Insights Ofcom consults on increasing spectrum for Wi-Fi in the 5 GHz band.

Ofcom is consulting on plans to increase the amount of spectrum available for Wi-Fi in the 5 GHz band in order to deliver high-speed wireless broadband for consumers.

Ofcom recognizes that as broadband delivered to the home gets faster, people increasingly expect their Wi-Fi to provide several services at once, such as video streaming, video calls, gaming and remote working.  This demand puts pressure on the spectrum that carries Wi-Fi signals.

Most Wi-Fi routers in the UK currently use the 2.4 GHz band, but this is becoming increasingly congested and can impair broadband delivery of high data rate applications such as streaming video or live TV.

Many people now have newer broadband routers, which use not only the 2.4 GHz band, but also the 5 GHz band, which offers much more spectrum and can accommodate wide channels suitable for high data rate uses.

To make connections faster, Ofcom is proposing to open up an additional “sub-band” within the 5 GHz frequency range for Wi-Fi, while ensuring protection for other users, such as satellite services.

The extra sub-band would increase the number of 80 MHz channels available for Wi-Fi from four to six, to accommodate data-hungry applications.  These extra channels, which are already being used in the United States, could be opened up in around two to three years.

The consultation closes on 22 July 2016.  To access the consultation documentation, click here.