WInnForum Committee to Study 6 GHz Sharing Arrangements, Interference
Tuesday, August 20, 2019 | Comments

The Wireless Innovation Forum (WInnForum) approved a charter for a new committee to study sharing arrangements in spectrum proposed for unlicensed operation within the 6 GHz band. The committee will provide technical input to inform the FCC’s 6 GHz rulemaking.

The committee had participation from AT&T, Charter, CommScope, Ericsson, Federated Wireless, Google, Midco, Motorola Solutions, Nokia, RED Technologies, Sony, Verizon and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) at press time. The Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition (FWCC) and Utilities Technology Council (UTC) are participating as subject matter experts/observers. A kick-off meeting is planned for Sept. 4.

In October, the FCC proposed allowing unlicensed use in up to 1,200 megahertz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band. Public-safety and other mission-critical users have voiced concerns that allowing unlicensed use in the band could interfere with their critical communications. FCC officials said last week they plan to move quickly on a decision on the proposed changes to the 6 GHz band but they declined to provide a timeline of when that decision might be made.

“The group is planning initial technical reports this calendar year,” said Committee Chair Mark Gibson, who works for CommScope. “However, much of the work may be done after the rules are set towards ensuring the requirements of all stakeholders are met in driving standards supporting the band.”

Several interference analyses have been filed with the FCC, although they are generally partial to the entity filing the report. “The position of our members is that none of the studies done to date have been done with the involvement of all of the stakeholders, either from the incumbent side or from the potential new entrants into the band,” said Gibson. “By forming this multistakeholder committee, the members of the WInnForum hope to address this.”

The committee’s initial activities include defining interference protection criteria, propagation modeling and spectrum occupancy determination. The committee also plans to develop a security threat assessment and identify automatic frequency control (AFC) requirements for incumbent protection.

The approach to the committee’s work will emphasize the technical aspects of sharing to advance innovative and competitive sharing approaches and to increase deployment speed of AFC systems.

Participation in the committee is open to representatives of all WInnForum member organizations, and trial memberships are available. Nonmember observers and subject matter experts may also be invited to participate at the direction of the committee steering group.

"The 6 GHz band presents exciting new opportunities for deployment of unlicensed devices,” Gibson said. “The current proposals by the FCC and unlicensed proponents have considerable merit and should be fully studied with collaboration from all stakeholders. The WInnForum has a proven 23-year track record of providing a clear multistakeholder collaboration framework, and we look forward to working with all proponents of the 6 GHz band to make unlicensed shared use a reality.”

The committee was formed following a July workshop. The group’s approved charter is here.

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