Thank You FCC: Now We Have 1.2 Ghz of 6 GHz Spectrum so How Does the Cable Operator Utilize It? (2020)

By J.R. Flesch, Bryan Pavlich, Kurt Lumbatis & Charles Cheevers, Commscope

From a Wi-Fi perspective, Christmas arrived in March of this year with the FCC greenlighting LPI exploit of the entirety of the 6 GHz band, to a fixed PSD of 5 dBm/MHz – and this, without the complication of implementing an AFC (Automated Frequency Controller) system to dynamically allocate EIRP vs channel masks for devices. A perhaps unappreciated corollary is that only the Wi-Fi 6 MAC and beyond are permitted to be utilized by devices contending for the 1.2 GHz worth of spectrum, which will promote much more deterministic and efficient wireless delivery metrics. AFC -- and access to additional EIRP footprint -- have been kicked down the road for the time being; in the meantime, SPs have the opportunity to pursue a glut of new bandwidth opportunity with a still-significant indoor radiation footprint.

Preliminary coverage performance of 6E (Wi-Fi 6 @ 6 GHz) reference platforms will be presented in this paper, along with recommendations on initial leverage of the spectrum which should produce better bitrate and latency coverage of a dwelling – along with plug-and-play upgrades to extant home networks which minimize user installation headaches. There is a brief section outlining opportunities for early creep-in of features formally scheduled for Wi-Fi 7 and some additional test data (unfortunately limited by transmit chain noise fidelity) hinting at the benefits of raising the PSD to 8 dBm/MHz. Finally, there is a closing section which anticipates the adoption curve for various aspects of the scheduling functions which are due to sit just above the Wi-Fi 6 MAC, along with an analysis of some of the tradeoffs which are beginning to emerge as the radio, FEM and filter vendors balance time-to-market against both MAC accessibility for tuning performance and analog circuit challenges on the RF chain front.

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