Saturday June 18, 2016

The Fight Over A New Wi-Fi Channel

There is progress being made in opening up a reserved Wi-Fi channel for the general population. However, companies such as Microsoft and Google are rejecting it: it may interfere with Bluetooth, and there is also the fact that Globalstar would fully control it.

If Globalstar gets its way, Wi-Fi users in the U.S. will have one more channel, which could reduce congestion and improve performance. But both their mobile devices and the hotspots they use would need firmware upgrades to take advantage of the new frequency, and the channel wouldn’t necessarily be open to everyone. Globalstar’s plan is to make a fourth channel available in the unlicensed, often crowded 2.4GHz band used for Wi-Fi in the U.S. While users in some other countries have been enjoying this channel for years, part of it has been set aside in the U.S. as a guard band to protect Globalstar’s satellite frequencies. The company wants to use that guard band for a Wi-Fi-based service instead. Most Wi-Fi devices in the U.S. could be modified to tap into the extra channel.