Licensed 6 GHz Users Call for Testing of University of Michigan WiFi System

Noting that there are still “ongoing disputes” between unlicensed users and licensed incumbents about WiFi 6E operating parameters in the 6 GHz band, several organizations that represent licensed users of the 6 GHz band have asked the FCC to do more testing in the band. In an ex parte letter, the groups note that the WiFi 6E system at the University of Michigan, which consists of 15,500 WiFi 6E access points indoors, would serve as a living laboratory where the FCC could perform real-world measurements of WiFi 6E.

“The Commission has an opportunity and a responsibility to gather measured WiFi 6E data prior to considering any changes to the existing rules,” the letter reads. “The current unlicensed 6 GHz rules relied almost exclusively upon … measurements based on devices using the WiFi 5 standard or older standards.” The letter was signed by the Utilities Technology Council, Edison Electric Institute, American Public Power Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and Enterprise Wireless Alliance.  

The Goal of Real World 6 GHz Testing

The FCC should gather data from the University of Michigan unlicensed 6 GHz system to demonstrate what specific inputs should be modeled in the underlying simulations relied upon by the Commission and unlicensed proponents, according to the letter. That data will allow for analysis based on real-world distributions of building losses, transmit powers, bandwidths, duty cycles, and other key technical characteristics of WiFi 6E.

“By proceeding in this fashion, the Commission will be able to accurately model the performance of WiFi 6E products based on current operations rather than outdated information from more than four years ago,” the letter reads.

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