MOAR Channelz!!!

Something that happened in November 2020 but that slipped past me until today is the FCC opened up some of the UNII-4 band for unlicensed usage, which includes Wi-Fi.

It isn’t much, only 45MHz but because of where it sits, just beyond UNII-3, it’s really useful extra bandwidth.

UNII-3 is where channels 149-165 live with the band providing 5 x 20MHz channels, 2 x 40MHz and therefore 1 x 80MHz. Opening up just part of the UNII-4 band nicely rounds things off at the top of the existing 5GHz Wi-Fi spectrum allowing another 3 x 20MHz channels (169, 173 & 177), 2 x 40MHz, 1 x 80MHz and therefore making a new 160MHz channel possible.

This is, of course, excellent news. We love more channel capacity especially as it’s likely many chipsets will already support these channels so if we’re lucky extra capacity can be made available with a firmware upgrade.

To bring reality crashing in, it’s worth noting this is the FCC… I don’t believe there’s any word about what European and UK regulators are going to do. Hopefully they’ll follow suit, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Also, whilst extending bands is a great way to add capacity with existing equipment it raises the spectre of compatibility problems. The lovely enterprise Wi-Fi network you manage may well support these channels but if client devices do not then you can’t use them.

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