Why 6 GHz Standard Power Wi-Fi is the Game Changer for Residential Use in the US (2021)

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

We have an exemplary beachhead for better in-home Wi-Fi coverage with the instantiation of a low power indoor (LPI) effective isotropic radiating power (EIRP) spec (5 dBm/MHz power spectral density (PSD)) for access points (APs) by the FCC which promises a Gbps+ link budget for in-home data distribution (and scavenging) over 6E wireless networks. But the FCC also opened the door to standard power in that band (up to 36 dBm EIRP) for indoor use with the adoption of a spectrum coexistence scheme it refers to as automated frequency coordination (AFC). Using AFC and the higher power, we can now consider trunked indoor links which meet (or better) a 2.5 Gbps PHY for even large floorplan homes and perhaps enable mixed-power and mixed-band in-home mesh architectures. This enthusiasm is tempered somewhat by the observation that battery-powered clients are currently restricted by silicon to20 dBm footprints at 6 GHz and as such, may determine extender density in the home for particular service mounts. However, alternating current (AC)-powered clients capable of power upticks (above LPI even if shy of standard power) – which include set top boxes (STBs), video streamers and gaming hardware – imply that we should be able to exploit link modulation and coding scheme (MCS) to fairly dense quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) spectrum efficiencies for streaming and gaming services to these fixed endpoint clients – especially those of a heavy downstream data delivery bias.

This paper will examine the opportunities to be found in a standard power Wi-Fi 6E regime, discuss AFC implications (for cloud portal and AP endpoints) and suggest possible in-home architectural leverages of this substantial uptick in AP EIRP.

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