While smartphone makers and network carriers are all hyping 5G, some of those are also pushing for advancements in Wi-Fi technology. Wi-Fi 6 is the battle cry of that industry but it seems that some tech companies are rallying behind a subset of that new spectrum. They’re calling it VLP 6GHz short for Very Low Power 6 GHz Wi-Fi and it could be the kind of wireless connection that portable devices and services will need to truly thrive.
Wi-Fi 6 takes advantage of the unlicensed 6 GHz spectrum being set aside for the next generation of devices but the likes of Apple, Qualcomm, and Broadcom are asking the FCC to certify a new sub-category of devices. These devices will only require a low Wi-Fi power across that band, operating at around 14 dBm EIRP only. Compared to the 36 dBm EIRP of regular 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi devices, that’s Very Lower Power indeed.
Proponents claim that even just this low-power band will offer high bandwidth for certain applications. The catch is that they need to be within short range only, which is actually perfect for some use cases. That includes mobile AR/VR, video streaming, and in-vehicle infotainment, all of which have to happen in more enclosed distances anyway.
To help convince the FCC further, the companies are playing the 5G card as well. That short-range high-speed low-power bandwidth is, in fact, also perfect for the 5G mmWave backhaul. Even better, there will be no legacy devices on the 6 GHz band to interfere with the new VLP category devices.
Of course, there’s still no assurance that the FCC will give VLP 6 GHz the thumbs up or that other regulatory agencies will follow suit. The wireless industry is in a period of transition and new ventures, which can both be exciting but could also be a bit confusing for consumers. Hopefully, things will clear up soon so that new technologies could quickly grow around 5G and Wi-Fi 6/6 GHz.