FCC Opens Spectrum for Augmented and Virtual Reality Wearables

FCC Opens Spectrum for Augmented and Virtual Reality Wearables

UTC by Darya Rudz · 3 min read
FCC Opens Spectrum for Augmented and Virtual Reality Wearables
Photo: Unsplash

Starting from October 19, the new rules authorize VLP operations in the U-NII-5 and U-NII-7 portions of the 6 GHz band totaling 850 megahertz of spectrum.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved the use of airwaves for certain virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) tools. Opening the 6GHz band to “a new class of very low power devices” like wearable expertise is a way for completely new functions of augmented and digital actuality wearables.

The FCC stated:

“These rules will spur an eco-system of cutting-edge applications, including wearable technologies and augmented and virtual reality, that will help businesses, enhance learning opportunities, advance healthcare opportunities, and bring new entertainment experiences.”

Starting from October 19, the new rules allow VLP operations in the U-NII-5 and U-NII-7 portions of the 6GHz band totalling 850 megahertz of spectrum. Notably, operations at power levels much lower than other unlicensed 6GHz devices could take place anywhere, indoors or outdoors, without any need for a frequency coordination system.

Back in 2019, companies like Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL), Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META), Google LLC (NASDAQ: GOOG), and Broadcom Inc (NASDAQ: AVGO) called for the FCC to open the 6 GHz bands, explaining that the move would “enable critical use cases as part of the next generation 5G ecosystem”. At that time, unlicensed use in 1,200 megahertz of spectrum between 5.925 and 7.125 GHz was expanded.

Companies met the news with optimism, seeing new opportunities in the announcement. Apple called the FCC vote “a positive step forward”. Earlier this year, Apple launched an augmented reality headset called Apple Vision Pro that seamlessly blends the real and digital worlds. With 6 GHz band expansion, the company will further work on enabling faster and more reliable wireless connections on supported devices and integrate more features in its upcoming AR and VR devices.

Meta, which has recently introduced its Meta Quest 3 and Ray-Ban Smart Glasses to the public, has also praised the decision.

Kevin Martin, Meta VP of North American policy, commented:

“We commend the FCC’s decision allowing companies like ours to use new wireless technologies to build the next wave of computing. This is a shining example of a government regulator working with industry early to build for the future.”

The initiative is expected to foster the advancement of virtual and augmented reality technologies and push the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of VR and AR. The ability to connect seamlessly with smartphones and other devices opens up a wide range of potential applications.

In other words, 6GHz Wi-Fi offers not only a new swath of airwaves for routers to use but also a spacious swath that doesn’t require overlapping signals like on some current Wi-Fi channels. It supports up to seven even larger 160 MHz channels that are only accessible to new Wi-Fi 6E devices, and they enable enormous Wi-Fi speeds and allow operations free from legacy Wi-Fi interference.

Business News, News, Technology News, Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality News
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