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

Countries Enabling Wi-Fi 6E

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 6E 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. Wi-Fi 6E devices 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.

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  • FCC remarks from Ajit Pai, Chairman
  • What Wi-Fi trends are expected in 2020?
Wi-Fi Alliance Policy Newsletters
Wi-Fi Alliance News See All
The Signal Podcast
Episode 4: Wi-Fi 6E – Bringing Wi-Fi® into 6 GHz
Episode 3: Wi-Fi® by the numbers - Top three Wi-Fi industry trends
Media Coverage See All
What is Wi-Fi 6? Everything you need to know about the new wireless standard
What CISOs need to know about Wi-Fi 6E
How Wi-Fi is delivering positive, global socioeconomic impact
Product Finder
Wi-Fi 6E certified products
Download Additional Resources
Wi-Fi Alliance Member Publications
6GHz Wi-Fi - The Silver Bullet for Addressing the 1000x Data Challenge Using Unlicensed Spectrum
Arista Networks
A Guide to Wi-Fi 6E – Wi-Fi 6 in the 6 GHz Band