Unlicensed Spectrum

Unlicensed spectrum, where Wi-Fi® operates, is one of society’s most valuable resources. The Wi-Fi industry’s innovation, promotion, and good stewardship of unlicensed spectrum has delivered significant benefits to users and driven immense economic value worldwide. Wi-Fi Alliance® advocates for unlicensed spectrum, and for ensuring that the benefits Wi-Fi delivers can be maintained.

Global support for Wi-Fi operation in 6 GHz unlicensed spectrum – designated as Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 devices – continues to grow as regulators and governments recognize the tremendous benefits brought by devices operating in the band. Regulatory bodies worldwide are ensuring their citizens have access to the benefits of 6 GHz Wi-Fi by making the band available for unlicensed use. Wi-Fi Alliance is promoting worldwide innovation and a diverse device ecosystem by helping ensure interoperability of 6 GHz Wi-Fi devices through Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6® and forthcoming Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 7™ program testing and certification. Wi-Fi Alliance continues to work with regulatory agencies worldwide to open the 6 GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi.

Countries Enabling 6 GHz Wi-Fi

Unlicensed spectrum availability

While there has been sustained growth in Wi-Fi usage, demand, and economic reliance, unlicensed spectrum allocation has not increased at pace with Wi-Fi growth until now. Wi-Fi Alliance commissioned research to determine future Wi-Fi needs. The resulting Wi-Fi Spectrum Needs Study confirms that between 2020 and 2025, users worldwide are likely to experience a spectrum shortfall without global access to additional spectrum.

To sustain the economic and societal benefits derived from Wi-Fi, consumers need globally harmonized spectrum availability that considers growth in Wi-Fi use and fair coexistence among technologies operating in unlicensed spectrum.  

Wi-Fi operation in 6 GHz addresses Wi-Fi spectrum shortage by providing contiguous spectrum blocks to accommodate up to 14 additional 80 MHz channels, or seven additional 160 MHz channels. These wider channels are needed for high-bandwidth applications that require faster data throughput such as high-definition video streaming, virtual reality, unified communications, cloud computing, and telepresence. Devices utilizing 6 GHz Wi-Fi leverage wider channels and additional capacity to deliver greater network performance and support more Wi-Fi users at once, even in very dense and congested environments.

Wi-Fi Alliance is committed to working with all interested stakeholders to ensure Wi-Fi continues to meet users’ needs, now and in the future.

Join us in our efforts to ensure the continued success of Wi-Fi.


  • Keynote Address: Jessica Rosenworcel, Chairwoman of the FCC (Wi-Fi Alliance June Member Meeting)
  • Wi-Fi 6E: Expanding Wi-Fi into 6 GHz spectrum
  • A day without Wi-Fi