Last year in the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) conditionally approved Wi-Fi Alliance® and several other entities to finalize the development of an AFC system and advance into the testing phase. The Wi-Fi Alliance Member Meeting in Seoul (#SeoulWiFi23) showcased demonstrations of Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC) systems from Federated Wireless and the first public demonstration of the Wi-Fi Alliance AFC Service.
AFC and Standard Power Devices
In the U.S., the FCC allocated 1200 MHz of unlicensed spectrum in 6 GHz for Wi-Fi®, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for the Wi-Fi industry. The current regulations include guidelines for Low Power Indoor devices and Standard Power Devices. Standard Power Devices are only allowed to operate in UNII-5 and 7 bands under the control of an AFC system to preserve incumbent operations in 6 GHz, including fixed-satellite service, Earth-to-space uplinks, and point-to-point fixed service links. In order to operate in the designated 6 GHz band, Standard Power Devices must provide certain information to an AFC system such as the serial number, geographical location, and other parameters which are then used to calculate the available frequencies, channels, and maximum permissible transmission power levels that may be used by the requesting device. Wi-Fi Alliance has created a comprehensive framework of specifications and test plans which explore the communication protocols in greater detail.
Wi-Fi Alliance AFC Service
The Wi-Fi Alliance AFC Service is a secure cloud-based service for access point (AP) vendors and service providers across consumer, retail, and enterprise markets aiming to deploy Standard Power Wi-Fi devices in the 6 GHz band. The Wi-Fi Alliance AFC Service will ensure the protection of important incumbent operations while providing maximum permissible transmission power levels available for use by Standard Power Wi-Fi devices in 6 GHz. Customers will be able to license the AFC Service as an annual subscription or via a perpetual license for each device.
Demonstrated scenarios and outcomes
More than 100 members attended the Wi-Fi Alliance AFC Service demonstration. Members were keen to learn how the Wi-Fi Alliance AFC Service protects incumbents and to understand the incumbent database used, different propagation models implemented, and the maximum link distance from RLAN to Fixed Service. The demo used virtual access points to simulate requests for information about the available spectrum and showed changes in inquiry through API exchange. The demo employed the device serial number, deployment type, location type, latitude and longitude to request information about available channels.
The demonstration successfully illustrated multiple scenarios for Available Spectrum Inquiry Requests containing different geo-locations, indoor and outdoor deployments, channels, and frequency information, and the corresponding Available Spectrum Inquiry Responses showing maximum permissible power limits. The requests included scenarios for single access points as well as an AP Proxy sending a single inquiry for available spectrum for multiple devices. The demonstration reaffirms the Wi-Fi Alliance AFC Service is on track toward commercial operations once approved by the FCC. The pre-commercial instance of the Wi-Fi Alliance AFC Service is also being made available to leading Wi-Fi equipment vendors for testing and completing service integration.
A trusted, vendor-agnostic service to extract the most from 6 GHz
Wi-Fi Alliance is committed to delivering a trusted, vendor-agnostic means to manage Standard Power Wi-Fi operations, and our AFC Service will be a driving force in delivering mass adoption of Standard Power Wi-Fi devices in the 6 GHz band. Wi-Fi Alliance’s AFC Service will initially be available in the U.S., once fully approved by the FCC, and will establish a model based on the affordable performance that has made Wi-Fi successful over time and can be replicated around the world.
Please contact Wi-Fi Alliance to learn more about pre-commercial testing and our AFC Service.
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