Ofcom proposes sub-band within 5 GHz for Wi-Fi

Carrier Wi-Fi
British telecom regulator Ofcom is proposing to open up an additional sub-band within the 5 GHz spectrum frequency for expanding Wi-Fi in the U.K.

Telecom operators and broadband service providers can submit their response by 22 July 2016.

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 US – could be opened up in a few years.

Many Wi-Fi routers in the UK currently use a part of the spectrum called the 2.4 GHz band, which is becoming increasingly congested and can impair broadband performance. Many people now have newer broadband routers, which use not only the 2.4 GHz band, but also the 5 GHz band – which has much more spectrum and is less congested.

Philip Marnick, group director of Spectrum at Ofcom, said: “We also want to close the gap between advertised speeds and the wireless performance that people and businesses actually receive. So we’re exploring ways to open up more airwaves for Wi-Fi.”

People can check their router is up to date, and use our W-Fi Checker app to test if it’s working properly.

Broadband users can check whether their in-home Wi-Fi is giving them the best service today by using a Ofcom app.

Wireless broadband may not be working as well as it could in nearly six million UK homes and offices, according to Ofcom research. This is often caused by the Wi-Fi set-up in the house slowing down broadband.

The Ofcom Wi-Fi Checker, which runs on smartphones and tablets, allows consumers and businesses to discover the quality of their wireless internet signal.

The app tests the Wi-Fi set-up and, if it finds a problem, will provide some troubleshooting tips to help improve broadband. It is free to download now from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

Many consumers can benefit from higher Wi-Fi speeds immediately by using a more modern router – older ones do not access the 5 GHz band at all. Ofcom’s current plan aims to avoid future congestion in the 5 GHz band, as the move to newer broadband routers places more demands on this part of the airwaves.

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