FCC Moves Toward Auction of Airwaves Useful for Fast 5G Service

Todd Shields writing at Bloomberg

U.S. regulators set rules for gear operating in a swathe of airwaves that may be useful for fast 5G networks, helping to set the stage for an auction of the frequencies to mobile carriers.

The Federal Communications Commission with a 4-0 vote Thursday said equipment used in the 24 GHz airwaves must be capable of operating across all parts of that airwaves band. The requirement is designed to support full use of the airwaves.

[. . .]

The action should lead to an early 2019 auction that could fetch $3.2 billion, according to a note Thursday from Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Matthew Kanterman. The sale would follow an auction of 28 GHz licenses late this year.

[. . .]

High frequencies such as 24 GHz and 28 GHz are considered ideal for the short-range, high-capacity requirements of the internet of things, a term for the millions of connected devices from cars to refrigerators that are expected to take advance of the speedy 5G connections.

Source: Bloomberg

At present, 24GHz is an unlicensed frequency that can be used for microwave point to point wireless backhaul communication. Typically for short-range communications under 2 miles. However, the appearance of the foliage in the path of the signal can play a significant role in the quality of service (QoS) for wireless communications. Discrete scatterers such as the randomly distributed leaves, twigs, branches and tree trunks can cause attenuation, scattering, diffraction, and absorption of the radiated waves. This attenuation will severely constrain the design of modern wireless communication systems. When wind and rain are present in the signal path these common conditions can induce an additional reduction in quality of service.

It is clear that the use of 24GHz in rural forested regions will present some significant challenges for usersm 5G is not a rural friendlycommunication technology.




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