WiFi gets more room thanks to new rules

Is your WiFi network bogging down thanks to all the other WiFi networks around you? Well, a solution may be in sight.

The Federal Communications Commission on Monday approved rules that will double the amount of bandwidth available for certain WiFi networks. The move should help lessen congestion, which should mean faster downloads, smoother streaming and easier connections.

The new rules apply to spectrum in the 5-gigahertz band. That’s the band that’s used in many newer WiFi systems, such as those designated 802.11n and 802.11ac. To date, WiFi networks operating in this band had about 100 megahertz of spectrum to play with. Now they’ll have an additional 100 megahertz.

And the FCC is working on providing more bandwidth for WiFi networks. In a statement, agency Chairman Tom Wheeler said FCC is looking at making another 195 megahertz of spectrum available in the 5-gigahertz band and is also looking at providing some space in the 3.5-gigahertz band, which would be a new area for WiFi.

Photo of Linksys’ WRT1900AC router courtesy of the company.


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  • Frank N

    I think you misrepresent the announcement. Current spectrum in the 5GHz band is 550MHz. No new spectrum is being added. Rules are loosened in 100MHz of that spectrum. In theory, that could help some applications and hurt others. Most likely these changes are well-supported by experience with existing services, and are almost certainly a net improvement.

  • What Frank N said; they just allowed the lower part to be used outdoors for the first time, as long as antennas point down. There’s a satellite service in that band that nobody cares about.