The role of unlicensed mmWave in tomorrow’s networks

Unlicensed frequency bands have been vital in the development of many successful radio technologies, from the Internet of Things (IoT) to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The next frontier is set to be the millimetre wave (mmWave) band, providing blisteringly fast data rates or ultra-low power. With the standards for both hardware and software now agreed, new and established technology companies are set to flourish.

Wi-Fi in particular relies on industry standards rather than licenses and regulation. And with no restrictions to slow development, data rates grew from 10Mbit/s to 2.4Gbit/s, thanks to the unlicensed bands at 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Since 2009, there have been global agreements to open up the mmWave bands around 70GHz in the same way which will provide nearly 100 times more available bandwidth.

This technology has been standardised as IEEE802.11ad and is on the brink of commercialisation bringing even higher speeds and lower latency to take the IoT and multimedia connectivity to the next level. This brings a continuous band of frequencies around 57 to 71GHz, giving system designers such as Blu Wireless dramatically higher data rates.

Download our e-book, Making Waves to discover: 

  • The capabilities and applications of the unlicensed spectrum
  • How the unlicensed spectrum addresses critical challenges
  • How unlicensed mmWave enables collaborative networks