6GHz Wi-Fi spectrum is critical to enable technology innovation in Australia
Australia should set aside the full 1200MHz of available 6GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi applications under the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)’s Low Interference Potential Devices (LIPD) Class Licence. This will ensure that enough spectrum is made available to enable the next generation of Wi-Fi Gigabit technologies, Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7, to thrive alongside 5G and fibre. This is the message from the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA), in its letter to the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts of Australia.
In 2021, the Australian Mobile Telecommunication Association (AMTA) released its ‘Policy Position Paper’ on spectrum for 5G services. It highlighted the need for spectrum to address the increasing reliance on mobile bands to support connectivity. In addition, the DSA urges Australia to use the 6GHz band to address Wi-Fi demands through an allocation to Wi-Fi applications.
“Many people have already experienced Wi-Fi congestion in densely populated areas or even in the connected family home. With the growth in traffic projected by AMTA and without more Wi-Fi spectrum, even the recently announced 500MHz of spectrum will not be enough. In a few short years, Australians will once again be subject to Wi-Fi congestion,” said Martha Suarez, President of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance.
The ACMA has already assigned 225MHz of spectrum for IMT usages in and around 3.6GHz and is currently investigating more both in this range and in the 10GHz band. While there is a need for denser cellular networks, this increasing demand will also increase traffic on the Wi-Fi networks that are the final link to user devices, warns the DSA.
“There is an opportunity now to dedicate the full 1200MHz of 6GHz spectrum to Wi-Fi and prepare for future demands. Almost every device that connects to a cellular network relies on Wi-Fi in some way to connect devices in the home or workplace. Allocating the 1200MHz of spectrum is an opportunity Australia cannot afford to miss.”