Ofcom backs 10km Wi-Fi reach

Telecoms regulator Ofcom is planning to allow Wi-Fi systems in the UK which have a 10km range, instead of the short distances currently on offer to users.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom is planning to allow Wi-Fi systems in the UK which have a 10km range, instead of the short distances currently on offer to users.

Wi-Fi currently operates in the unlicensed 2.4GHz spectrum band, and Ofcom plans to increase the hardware power limits allowed in this band by up to 100 times to increase the reach.

Such a move would allow kit to operate at 10W, instead of the usual 100mW.

Ofcom is also considering whether to increase the power of Wi-Fi networks operating in the licensed 5.8GHz band to increase reach too.

The move would be a boon to the wireless broadband market in rural areas, although wider use in urban areas could cause havoc with other data access systems operating in the same band.

To make sure urban areas do not experience a battle of the airwaves, Ofcom is considering a licence scheme for the sale of higher powered Wi-Fi kit.

Its proposals have now gone out to consultation.

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