EETimes: FCC to Build +95GHz Sandbox

What wireless devices could work in the heady region between 95GHz and 3THz? That’s the question the chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is asking.

The FCC will start work on releasing a whopping 21 GHz of spectrum above 95GHz at proceedings in March. In addition, it aims to open up bands from 95GHz to 3THz for experiments, and it will propose broadband uses at the other end of the spectrum in the unlicensed 900-MHz band.

The news comes as engineers struggle to deal with the power consumption demands and distance limits of the 24-36 GHz bands for 5G cellular. Samsung announced the first handset for 5G mmwaves Wednesday, but it requires a significantly larger case and battery. Engineers from AT&T and Verizon say they still have plenty to learn about harnessing the bands.

The upper spectrum “has traditionally not been seen as suited for wireless communications, given the physical properties of these extremely-high bands,” said FCC chairman Ajit Pai in an article announcing the plans.

“We currently don’t know precisely what types of applications and wireless services the laws of physics will permit in these bands…[So,] we’ll set up a big sandbox for engineers and technologists to work with  —  and we’ll then see what American ingenuity delivers,” he added.

“I have a hunch that major new federal R&D funding will soon follow these efforts, and we will be there to take advantage of the support,” said Ted Rappaport, director of NYU Wireless, a research group that helped pioneer use of 5G mmwaves in the face of heavy skepticism.

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