Anatel, the Brazilian telecommunications regulator, has decided in favour of setting aside the entire 6GHz spectrum band for unlicensed use. This, in effect, hands 1.2GHz to Wi-Fi users.
The move is the latest step in a competition over who can use the valuable 6GHz band.
Mobile carriers and network equipment makers want the bandwidth so they can expand the capacity of 5G services. They suggest selling the spectrum could give cash-strapped governments a financial windfall.
Tech giants like Apple, Microsoft and Google advise that the bandwidth could be put to better use increasing the throughput of home and office wireless networking. They argue that part of the band is not suitable for mobile networks. In part that’s because radio waves at these frequencies have short wavelengths which means they travel short distances and are blocked by walls, floors and other physical obstructions.
Even with technologies like Wi-Fi 6, low-power, local wireless networks are now the weak link in the chain between end-user devices and the wider internet.
A new Wi-Fi 6E standard promises faster speeds, lower latencies and the ability to connect more devices at the same time. It also means less interference, that’s vital for people who live in densely populated areas. Realistically you can expect gigabit speeds, enough to let home or office users make the most of fast fibre connections.
Regulators in Canada have suggested the nation hands over 1.2GHz to Wi-Fi users. Last year the US Federal Communications Commission voted to open the band. At the time of writing, the European Union is preparing to release 500MHz of spectrum in the 6GHZ band.