last week to open spectrum in the 6GHz band for "unlicensed uses" such as home router broadcast, New Zealand's spectrum managers are wary. 

The biggest upgrade to US Wi-Fi since 1989, the change will quintuple the airwaves that can be used by the next generation of routers and other devices and deliver faster, more reliable connections.

Devices supporting 6GHz are expected to arrive by the end of 2020.

"We have no immediate plans around WiFi 6e, that is Wi-Fi at 6GHz," Radio Spectrum Management, a business unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, told Reseller News.

"Spectrum above 5925 MHz is currently allocated for bidirectional fixed link use in NZ. We also have C-band satellite up-link licensed across different parts of the 6GHz band.

"Fixed and satellite services must coordinate on a first-come-first-serve basis."

Radio Spectrum Management said that at this stage it didn’t have a clear sense of whether low power indoor use and automated frequency coordination (AFC), the technical mitigations proposed to allow 6e, would be sufficient to manage the interference concerns of incumbent spectrum users.

In particular AFC was "still unproven technology" in this scenario.  

"We are watching closely to see whether a significant device eco-system is evolving and when the large consumer nations (USA, China, Europe) move," Radio spectrum Management said. 

"Once it becomes clear that 6e is really going to happen elsewhere then we will likely run a domestic consultation before making a decision."  


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Tags WiFiWi-FiNew ZealandroutersMinistry of Business Innovation and EmploymentMBIERadio Spectrum Management6GHz6e

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