We Need Real-World Tests Before a Billion Unlicensed Outdoor Systems Flood the Market
WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, in a filing to the Federal Communications Commission, the National Spectrum Management Association (NSMA) expressed its grave concerns about an imminent regulatory change that could wreak havoc on police and fire departments, ambulance services, pipelines, electric and water utilities, and railroads -- with potentially disastrous consequences for public safety.
The FCC has opened the 6 gigahertz (GHz) band to unlicensed use by one billion portable unlicensed devices -- including smartphones, laptops, and Wi-Fi routers -- without having conducted any transparent, real-world, peer-reviewed tests to determine the impact on public safety.
"This swarm of devices could disrupt communications for first responders, utility workers, pipeline safety engineers, and more," said Joseph Sandri, president of the NSMA. "We must test the system with transparent, peer-reviewed, real-world trials."
NSMA's full filing may be accessed here.
Currently, the 6 GHz band includes more than 100,000 links of microwave radio that form the essential communications infrastructure for first responders and other mission critical systems. To function safely, these links require extremely high-quality signal availability -- with less than 158 seconds of interruption per year. Greatly increasing traffic in this band increases the probability of service interruptions that could have dire economic and public safety consequences.
Already, during a band-use dispute earlier this year, airlines nearly grounded fleets due to concerns about 5G network traffic interfering with the altitude-monitoring devices that planes use to land safely. The NSMA is concerned that unlicensed use of 6 GHz networks could have an even more serious and widespread impact.
"We urge the FCC to proceed with extreme caution," said Sandri. "Without more thorough testing, the deployment of these devices can place dangerous amounts of stress on critical networks around the country."
The NSMA is an association of individuals in the spectrum management profession, including service providers, manufacturers, frequency coordinators, engineers, and regulators. Established in 1984 at the request of the FCC, the NSMA provides a forum to develop industry guidelines, shape practices, and resolve conflicts.
SOURCE National Spectrum Management Association