Consumer Products Given Permission to Utilize Greater Portion of 6GHz Band by FCC

Cupertino, October 19, 2023

Apple Vision Pro

The ultra-fast, short-range 6GHz band has until now been largely limited to licensed commercial use, with the FCC allowing companies like Apple to use more of the band for unlicensed consumer products.

Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and other companies petitioned the FCC in 2019 to gain unlicensed access to the entire 1,200 MHz spectrum of the 6 GHz band.

Rules to allow unlicensed devices to use 6GHz were drafted in 2020 and finally passed on October 19, 2023.

According to a document published by the FCC, more of the 6GHz band is available for unlicensed use for very low-power devices.

The distinction for very low power devices provides protection against interference in licensed uses, such as what is used for telecom.

Devices can benefit from fast data transfers over short distances, as long as they operate in the U-NII-5 and U-NII-7 portions of the 6GHz band with a total of 850MHz.

While this information is not useful to consumers, it is useful for product development that will improve what devices are capable of in the future.

The FCC previously opened a 1,200 MHz spectrum between 5.925 and 7.125 GHz. That FCC decision led to the implementation of Wi-Fi 6E and will lead to Wi-Fi 7.

For example, the short-range operation of low-power devices could apply to CarPlay systems, future AirTag models, Apple HomeKit devices and Apple Vision Pro.

Expect the 6GHz bandwidth to become more important as devices perform more data-hungry operations.

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