Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC) is a spectrum use coordination system designed particularly for six GHz operation
To ensure that unlicensed Wi-Fi 7 (or 802.11be) gadgets to play good within the 6 GHz band with the licensed customers already occupying that band, the Federal Communications Fee (FCC) established Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC), a spectrum use coordination system designed particularly for six GHz operation that resembles comparable techniques in place such because the one which helps CBRS wi-fi operation.
When the FCC opened up the 6 GHz band (5.925–7.125 GHz) for unlicensed Wi-Fi operation two years in the past, the Wi-Fi world rejoiced. The flexibility to leverage this new, broad band for Wi-Fi use will ship sooner connectivity speeds and improved capability when in comparison with each 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi. Whereas first made obtainable for Wi-Fi 6 operation, Wi-Fi 7 may also rely closely on the latest spectrum band.
Nevertheless, as a result of the 6 GHz band was already occupied by incumbent customers, akin to mounted satellite tv for pc suppliers, the FCC imposed some fairly important restrictions on the Wi-Fi gadgets trying to transmit on this band. Extra particularly, to keep away from potential interference with current 6 GHz incumbents, the FCC outlined two varieties of system classifications with totally different transmit energy guidelines for Wi-Fi gadgets working on the band: low energy entry factors (APs) for indoor Wi-Fi and customary energy APs that can be utilized indoors and open air.
Customary energy APs, notably when used open air, are the more than likely to intrude with current 6 GHz customers within the space, and subsequently, AFC will show most precious in outside eventualities.
LitePoint’s Director of Advertising and marketing Adam Smith shared that whereas the U.S. has your entire 6 GHz band obtainable for Wi-Fi, it comes with an asterisk on it. “We function beneath outside/indoor low-power performance or very low indoor performance until you use AFC,” he stated. “So as to do customary energy operation, it’s a must to have an AFC system in place.”
In any other case, he continued, you successfully have a “pace restrict” on Wi-Fi’s freeway, which impacts vary and the power to make use of larger information charge modes. “AFC is extraordinarily vital to take full benefit of the 6 GHz band,” Smith summarized.
In a public assertion on the matter, the FCC acknowledged: “As soon as per day every AFC system is required to entry the Fee’s Common Licensing System (ULS) to acquire essentially the most up-to-date info on licensed microwave hyperlinks together with their transmitter and receiver areas, frequencies, bandwidths, polarizations, transmitter EIRP, antenna top, and the make and mannequin of the antenna and tools used.”
The Fee went on to elucidate that this info can be used “to find out on which frequencies and at what energy ranges standard-power gadgets might function.”
The FCC conditionally approves a number of AFC techniques
In early November, The FCC’s Workplace of Engineering and Know-how introduced the conditional approval of 13 proposed automated frequency coordination (AFC) database techniques in preparation for the testing part of 6 GHz Wi-Fi operations. Particularly, the FCC authorised automated frequency coordination techniques proposed by Broadcom, Google, Comsearch, Sony Group, Kyrio, Key Bridge Wi-fi, Nokia Improvements, Federated Wi-fi, Wi-fi Broadband Alliance, Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA), Qualcomm, Plume Design and RED Applied sciences.
The testing course of for these trying to transfer ahead with their AFC system will embrace each lab testing and a chance for public testing, and every applicant can be required to make its system obtainable for a specified time frame to offer a chance for members of the general public to check every AFC system’s performance.
Andy Davison, a senior director of engineering at Qualcomm — one of many corporations to have obtained conditional approval from the AFC — revealed that AFC is “particularly nice for mesh entry factors” as a result of it is going to allow them to speak with one another over very excessive pace 6 GHz backhaul all through a person’s house.
He described Qualcomm’s AFC system as a “full turnkey” implementation with entry level (AP) agent and cloud techniques with end-to-end validation and certification. Upon official FCC approval, the answer can be obtainable throughout Wi-Fi 6E- and Wi-Fi 7-based networks, and in accordance with the corporate, ship important efficiency enhancements indoors, the place a rise in peak transmit energy of 63 instances may be realized, in addition to open air operations which are enabled with AFC.
Chris Szymanski, director of product advertising for Broadcom’s Cellular Connectivity Division informed RCR Wi-fi Information that AFC brings “the very best of each worlds” by defending incumbent license holders whereas permitting Wi-Fi gadgets to function at most efficiency. He stated that AFC will enhance AP energy by 63 instances in 6 GHz. “We are able to accomplish that a lot with that form of energy by way of vary, throughput and resiliency. Nothing trumps energy,” he added.
Based on Szymanski, Broadcom believes that almost all AFC-enabled APs are going to be indoor. “You want it for outside, however it offers you extra energy for indoor. What AFC goes to do is make your hyperlink reciprocal with 5 GHz. Within the 5 GHz band, our clients are allowed to do extra energy on the Ap and the shopper facet. With AFC, we will derive roughly the identical quantity of energy in 6 GHz as awe can in 5 GHz, which goes to offer you comparable charge vs vary.”
Broadcom’s clients care about whole-home, whole-premises protection, Szymanski, including that AFC addresses this want by making their clients’ protection extra sturdy.
“American companies and households depend on Wi-Fi for work, faculty, entry to healthcare, and connecting with family and friends,” stated FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “We’re shifting ahead on our plan to open doorways for subsequent technology, sooner, higher Wi-Fi — together with Wi-Fi 6E and laying the groundwork for Wi-Fi 7. That is excellent news and actual progress.”
There’s a notable caveat right here, although. AFC is just related to the U.S. Which means for these different international locations which have opened up the 6 GHz band for Wi-Fi operation — like many in Europe, as an example — there’s presently no such mechanism, and these low-power issues may be anticipated to persist within the Wi-Fi 7 period.