FCC Permits Testing of Automated Frequency Coordination Systems for 6 GHz Band


Testing uses WInnForum and Wi-Fi Alliance test vectors and paves the way for commercial operations in the band.


WASHINGTON –The Wireless Innovation Forum (WInnForum) is pleased to announce that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) released a public notice permitting testing of Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC) systems. AFC systems manage spectrum access for 6 GHz band standard power unlicensed devices.

The current public notice (ET Docket No. 21-352) provides information on the AFC system testing process, which will require that the AFC systems undergo both lab testing and public trial. Per the notice, “once the conditionally approved AFC systems have successfully completed the testing process, OET will approve them for full commercial operation.”

WInnForum and Wi-Fi Alliance developed and released a set of test vectors, which the OET reviewed and concluded that “they effectively test the functionality of the AFC systems for a variety of conditions” per the notice. “We are confident that the lab test results consistent with the test vectors will provide assurance that the AFC systems have been implemented in accordance with the Commission’s rules,” the report continued.

In November of 2022, WInnForum members Google, Comsearch, Sony Group, Kyrio, Nokia Innovations, Federated Wireless, Qualcomm, Plume Design, and RED Technologies were granted conditional approval to operate AFC systems based on each system undergoing a rigorous testing process. Additional companies approved included Broadcom, Key Bridge Wireless, Wireless Broadband Alliance, and Wi-Fi Alliance.

In addition to the testing, OET is requiring a public trial during which the AFC systems must be accessible to the public for a minimum of 45 days. The FCC further permits concurrent AFC system testing and public trials.

WInnForum’s 6 GHz Committee has been very active in standards creation for the 6 GHz band and recently updated the 6 GHz Functional Specification (WINNF-TS-1014).

This is a significant and material step towards the opening of the 6 GHz band to shared use for standard power outdoor uses in conjunction with AFC system protections of 6 GHz licensees,” said Richard Bernhardt, senior director of Spectrum and Industry at WISPA and chair of the WInnForum Functional Specifications Working Group.



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