WiFi at 60 GHz provides a theoretical data-rate of 7 Gbit/s. The trade-off is limited range and penetration. The main reason for this awesome data-rate is a 9 GHz bandwidth, from 66 GHz to 57 GHz. I think this is country/regulation dependent, so 7 Gbit/s doesn't depend on the full 9 GHz bandwidth. Instead of focusing on increased frequency, why not scrap all the obsolete bands and reassign the 1 GHz - 6 GHz range to WiFi?

  1. The range and penetration of the 1 GHz - 6 GHz bands limit suitability to home usage. Therefore, does it need to be regulated as part of a global spectrum? Regulations should ensure availability of some bandwidth for other home uses only:

  2. Punch out some small bands for bluetooth, cordless phone, TV remote, etc. (below the 1 GHz cutoff: cellular phone, NFC, etc.)

  3. Adaptive frequency hopping to avoid local interference (other routers, microwave, etc.)

  4. Backport latest technology from previous standards: QAM, MIMO, etc.

  5. Make the standard versioned so newer features can be tacked on without requiring a whole new range.

Right? Now tell me why this is a pipe dream.

  • $\begingroup$ Governments assign electromagnetic frequencies as a way of making money & to ensure there is no cross over with frequencies used by its military. How the spectrum is divided for usage is guided by technical advisors to governments. Each government acts in its own interest. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 7:51
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ People aren't about to break half of the existing radio systems just so you don't need to plug a network cable in to get high bandwidths. Look up all the fun and games that took place when lightsquared wanted to set up a 4G phone system at around 1.6GHz and jam GPS. Now imagine that 100 times over. $\endgroup$
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 10:22

1 Answer 1


why not scrap all the obsolete bands and reassign the 1 GHz - 6 GHz range to WiFi?

First of all, these bands are not obsolete, there are many uses that might seem outdated, but won't go away easily. Check for example the use of the Ultra high frequency band.

Notice also that - yes - the use is country dependent, so if one of these bands have a critical application somewhere, it will not be available.

Second, the RF spectrum is a managed and finite resource. In just about every country the portions of the spectrum is auctioned for use. For mobile telephony there is a business that can pay for the use; for WiFi there is not. Don't expect authorities to give a spectrum for free. Perhaps they shouldn't, since part of the spectrum could better be used for other technologies.

In fact, the free ISM bands the are utilised by WiFi are mainly free because they have been considered useless for other purposes. And since this is a physical property the band happens to be free in most of the world.

One common standard is a nice theoretical idea, but it requires the world to agree on spectrum use. It will also require a large semiconductor industry to redevelop their product lines, which is for sure less attractive than gradually tuning what they have. I think some better incentives than "better WiFi" is needed for this to fly.

  • $\begingroup$ The upper end of the UHF band is mostly dedicated to cellular data, in the US. If WiFi was improved as suggested, and every WiFi router required to provide guest networking (even rate-limited), data coverage in the US would be significantly improved in the populated areas. In unpopulated areas, there would be no interference with existing signals. $\endgroup$
    – user19087
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ Which brings me to my first point: why even regulate on a global scale a band that doesn't have sufficient penetration to extend beyond typical home usage (perhaps I should have shortened my proposal from 1 GHz to 1.6 GHz)? Most uses of SHF are directional (except WiGig/WiFi-ad), a weak omnidirectional UHF frequency shouldn't interfere. $\endgroup$
    – user19087
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 15:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.