It's rare to see Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, HP, Qualcomm, Intel, Broadcom, and Marvell all on the same side of the aisle, but there is at least one place they publicly agree: they want chips and devices who freely benefit from a new Wi-Fi limit, without annoying licenses or legal restrictions – and they tell the FCC that they need to bring you the next generation of AR / VR glasses and data tethering.
First some context. Wi-Fi is traditionally built on an unprecedented 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum, but at the end of last year the FCC unanimously approved the opening of the 6GHz band for unlicensed activities, and offers a huge 1,200 MHz portion of wireless real estate for all kinds of devices to communicate without relying on mobile. But that made the mobile industry angry, let alone utilities such as water and electricity, which still use a few 6GHz microwave antennas for their communication backhaul and say they are concerned about interference.
Instead, carriers prefer the FCC auction over a large portion of 6 GHz that they can purchase for an additional mobile network, which they believe the US should be a leader in 5G.
Obviously, Wi-Fi chip makers and hardware manufacturers do not want to be alone part of the 6GHz spectrum, so they do their best with possible solutions for that interference. One is called a technique Automatic frequency coordination (AFC), which can detect and stop harmful interference theoretically … but requires Wi-Fi devices to be registered in a database, which they think may be a bit of work.
So now these nine technical giants are asking the FCC to approve a new WiP category with very low power (VLP), where small devices with low power such as smartphones that are below a certain power threshold (14 dBm EIRP) the 6 GHz spectrum with no restrictions or worries, according to a letter dug up by Wi-Fi now.
We're going to talk about point-to-point connections a short distance between two devices – think in a room, not in front of your house. The letter suggests that they can deliver 2 Gbps at a distance of 3 meters.
Meaningful so far? This is where things get weird: like the mobile industry, these nine tech giants in the Wi-Fi camp claim their cause is important for 5G proliferation. They say that devices such as AR glasses, VR headsets and in-car entertainment need fast Wi-Fi data streaming (presumably to your phone or other mobile hotspot) to take advantage of 5G speeds.
The title of the group's letter to the FCC: "The FCC can accelerate 5G services and at the same time protect established operations by turning on very low-power portable devices in 6 GHz."
It is interesting because Apple and Facebook have not yet released their AR headsets or have even necessarily announced them. We're still waiting for smart glasses to appear, period, so it's a bit early to suggest that they will be a driving force in 5G. And it's interesting because presumably each of these devices could integrate its own 5G mobile modem to connect directly to a 5G network, turning off the Wi-Fi intermediary.
I personally believe that Wi-Fi might be more logical, because mobile devices run out of batteries faster and because providers are fond of their monthly costs per device. I have not seen any evidence that 5G will persuade any of them to add me a tablet or have them look at my plan without coughing up the extra $ 10 a month. That is why mobile hotspots and tethering are great, and it is true that VR and AR headsets can take advantage of the lower latency that 5G and Wi-Fi 6 are promising if you combine mobile with short-range Wi-Fi. tether.
My question: Will the FCC be influenced by the argument that we need more 5G devices or that we need more devices connected to 5G?