Apple Joins Other Tech Giants in Lobbying the FCC for Short-Range 6GHz Wi-Fi Tethering

Apple has joined forces with a number of other tech companies to lobby the Federal Communications Commission for a new Wi-Fi band.

According to a new report from The VergeApple, Google, Facebook, HP, Qualcomm, and Microsoft are among the signatories of a letter to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) calling for approval for a new category of Very Low Power (VLP) Wi-Fi devices.

The title of the group’s letter to the FCC is “The FCC can Accelerate 5G Services while Protecting Incumbent Operations by Enabling Very Low Power Portable Class Devices in 6 GHz.”

“Traditionally, Wi-Fi has been built on top of unlicensed 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrum, but late last year the FCC unanimously approved opening up the 6GHz band for unlicensed activity as well, providing a huge 1,200MHz chunk of wireless real estate for all manner of devices to communicate without needing to rely on cellular,” reads the report. “But that pissed off the cellular industry, not to mention utilities like water and power, which still use some 6GHz microwave antennas for their communication backhaul and say they’re worried about interference.”

CTIA, who represents the wireless communications industry, argues that there is a lot of potential for communication interference under the proposed rules and that the U.S. would be better off licensing the 6GHz band to carriers so that it may lead the world in 5G connectivity.

The proposed 6 GHz band would open up new types of short-range connectivity for portable VLP devices. It could prove useful for everything from mobile augmented reality devices to high-speed tethering with smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

It’s worth noting the companies want to make use of the 6GHz band in VLP mobile devices that are far enough from microwave antennas to prevent any interference, even at close range. Couple that with the fact that the signal is too weak to pass through people or objects, and the companies have a compelling argument for VLP devices operating anywhere in that 1,200MHz chunk of spectrum that FCC wants to free up for unlicensed use.

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