The Mission-Critical Resource Center

How Licensees Can Protect Themselves When Unlicensed Users Enter the 6 GHz Band

In Summary: 

  • Last year, the Federal Communications Commission issued an order that enables unlicensed devices to share 1,200 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum in the 6 gigahertz (GHz) band. This whitepaper explores the potential impacts on public safety agencies and strategies for mitigating them.
  • “Interference is going to happen,” says Mark Gibson, director of business development and regulatory policy for Comsearch. “The question is, what is going to be done about it?”
  • The path an agency uses can take two very different tasks, and each has its unique advantages and disadvantages. The path an agency chooses will depend heavily on its financial and IT resources, whether it can be coalesce regional support, and the level of commitment it can and is willing to lend to the project.


The FCC cited in its order a Cisco report that projected mobile data traffic will more than double between 2017 and 2022. It also cited an Ericsson report that predicted the average amount of data per month used by a smartphone will increase from 7 gigabytes (GB) in 2018 to 39 GB by 2024. A large portion of this mobile data traffic is expected to be delivered on an unlicensed basis utilizing Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and similar protocols. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who was named FCC acting chairwoman by President Biden in January 2021, issued a statement of support when the order was issued in April 2020. She cited the fact that the unlicensed airwaves in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands had become overcrowded due to the proliferation of internet-of-things (IoT) devices, which already total in the billions.

The following are a few services that MCP can offer its clients to assist in protecting their 6 GHz licensed microwave paths:
  • ULS verification of fixed microwave and other licenses at the site
  • Update or develop microwave path designs with licensed and operational parameters
  • Baseline and document the existing sites with inspection
  • Assist in testing radio and path performance and in developing documentation
  • Develop a data management tool for unlicensed locations
  • Provide planning, design, and construction budgets, as well as recommendations regarding site, path and system upgrades
  • Long-term system monitoring of microwave paths, i.e., network operations center (NOC) activities
  • Assist in developing and submitting comments to the FCC on behalf of licensees

This whitepaper explores the potential impacts on public safety agencies and strategies for mitigating them. Download it using the form below.



Topics: Land Mobile Radio, Wireless & Broadband, White Papers

Posted on May 19, 2021

Subscribe to Newsletter