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FCC Moves To Boost Wireless Speeds

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the greased-lightning dept.

Communications 40

coondoggie writes "The Federal Communications Commission said it wants to make up to 195 megahertz of additional spectrum in the 5 GHz band available to unlicensed wireless devices with the idea that such a move would enable Wi-Fi equipment that can offer faster speeds of one gigabit per second or more, increase overall capacity, and reduce congestion. 'Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure devices today operate in 555 megahertz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band, and are used for short range, high speed wireless connections including Wi-Fi enabled local area networks and fixed outdoor broadband transceivers used by wireless Internet service providers to connect smart phones, tablets and laptops to the broadband network,' the FCC stated."

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We know (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42961491)

It was discussed a month ago [slashdot.org] .

FCC Moves To Boost Wireless Speeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42962541)

Translation: FCC gets the fuck out of the way, our lives get better.

Re:FCC Moves To Boost Wireless Speeds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42962679)

If it wasn't for the FCC, we wouldn't have any usable wireless communications (wifi/cell/radio/etc) today

Re:FCC Moves To Boost Wireless Speeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42963095)

Yes, because the goal of everyone in the world is to disrupt what everyone else is doing. Can you cite examples? Far more effective than the FCC strangling the spectrum would simply be to have criminal and civil laws protecting individuals from damages done through intentional disruption of wireless services. FFS, you could put the entire radio station spectrum onto one channel and have room for 100 more local radio stations, and if the market were in charge of the spectrum that would have been done 10 years ago.

Re:FCC Moves To Boost Wireless Speeds (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#42962825)

Why do we need this? They're saying that it can get 1gbps in speeds, but the distance is going to be crap and that's still substantially faster than typical connections in the US. On the odd case where you're wanting to move data that quickly, you'd probably not mind connecting up a cable anyways.

Re:FCC Moves To Boost Wireless Speeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42963265)

*looks at 100ft ethernet cable running around the corners to a switch that can hook up necessary computers/printers/etc. to the router on the other side of another room*

Why do I have this setup? Because I need to push data between my computers very fast, including some computers that are in a third room hooked up to another switch that runs to the router. As a specific example of why I need to do this, I regularly setup laptops for my company. The software I have to install is held on a file server housed in the third room, and "I am not allowed to do it any other way". Wifi is too damn slow for this (I'm talking gigabits of data being transferred, and they need these laptops "Yesterday!"). So, they gave me this ethernet hook up. If I could do away with all of these damned wires and just do it through wifi at acceptable speeds, I would. In fact, it would make the whole damned thing better, and my company would be happy.

THAT is why we need this.

Furthermore, "that's still substantially faster than typical connections in the US." ... If we never move forward...

Re:FCC Moves To Boost Wireless Speeds (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#42963417)

And this is a common use of wifi? That's sort of the point, few people out there are saturating even a 150mbps connection at the present, giving 1gbps over wifi makes no sense at the present and just means that when we get closer to the point where it does makes sense, the spectrum will be filled up with all these devices that were made with earlier technology.

And yes, if we never move forward, it took the ISPs in Seattle a decade to move beyond 4mbps connections and in some parts of the city, they still had 1.5mbps max up until recently. The rate at which the country is moving forward on this, we could be talking about 20 years before connections like that are common.

Re:FCC Moves To Boost Wireless Speeds (2)

PhrstBrn (751463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965141)

If you have 20 people on that 150mbps wireless network pushing around data, you're lucky if you can get 5mbps out of it. In reality, it'll be a lot slower. With gigabit you can push around data a lot faster with lots of clients.

The other use case is wireless bridges with directional antennas, although you'd probably use 60Ghz for that.

Re:FCC Moves To Boost Wireless Speeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42967015)

With WPA2 my speeds are around 60 mbps IF I have only a single client. However, it drops quite a lot in combined bandwidth when I add more clients, especially when those clients are trying to stream movies.

Yeah, and? (-1, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#42961497)

With no centralized interoperability specification -- the next iteration of whatever devices operate on that spectrum will interfere destructively with the previous generation. Remember pre-N gear when it first came out? Whole neighborhoods went dark while one guy sat in his basement browsing porn because he'd just gotten home with the latest and greatest from the store. Suddenly, everyone has to upgrade overnight. Then there's channel overlap... some jerk decides to set his wifi to channel 3 instead of 1 or 6 and now half the spectrum is fracked.

There will be no boost in wireless speeds. The only thing this has going for it is 5Ghz doesn't travel as far as 2.4Ghz, which doesn't travel very far anyway... and that'll mean by simple virtue of physics, devices will have a smaller surface area in which they can cause destructive interference.

No, if you ask me, the FCC's incompetence is not accidental... they don't want wireless internet because it would mean all those people they got BILLIONS OF DOLLARS from would be upset. Politics, blah blah. You get the idea. We'll never have high speed, ranged, wireless internet, unless we decide to go pirate and tell them to eat a bag of dicks. (puts finger to ear)

Oh wait... I hear some people have started doing that.

Re:Yeah, and? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42961691)

What the *fuck* are you talking about? The "previous generation of devices" on part of those spectrums are GOVERNMENT GEOLOCATION devices (among other things), and would most likely require a DFS/U-NII type regulation.

There *can* be a boost in wireless speeds... if you are suddenly able to get a slice of frequency that isn't already in local contention. The only way to increase speeds are: add streams, higher order modulation, increase channel width. By adding more frequency, this increases the possibly that things like those 80+80 channels in 2nd or 3rd gen 802.11ac will be possible.

And 2.4ghz doesn't travel very far? Are you fucking smoking rock?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-range_Wi-Fi
Italy
The longest unamplified Wi-Fi link is a 304 km link achieved by CISAR (Italian Center for Radio Activities).[9]
link first established on 16-06-2007
it appears to be permanent from Monte Amiata (Tuscany) to Monte Limbara (Sardinia)
frequency: 5765 MHz
IEEE 802.11a (Wi-Fi), bandwidth 5 GHz
Radio: Ubiquiti Networks XR5
Wireless routers: MikroTik RouterBOARD with RouterOS, NStreme optimization enabled
Length: 304 km (189 mi).
Antenna is 120 cm with handmade waveguide. 35dBi estimated

Re:Yeah, and? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42961707)

Yes, if you missed the point: That's a 5GHz link. If 5GHz doesn't go as far as 2.4GHZ (which technically it doesn't)... I guess a 189 mile isn't far enough for you?

Here's a 2.4 example:
Venezuela
Another notable unamplified Wi-Fi link is a 279 km link achieved by the Latin American Networking School Foundation.[3][10]

Napo's Network, Loreto (March 2007)
Pico del Águila - El Baúl Link.
frequency: 2412 MHz
link established in 2006
IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi), channel 1, bandwidth 22 MHz
Wireless routers: Linksys WRT54G, OpenWrt firmware at el Águila and DD-WRT firmware at El Baúl.
Length: 279 km (173 mi).
Parabolic dish antennas were used at both ends, recycled from satellite service.
At El Aguila site an aluminum mesh reflector 9 ft (2.74 m) diameter, center-fed, at El Baúl a fiberglass solid reflector, offset-fed, 8 by 9 ft (2.44 by 2.74 m). On both ends the feeds were 12 dBi Yagis.
Linksys WRT54G series routers fed the antennas with short LMR400 cables, so the effective gain of the complete antenna is estimated at about 30 dBi.[11]
This is the largest known range attained with this technology, improving on a previous US record of 125 miles (201 km) achieved last year in U.S. The Swedish space agency attained 420 km (260 mi), but using 6 watt amplifiers to reach an overhead stratospheric balloon.

Re:Yeah, and? (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42961775)

Wait, you challenge his 2.4ghz range assertion with a 5ghz range example?

What can be done in clear air with line of sight means nothing. The fact that 5ghz has very little building penetration is well known. Its great for single rooms (like restaurants or in the cubical-sphere of an office, but even around the house it can be problematic when trying to penetrate some walls.

This is great for apartment dwellers, because 5ghz means less interference from neighbors. But in a typical two story home it gets marginal.

What is needed is small cheap, low powered routers that you can put on each floor or maybe each room. 5Ghz might be just the ticket for that.

Re:Yeah, and? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42961863)

His comment was that 2.4 doesn't travel very far, and 5ghz doesn't go as far as 2.4. I challenged that by posting over a 150+ mile link. What did you miss here?

As far as your final sentence, I don't understand. What currently stops you from putting "cheap, low powered routers that you can put on each floor or maybe each room" currently? There are *plenty* of devices exactly like that out currently, yet you talk like this is a future condition? I'm confused.

PS - Idiots think that jacking up their APs to 28dBm and slapping on 9dbi rubber duckies isn't a fucking frequency issue, it's a lack of education.

Re:Yeah, and? (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42961953)

His comment was that 2.4 doesn't travel very far, and 5ghz doesn't go as far as 2.4. I challenged that by posting over a 150+ mile link. What did you miss here? .

I didn't miss anything. Its an established fact [speedguide.net] that 5Ghz has less range than 2.4Ghs. Range of 5Ghs is usually less than half the range of 2.4. [guardian.co.uk]

So what he said was true.

And what you said didn't matter, because if that extreme example were repeated with 2.4Ghz devices it would be even more successful than the 5Ghz devices. So it was a complete non sequitur. (The test was also run in an environment where nothing else existed on 5Ghz. Those days are long gone.

Re:Yeah, and? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42962035)

I didn't argue his assertion that 2.4 had more range (and better penetration of most materials) than 2.4ghz, I even noted that fact.

I was challenging his definition of "long range".

Re:Yeah, and? (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42962483)

His definition of long range is far more apropos to the real world than some laboratory experiment.

Effective wifi range is less than 90 feet in the real world.

Re:Yeah, and? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#42962849)

And in most cases that's too far. I really wish that WAP manufacturers would develop lower powered equipment that would be useful in apartment buildings. Because 1gbps or even 150mbps isn't particularly useful if it's being split 4 or 5 ways because they're overlapping.

Re:Yeah, and? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42963017)

Well, I come from the WISP world, where we're backhauling multiple 50Km hops just to "lastmile" another 5-7Km per home right here in the US.

Re:Yeah, and? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#42962459)

What can be done in clear air with line of sight means nothing. The fact that 5ghz has very little building penetration is well known. Its great for single rooms (like restaurants or in the cubical-sphere of an office, but even around the house it can be problematic when trying to penetrate some walls.

Now now, no need to invoke logic in this discussion. The mods already put me down 2 points in 'troll' for pointing out how the FCC is anything but a neutral party in all of this. You keep it up, they'll mod you -99 for being smart. ;)

Re:Yeah, and? (1)

mosherkl (1251628) | about a year and a half ago | (#42962461)

Yeah, because all our home routers have 35 dBi antenna. Or not. That antenna only amplifies the signal by about 3000 times. I forgot that's typical of an average user's home wifi. Or not.

Re:Yeah, and? (1)

Golbez81 (1582163) | about a year and a half ago | (#42963121)

It's the size of the wave that makes 2.4 able to penetrate walls better, not the amplification of the signal. Ever wonder why your TV Antenna works better outside the house than it does inside?

Re:Yeah, and? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#42962683)

care to elaborate? because when wireless was new, i was working in networking. I even wrote some early drivers for 802.11 and in no way shape or form did anything you said happen. sources please??

It helps, but... (2)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42961499)

It will help, but don't expect this any time soon. Because no existing device (probably 802.11ac or earlier) will support the new spectrum, we're not going to see much advantages to the new spectrum until whatever comes after 802.11ac (unless they try to brand it as a "v2" thing)

Re:It helps, but... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42961611)

Actually that's untrue. The FCC is putting a process in place to certify existing devices for the new frequencies. Ubiquiti, Cambium, Mikrotik, and others will have a streamlined approval process to go through, and then the new bands will be unlocked via a firmware change. This is no different from the DDFS/U-NII approval process they went through awhile back.

Re:It helps, but... (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42961815)

This presumes you can actually get those chipsets to make use of these additional frequencies with firmware. In the best of cases, firmware fixes for routers may be possible, (unless the chip designers built filters in silicone so that software would be powerless to do anything).

And it also presumes you can get firmware for all the chips in your devices, laptops, phones, tablets, etc. That seems less likely.
You essentially have to wait 5 years for for the product development cycle, all the way from software radio chipsets, up through smartphones before there will be a market for these bandwidths. Look how long it took 802.11N to catch on.

Re:It helps, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42961985)

If you limit your discussion of new spectrum to tablets, laptops, and other mobile type devices, yes... this makes sense.

As far as general Atheros/Broadcom chipsets and FPGAs, this is irrelevant. Hell, most 3.65 products in the US are actually downconverted 2.4GHz.

Re:It helps, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42963101)

Ubiquiti's U-NII process took for-fucking-ever and they only got a handful of products re-certified. It also entailed issuing new FCC-IDs, so every device operating on the new band needed to be re-stickered.

Not speed (1)

markdavis (642305) | about a year and a half ago | (#42962417)

For me, the issue has never been speed. It has been "not enough channels" and/or "want more range". Of course, this move can at least help with channels. I don't think it will do much for range. But if devices are allowed to just spread spectrum across more and more of the frequencies, it won't help much with channels/congestion either.

Re:Not speed (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#42962883)

This would help the not enough channels out a bit, because 5ghz signals don't penetrate as well as 2.4ghz signals do. But, really, what needs to happen is the WAP manufacturers need to offer lower powered gear for apartment dwellers and others in urban environments.

It's NOT Speed, it's Bandwidth (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42963289)

Please, radio signals aren't going to go any faster. They're trying to make more frequencies available thereby provide more bandwidth.

where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42963881)

Where, worldwide?

This would be bad for connected vehicles. (1)

mlosh (18885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966195)

The new spectrum allocation for unlicensed use around 5.9 GHz would conflict with previously-planned allocation for connected vehicle (aka "V2V") technology. The extent of potential interference between these differing uses is not yet understood. I hope this WiFi plan does not blow it for the auto and traffic safety industries.

See http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130221/AUTO01/302210334/1148/auto01/Auto-industry-worried-FCC-decision-open-Wi-Fi-spectrum-could-hinder-technology [detroitnews.com] for more.

Barking up the wrong tree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42967685)

I wish FCC would do something about the miserable price/performance of most wired U.S. Internet service. As Bill Moyers reported, Hong Kong has service that's 50X the speed of my ADSL for 1/2 the price. Ouch.

Re:Barking up the wrong tree (1)

neminem (561346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42967809)

I was going to post that, too. I don't give a crap about my wireless speed. My wireless speed's limiting factor is my internet speed, which is quite frankly crap, and I don't have a choice. And I live in the heart of the downtown of one of the bigger cities in one of the biggest states in the US. It's pretty ridiculous. (You want to talk about monopolies... I miss the days when if an ISP sucked, you could use a different one...)

Bar commercial use of this spectrum (1)

swb (14022) | about a year and a half ago | (#42970209)

I'd like to see commercial use of this spectrum illegal.

IMHO, the issue isn't too many consumer devices, it's too much commercial use of the spectrum (like the city-granted monopoly wireless franchise) that insists on using the good channels at max power everywhere.

I don't have an issue with businesses using wifi internally or the coffee shop, but I do think it's crappy that the spectrum meant for localized, low-power usage gets stepped on by entities broadcasting everywhere at max power.

It makes me want to point directional antennas at the municipal wifi antennas and just pump noise at them on all channels and let them "accept all interference."

Re:Bar commercial use of this spectrum (1)

Elshar (232380) | about a year and a half ago | (#42972029)

That's actually incredibly illegal. You're not allowed by the FCC to intentionally put noise out that interferes with other people's equipment.

Also, ALL wifi stuff is considered 'low power' because of it's power levels. It's not talking about 50mw cards in your home router vs the 200mw cards put up on the towers. It's talking about devices which compared to traditional radio equipment is 'low power'. Generally speaking, this is stuff which has a transmission radius of approximately 10-15 miles without amps, etc.

Finally, commercial wireless carriers are a way of providing an alternate means of internet connectivity in places which are notoriously hard to get connected such as dense urban areas (Because you need to get permission from the city to use the right of ways), or rural areas which could cost thousands to run copper or fiber miles out just to get $20-100/month.

And, yes, there are grants for that stuff. But generally speaking it's not very feasible for small companies to do as the government is very strict on how you manage it. It can actually cost a small ISP a large chunk of the grant itself just proving to the government that they're spending the grant the way it was meant to be.

Re:Bar commercial use of this spectrum (1)

swb (14022) | about a year and a half ago | (#42972895)

Finally, commercial wireless carriers are a way of providing an alternate means of internet connectivity in places which are notoriously hard to get connected such as dense urban areas

Yeah, before Minneapolis put in its 802.11 wireless system, I "only" had six choices for Internet access. True, four of the cellular providers were kind of expensive and limited for the usual kind of home internet access, but there was also DSL (with multiple ISP choices) and Cable for high bandwidth and lower cost.

I'm fine with commercial wireless offerings, I'm less fine with unlicensed spectrum designed for consumer use being compromised by commercial users with access to better equipment than I can get from the local computer store.

There *should* be more spectrum overall, with some usable by commercial entities but the rest should be limited to non-common-carrier commercial and consumer use.

Fixing DFS would actually do more. (1)

Elshar (232380) | about a year and a half ago | (#42971821)

The real problem right now with DFS is that a large chunk of the current 5GHz spectrum (5470-5725) is actually required to use it. So, of the 555MHz, 255 of it is actually more or less unusable for carriers due to the constraints imposed upon it. Since you typically provision a new sector with the current interference in mind, it's possible to set an AP to a "good" channel, and connect a client to it, only to have DFS kick it to a new channel when it hears relevant interference. Causing the AP to move to a subpar channel, possibly one that has a lot of interference on the client end (Because the AP does the choosing, and doesn't take into consideration client noise levels on every channel - too much work when you've got 20-30 clients on one AP).

Anyways, more spectrum is always good. But if we could somehow migrate radar and such away from 5GHz, that would be a huge improvement on wireless broadband speeds. 5GHz is actually used a lot for WISPs as it has a much higher throughput capacity and seems to do better over longer distances than 2.4Ghz.

I'd be interested in seeing what sort of catches comes with this new spectrum being freed up. If it's more DFS spectrum, I don't see how this is really going to help long-term. If it's actually free, clear spectrum being freed than it could actually greatly help WISPs gain more speed as they can reduce the overlap between channels.

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