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Radio News: Wi-Fi companies eye DSRC band

Jun 08, 2016 11:21 pm
The Communications Law blog reports about the Federal Communications Commission's plan for Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) linking transmissions on automobiles with highways. Those broadcasts on the the 5.850-5.925 GHz band are right next to the 5.725-5.85 GHz band used by Wi-Fi systems, and that industry keeps eyeing the DSRC bandwidth and saying, "Heh, since you aren't using those frequencies why don't we?" Most people have probably never heard of Dedicated Short Range Communications, as it is not in any cars now, though Cadillac plans to introduce it in the fall. The technology is for safety, with vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure transmissions, perhaps eventually helping to steer driverless cars. While there may be future uses for the frequencies, right now FCC commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel, Ajit Pai, and Michael O’Rielly have called for Wi-Fi sharing of the frequencies, and the commission is reportedly speaking with the Department of Transportation about how to manage the band. And the Commission has released a Public Notice seeking comments on two band-sharing proposals from the Wi-Fi industry. Cisco wants to allow unlicensed users to use the frequencies when DSRC is not in use. Qualcomm wants to “channelize” the band by moving “safety-related” DSRC to a segment at the top of the band (5.895-5.925 GHz), using the lower portion between non-public safety related DSRC and Wi-Fi via standard 802.11 protocols. The FCC accepts comments through July 7; enter Proceeding Number 13-49 to comment at fcc.gov.