Plume hails FCC permission to test AFC in 6GHz band for WiFi

WiFi specialist Plume is among 13 companies licensed by the US FCC to proceed with the testing of automated frequency control (AFC) systems in the 6GHz frequency band.

Globally, Plume’s cloud-based control system serves more than 43 million homes and already supports WiFi 6E, which allows low-power transmission in the 6GHz band.

FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel

The FCC’s conditional approval will allow Plume, Broadcom, Google, Comsearch, Sony Group, Kyrio, Key Bridge Wireless, Nokia Innovations, Federated Wireless, the Wireless Broadband Alliance, the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA), Qualcomm, and RED Technologies to proceed with testing their AFC systems.

Once fully approved, Plume said it would be among the first to integrate an AFC system into its products and services, providing its access points (APs) with the highest transmit power level possible.

AFC systems manage spectrum access for 6 GHz band standard-power unlicensed devices.

The AFC system helps WiFi APs utilize the highest transmit power level possible by querying the FCC database to calculate the power level that an AP can transmit without interfering with point-to-point microwave links.

Plume said that with the AFC system integrated into its SaaS experience platform, the WiFi 6E devices connected to each AP will utilize the frequency channels that provide the highest performance, factoring the interference levels and the higher transmit powers allowed by AFC. This will have the overall effect of improving WiFi range and data throughput rates, resulting in an improved connected device experience.

The underlying aim of the change is to deliver more reliable and robust WiFi connections in the home. For service providers, WiFi 6E may offer the opportunity to improve subscribers’ Quality of Experience (QoE) and deliver the most sophisticated smart home services, according to Plume

“Bringing the benefits of an AFC system to our customers would be a natural extension of Plume’s existing cloud- and AI-driven services and an important part of our commitment to delivering cutting-edge products that deliver optimal in-home experiences,” said Sandeep Rai, VP of Software at Plume. “Plume’s ultimate vision is to enable the use of an AFC system in all households that are managed in the Plume Cloud. Our goal is to enable our CSP customers to take greater advantage of the 6 GHz band and the increased WiFi capacity that it brings to deliver even better experiences to their subscribers.”

In a statement published by the FCC, chair Jessica Rosenworcel said: “American businesses and households rely on Wi-Fi for work, school, access to healthcare, and connecting with friends and family. We are moving forward on our plan to open doors for next generation, faster, better Wi-Fi – including Wi-Fi 6E and laying the groundwork for Wi-Fi 7.  This is good news and real progress.”

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