Recently the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a unanimous ruling that will open up vacant airwaves between TV channels for wireless applications. This is the first time in more than 20 years that the FCC has made a significant block of spectrum available for unlicensed use, and it creates exciting new opportunities for wireless devices.
The FCC’s ruling opens up the unused analog television bands – or “white spaces” – for practical use, creating an important new frequency for Wi-Fi operation. The white spaces spectrum uses a lower frequency than traditional Wi-Fi, allowing it to travel farther and faster than current signals. The new Wi-Fi signals, informally dubbed “Super Wi-Fi,” will be able to travel up to three times farther and better penetrate walls and other physical obstructions. This will have an enormous impact on outdoor networks, extended coverage networks in hospitals and homes and more.
The Wi-Fi Alliance is already making moves to develop a certification program for Wi-Fi devices operating in the TV white spaces. The program will draw on the emerging IEEE 802.11af standard and would help to guarantee interoperability and improve the user experience. We are very excited about this industry initiative, and will provide more information as it becomes available.
“Super Wi-Fi is what it sounds like: Wi-Fi, but with longer range, faster speeds, and more reliable connections,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in a recent statement. “We can also expect, as we’ve seen now with Wi-Fi, enhanced performance from the mobile devices using licensed spectrum that we’ve come to rely on so heavily.” As one of the world’s leading testing labs, Allion offers extensive Wi-Fi logo testings, and will offer Super Wi-Fi certification as it becomes available.