According to a study, 6 GHz WiFi access could increase speed and generate $ 183 billion by 2025 – CNET


Chris Monroe / CNET

Wi-Fi currently sends its signals in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands – but a new FCC proposal is trying to extend unlicensed Wi-Fi usage to the much broader 6 GHz band. This would open up more than 1,200 MHz of new bandwidth for Next generation Wi-Fi 6E devicesof a total of 500 MHz from the 5 GHz band. With room for seven new 160 MHz channels – and without interference from previous generation devices – the 6 GHz band could potentially serve as a multi-lane highway for the latest Wi-Fi devices, all of which are used Wi-Fi 6, the latest, fastest and most efficient version of Wi-Fi.

Now, 10 days before the FCC vote, an industry-funded study concludes that the move may generate sales of more than $ 180 billion in the next 5 years, among other things.

A new industry-commissioned report predicts an economic total of over $ 180 billion over the next 5 years, resulting from an FCC proposal to unlock additional bandwidth for unlicensed Wi-Fi use.


The report released on Monday was funded by WifiForward, an industry advocacy group that includes Google, Microsoft, Comcast, Charter, Broadcom, Arris, and others. It was developed by Dr. Raul Katz, director of business strategy research at the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information and president of Telecom Advisory Services, LLC. Key findings about the potential impact of the FCC move include:

  • Adding $ 106 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025 due to increased broadband speeds, accelerated provision of the Internet of Things and expanded market access for augmented and virtual reality applications.
  • A surplus of producers $ 69 billion Because of savings in corporate wireless traffic and the sale of Wi-Fi and AR / VR devices.
  • Consumer surplus from $ 8 billion of increased broadband speeds.

This adds up to a total of $ 183.44 billion added to the U.S. economy by 2025. You can read the full report yourself here, but here are some highlights from the data.

The annual aggregate economic value generated by proposals to open the spectrum in the 5.9 and 6 GHz bands for unlicensed Wi-Fi use is expected to increase over the next five years.

Analysis of telecommunications advisory services

Faster speeds on the horizon

The report notes that the average fixed broadband download speed in the US was 137Mbps in February this year, and forecasts that this number will double to 280Mbps by 2022. This is faster than the average speed of today’s dual-band routers on 2.4 and 5 GHz bands (267 Mbit / s), which could lead to a new network bottleneck in the coming years, in which the average router is not in the It is able to take full advantage of ultra-fast networks.

In addition to opening the 6 GHz band for unlicensed Wi-Fi use, the FCC also suggests opening the lower 45 MHz of the 5.9 GHz band. This seemingly small change would create the first widespread, contiguous 160 MHz channel in the United States. According to the report, this would cover the bottleneck by increasing the router’s average transmission capacity to 468Mbps, ultimately contributing $ 23 billion to GDP and $ 5 billion surplus consumption on the same route by 2025.

For the development of 1,200 MHz in the 6 GHz band, Katz puts the five-year economic value at a GDP contribution of USD 83 billion, a producer surplus of USD 68 billion and a consumer surplus of USD 3 billion. If you add that to the 5.9 GHz gains, you get the total of $ 183.44 billion that will be added to the U.S. economy by 2025.

“When 5.9 GHz and 6 GHz are opened and added to the existing unlicensed 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, the combined spectrum can support eight 160 MHz channels or three 320 MHz channels, an additional one represents economic added value for Wi. ” Fi 6 and later technology generations encounter increasing Wi-Fi traffic, “writes Katz.


James Martin / CNET

IoT Bonanza?

The FCC’s proposal for the 6 GHz band would open it to standard-power Wi-Fi connections, low-power indoor connections (LPI), and very low-power connections (VLP). The latter two are essential for machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, which could prove crucial as the Internet of Things evolves.

“Following this new proposal, industry stakeholders are saying that LPI and VLP devices not only pose a minimal risk of harmful interference, but also offer tremendous economic value,” writes Katz. “In fact, a wide range of stakeholders, including broadband providers and technology companies, believe that if the designation of LPI and VLP devices is not met, the economic value derived from the 6 GHz band would decrease significantly.”

In particular, Katz assumes that the increased capacity of the LPI spectrum for M2M communication, which is expected to grow from a currently installed base of 118 million devices to 214 million by 2025, will enable a broader use of IoT devices a spillover contribution to GDP over the next five years was $ 44 billion.

The report also describes the potential for “ubiquitous, high-throughput wireless connectivity across multiple indoor access points in business facilities such as industrial facilities, corporate campuses, and the like, which will generate an initial $ 54.04 billion producer surplus from telecommunications savings between 2020 and 2025.”

As for VLP, Katz anticipates that creating 6 GHz band space for such connections will enable a new generation of AR / VR applications that US companies selling hardware, software, and content in could raise up to $ 14 billion over the next five years. This would in turn bring about a $ 26 billion spillover contribution to GDP.



A blessing for 5G

Katz assumes that cell phone companies will also benefit from the FCC’s proposal. The reasoning is pretty simple. As data traffic continues to grow, Wi-Fi networks can carry a greater portion of the load. This means that mobile operators should be able to lower their investment and operating costs from what they would have projected without the FCC move.

“Without additional unlicensed frequency bands, service providers would have to provide expensive infrastructure to accommodate growing traffic,” Katz writes, noting that the additional bandwidth that the FCC wants to allocate will go directly into these efforts. “It is conservatively expected that this benefit will be effective for part of the network deployment in suburbs (approximately 15%) and in the country (approximately 5%), resulting in savings of $ 13.60 billion areas could be invested in expanding the deployment of 5G in rural areas. ”

Now for the vote

The FCC should vote on its proposals on April 23. If they exist (and with cross-party support led by Chairman Ajit PaiThe Wi-Fi industry is ready to take the first step. The Wi-Fi Alliance has already set a “Wi-Fi 6E” label for new devices equipped to tap the 6 GHz band. New chipsets for Access points and mobile devices are already equipped for this and could make their way into devices available by the end of this year.

We will keep an eye on things as this vote gets closer. Stay tuned.