Advantages of 60 GHz Unlicensed Wireless Communications

60GHz V-band wireless has many advantages, which are explained in our article below: High speed links, lack of interference, all whilst using the safest and environmentally sound technology:


In 2001, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set aside a continuous block of 7
gigahertz (GHz) of spectrum between 57 and 64 GHz for wireless communications. A major factor in this allocation with commercial ramifications is that the spectrum is “unlicensed” – in other words, an operator does not have to buy a license from the FCC before operating
equipment in that spectrum. The licensing process typically is very expensive and time consuming. Up until then, less than 0.3 GHz of bandwidth had been made available at lower frequency bands for unlicensed communications.

Advantages of 60GHz V-band MMW Wireless Communications

60GHz V-Band and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

The 57-64 GHz band is located in the millimeter-wave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, where the wavelength varies from ten millimeters (30 GHz) down to one millimeter (300 GHz).
The millimeter-wave portion of the RF spectrum has been largely unexploited for commercial wireless applications. That is now changing. 60GHz-Wireless has used its well-established expertise in millimeter-wave products and technologies to develop wireless products operating in that spectrum that enable two-way wireless communications at data rates that previously could only be accomplished with fiber optic cable.
In addition to the high-data rates that can be accomplished in this spectrum, energy propagation in the 60 GHz band has unique characteristics that make possible many other benefits such as excellent immunity to interference, high security, and frequency re-use. In this paper, we will discuss in detail the benefits of wireless communications in the 57 to 64 GHz band.

Oxygen Absorption of 60GHz

Point-to-point wireless systems operating at 60 GHz have been used for many years by the
intelligence community for high security communications and by the military for satellite-to-satellite communications. Their interest in this frequency band stems from a phenomenon of nature: the oxygen molecule (O2) absorbs electromagnetic energy at 60 GHz like a piece of food in a microwave oven. This absorption occurs to a much higher degree at 60 GHz than at lower frequencies typically used for wireless communications. This absorption weakens (attenuates) 60 GHz signals over distance, so that signals cannot travel far beyond their intended recipient. For this reason, 60 GHz is an excellent choice for covert satellite-to-satellite communications because the earth’s atmosphere acts like a shield preventing earth-based eavesdropping. Because of the rich legacy of applications in this band, a wide variety of components and subassemblies for 60 GHz products are available today.

Dense frequency re-use of 60GHz signals

Another consequence of O2 absorption is that radiation from one particular 60 GHz radio link is quickly reduced to a level that will not interfere with other 60 GHz links operating in the same geographic vicinity. This reduction enables higher “frequency reuse” – the ability for more 60GHz links to operate in the same geographic area than links with longer ranges. As an example, let’s compare two different links, one operating near 60 GHz and the other at a frequency that is less affected by O2 absorption. The second link could be operating at another unlicensed frequency such as 2.4 GHz or 24 GHz. Consider a typical operating scenario where both links are operating over a distance of one kilometer with the transmitter’s power output adjusted such that the signal level at the receiver is 30 decibels (dB) above the background noise. Consequently, more 60 GHz links can be used in the same area without worrying about interference. Also, the 60 GHz links are far more secure given their limited range.

Highly Directional Antennas: Advantages of spectrum re-use and security

Directivity is a measure of how well an antenna focuses its energy in an intended direction.
Point-to-point radios should have highly directional antennas as the goal is to connect to end points of a link. Ideally, all the transmitted energy is directed just at the intended recipient. Highly focused antennas minimize the possibility of interference between links in the same geographic area, minimize the risk that the transmission will be intercepted, and maximize performance.
Operating at higher frequencies inherently results in a more focused antenna. Antenna directivity is limited by the physical principle of diffraction that states that the beam width is inversely proportional to the operating frequency. Therefore at 60 GHz, the beam width is far narrower than at the lower frequency unlicensed bands.


Modern V-band radios such as our own offer sophisticated Beamforming to ensure solid, reliable links and ability to mount on flexible structures such as street lamp poles, monopoles and other street furniture or available structures.

O2 versus Rainfall Planning

60GHz wireless link planning has to take account both O2 absorption as well as rainfall. Link distances of millimeter-wave radios operating in the real world are limited primarily by rain. Users of these products typically want the links to provide robust communication capability, such as the “five nines” of availability demanded by most carriers. In this application, the rainfall rates where the product is used will typically be more of a limiting factor than O2 absorption

60 GHz radio links are engineered to overcome the effects of rain attenuation. To simplify, the maximum operating link distance is a function of level of availability desired (for example, 99.999% or 99.99%) and rainfall rates in the geographic area of intended use. Again to simplify, link distance increases as level of availability and rainfall rates decrease. Rainfall statistics are so well known for locations around the globe that range and availability can be accurately predicted. The following chart shows the attenuation due to rain (solid line) compared to O2 absorption (dashed line):

V-Band 60GHz Rain Attenuation and planning

In moderate rain regions, the rain attenuation is about twice the oxygen attenuation, and in heavy rain regions, the rain attenuation is more than three times the oxygen attenuation. Therefore, in designing a 60 GHz link to provide robust communication capability in the real world, rain attenuation is a larger factor than oxygen absorption.
So, this combination of oxygen absorption and robust engineering enables 60 GHz links to provide the best of both worlds. The oxygen absorption limits the distance of a ransmission in providing for security and frequency re-use even in the best weather. Engineering for rain attenuation enables carrier-class service even in the worst weather conditions.

Safety of 60GHz V-band

Is 60GHz Safe to use? YES – these 60GHz radios use only 10mW transmit power, only 1/20 the power of a standard cellphone, and are mounted in outdoor areas away from people. Please see this page for details and to learn more about safety of wireless systems.

Conclusions: Advantages of 60GHz V-Band

The 60 GHz band is an excellent choice for high-speed Internet, data, and voice communications offering many key benefits and advantages:

  • Unlicensed operation – no need to spend significant time and money to obtain a license from FCC or other regional regulator (note: not in all countries)
  • Highly secure operation – resulting from short transmission distances due to oxygen absorption and narrow antenna beam width
  • Virtually interference-free operation – resulting from short transmission distances due to oxygen absorption, narrow antenna beam width, and limited use of 60 GHz spectrum
  • High level of frequency re-use enabled – communication needs of multiple customers within a small geographic region can be satisfied
  • Fiber optic data transmission speeds possible – 7 GHz of continuous bandwidth available compared to <0.3 GHz at the other unlicensed bands
  • Mature technology – long history of this spectrum being used for secure communications
  • Carrier-class communication links enabled – 60 GHz links can be engineered to deliver “five nines” of availability if desired

Please do contact our team to find out more about 60GHz V-band Radios –

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60GHz Technology V-Band Wireless – Health and Safety

IEEE 802.11ad wireless safety

V-Band 60GHz Technology Health and Safety

60GHz V-Band Technology is one of the safest wireless technologies. In an era where the public want reassurance that wireless technologies are safe to humans, we provide a factual summary.   Here’s why our 60GHz V-band radios are safe:
  • VERY low transmit power:  10mW (milliwatts).   Compare with WiFi (200 milliwatts) and your cellphone (1000 to 2000 milliwatts).    This tiny transmit power is the lowest of any commonly used wireless technology today, and is 1/100 the power of your cellphone.
  • Only deployed outdoors, above head-height.  The radios are not installed near humans, and you’re not going to be walking through these low power beams.   The radios are deployed on roof top locations typically.
  • Unlike your cellphone, which you press directly to your head, these units are never in direct proximity or contact with humans.
  • Directional beams:  rather than emitting signals in all directions, 60GHz Wireless links direct this low energy level ONLY in the direction which it is needed – towards the precise location of the other end of the link.
  • Beam steering technology is used to keep the signal “locked on” only to the other end of the link, not pointing elsewhere.
  • Beam spreading: the beams spread out as they propagate, becoming weaker in signal strength for every metre travelled.   Also specific to 60GHz, the beam is further absorbed by Oxygen in the atmosphere, decreasing the power level even further.  Thus the further from the wireless device a person is situated, the lower this power level becomes.
  • The frequencies used (60GHz) are in the millimeter wave section of the electromagnetic spectrum.  This is NON-IONISING radiation, just like any other radio signal.   There are no “good” or “bad” frequencies in the radio, microwave or millimeter bands.

RF power levels

Our 60GHz V-band radios transmit at 1/20 the power of your wifi and 1/100 the power of your cellphone, and are never installed indoors near humans. Compare V-band radios with a TV mast: Crystal Palace in London currently transmits digital terrestrial Television at over 1200kW (1.2 MEGAWATT, or 1,200,000 watts), and has been transmitting TV since 1956.  That is 120 MILLION TIMES more power than a V-band 60GHz radio, and transmitting for over 60 years.   Did you hear “5G protesters” complaining about TV transmitters?  No, because it’s not new, and no widespread history of health effects over 60 years …

Historic use of 60GHz frequencies: it’s not new !

60GHz has already been used for decades:  60GHz radios have been used commercially since 2001, and for other applications since the 1990’s, in many cities worldwide.  Long before 5G was even dreamed up, Point-to-Point radios all over the world have used 60GHz band now for decades.  There have been NO reported health issues from 60GHz during ALL of this time, no protests, and no studies suggesting that they could, or would cause any harm. If you’ve read recent scare-mongering about 5G, stop and think rationally. These 60GHz frequencies have been used for decades already with no known adverse effects or health reports.  Considerable safety research has been done.

Why is our 60GHz Technology considered safe?

Modern V-band 60GHz radios meet all global standards for health and safety of wireless devices.  Furthermore, our radios are the lowest power of any outdoor wireless device used today, anywhere in the world.   These radios are located in areas away from direct proximity to humans and therefore represent the least exposure of any wireless device.

Is this 5G technology?

The radios described on this site do not use 5G standards or technology.  They use an extension of WiFi technology, extended to the 60GHz band.  This standard is called 802.11ad or 802.11ay, and is an international standard for wireless transmission, specifically intended for devices like these operating at these low power levels.

What forms of wireless are less safe?

Cellphones: The highest RF exposure you will get in your life is from your OWN cellphone, because when you use it, you hold it to your head whilst making a call.  The transmitter in your cellphone emits at 1W (1 Watt) and is just 5 millimeters from your brain. The radio signals (typically in the range 800MHz up to 2.6GHz)enter your body, and actually do heat your brain. Yet Billions of people have regularly used cellphones for decades, with no widespread health effects measured.  Meanwhile, thousands of lives are saved every year by emergency calls made using these phones.   Logic tells us that we should weigh up the clear BENEFIT of mobile phones – which regularly save lives of our loved ones – versus irrational fear of 5G conspiracists, who have no supporting evidence. TV masts: Crystal Palace in London currently transmits digital terrestrial Television at over 1200kW (1.2 MEGAWATT, or 1,200,000 watts), and has been transmitting TV since 1956.  That is 120 MILLION TIMES more power than a V-band 60GHz radio, and has been transmitting for over 60 years.   Are “5G protesters” complaining about TV transmitters? No, because there’s no widespread history of health effects even over 60 years. Airport Radars:   To keep planes flying safely, airport radars transmit pulses up to 25kW (25 kilowatts, or 25,000 Watts) into the air, with average power 2.1kW (2100 Watts).  Interestingly, these signals are at similar frequencies to 3G, 4G and 5G.  In the USA, 2.7 – 2.9 GHz is used.  Yet nobody complains about these high power levels of radar, which has been in constant use since the 1930s:  90 years. X-rays: Another high level of radiation you likely will receive in your life is a medical X-ray.  This is significant because X-rays are ionizing radiation, (compared to radio waves which are non-ionising – and hence don’t have the health risk).  You’ll notice Radiographer operators are carefully shielded from the radiation because they use it every day.  Did you refuse an X-ray at the hospital/dentist?    No, because the alternative is to live suffering with pain, or worse.  Scientists carefully measure and manage the risk and lifetime dose levels to ensure you are kept safe. We accept their word, because they are reputable healthcare professionals and scientists, backed by decades of data, unlike the 5G conspiracists.

What if I’m still concerned?

  • Please contact your local Health and Safety officer.
  • Please read latest World Health Organisation (WHO) advice for wireless networks.  A link to their site is here:
  • The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) dictates standards of compliance to be provided with planning applications and for operators to continue to ensure all sites remain compliant
  • Check regional or national government advice: a link to Public Health England is below:
  • UK telecom regulator OFCOM have a useful page of links here:
  • Please ask for a safety audit of your site if you have wireless equipment installed.
Quotation from the World Health Organisation (WHO):
“From all evidence accumulated so far, no adverse short- or long-term health effects have been shown to occur from the RF signals produced by base stations. Since wireless networks produce generally lower RF signals than base stations, no adverse health effects are expected from exposure to them” “Conclusions Considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak RF signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects. “

Advice from Public Health England (PHE):

Public Health England (PHE) is responsible for advising the UK Government on EMF exposure. It monitors the health-related evidence applicable to radio-wave exposures and is committed to providing any advice that might be necessary. PHE’s advice is that no negative effects on public health are anticipated with 5G. A summary of PHE advice on radio waves, including relevant research, can be accessed in the following link:

What if I disbelieve the current advice/guidelines?

All humans have irrational fear: the fear of the unknown.  We can calm our fears by reading up the latest advice and research on wireless standards and safety guidelines, or by listening to impartial experts who don’t work in the wireless industrying. As of today, ALL the advice is that low power wireless is completely safe, with no known side effects.  There are no known adverse effects to humans. If we persist in disbelieving the current advice – or doubting it – we have to accept that our fear is irrational, and not based on science.

Should we revert to NO wireless technology to remove ALL risk?

Wireless transmission is not new: Marconi pioneered wireless transmission in 1895 – 125 years ago.  Ever since then our global population (now over 7 billion of us) have been surrounded by wireless transmitting devices, of all frequency bands and power levels. If we wanted to remove ALL wireless transmitters, that means removing:
  • TV transmitters
  • Civilian Airport radars & aircraft radars
  • Weather radars
  • Military radars
  • Police Radios
  • Ambulance Radios
  • Fire Service Radios
  • DAB/ Radio transmitters
  • Cellphone Base Stations (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G) transmitters
  • Satellite transmission dishes (TV news, etc)
  • Point to point microwave links
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
Are we prepared to remove ALL of the above services from our civilisation? Think hard about what this question means: Because TV transmitters, Radars and Emergency service radios are at the TOP of the power levels for wireless transmission.  TV, radio and emergency radios operate at much higher power levels than 4G and 5G masts, for example.  If we want to clear the airwaves, logically we would remove them first.   And we have to stop using our mobile phones. That means no first responders for fire, police and ambulance crews to come and save you and your loved ones in times of emergency, and no air flights anywhere either. In context, the WHO and all credible science says there’s no credible evidence of health risk.   Yet turning off ALL of these radios will certainly result in human deaths as people fail to reach medical services on time, or fires burn homes down.   A study of ethics means that even if we disbelieve the science and data, and don’t want wireless technology, logically one would still have to retain at least SOME of the wireless services to prevent those people dying.  And that means at least some of these wireless transmissions will be all around us.


We can’t remove ALL of the wireless around us, because if we do, large numbers of people suffer and die.    The technology presented on this site – 60GHz V-band – is the lowest power wireless technology – and the safest.

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60GHz Technology V-Band Carrier Class Radios for P2P & P2MP Wireless Networks

V-Band 60GHz Technology & Products

Our range of 60GHz V-Band Technology Radio Products includes: CableFree V-Band 60GHz Technology Radio Point to Point P2P V-Band 60GHz Technology P2MP

Why Consider 60GHz Technology?

Modern V-band 60GHz radios from CableFree are easy-to-deploy, cost-effective, wireless Gigabit Ethernet point-to-point bridges operating in the 60 GHz millimeter wave V-band, delivering full-duplex capacity of up to 1 Gbit/s over distances of up to 1km or more. Utilising Time Division Duplexing (TDD), the full 2.3Gbps capacity of the radio is available divided into both directions for transmit and receive under user control. Combining carrier-class performance with advanced features such as adaptive modulation, multi-channel operation, low latency, high link throughput and security, the CableFree V-Band Radio supports a variety of shorthaul connectivity, network extension and backhaul applications. Modern Chipsets for V-band wireless include 802.11ad wireless chipsets which offer high performance with compact, efficient & low-power solutions.

Is this product 5G?

Please note that the 60GHz V-band radio products described on this website do NOT use 5G chipsets or standards.  They use 802.11ad type chipsets, with beamforming.   There are currently no 5G radios with 60GHz on the market.

Safety of 60GHz V-band

Is 60GHz Safe to use?  There is currently significant disinformation posted by “5G protesters” about 5G & 60GHz on the internet:  Some posts even link directly to this very page, claiming “proof” of their unscientific and zero-evidence claims.   This page clearly demonstrates the opposite: 60GHz IS PERFECTLY SAFE – and here’s why:
  1. Low Power: these 60GHz radios transmit at only 10mW (10 milliwatts, or 1/100 of a Watt)  RF power, which is just 1/20 the power of a standard cellphone.  Unlike your cellphone which you place right next to your head – V-band radios are mounted outdoor areas away from people, and use very low power directional beams.
  2. Compare this with a TV mast: Crystal Palace in London currently transmits digital terrestrial Television at over 1200kW (1.2 MEGAWATT, or 1,200,000 watts), and has been transmitting TV since 1956.  That is 120 MILLION TIMES more power than a V-band 60GHz radio, and transmitting for over 60 years.   Did you hear “5G protesters” complaining about TV transmitters? No, because there’s no widespread history of health effects over 60 years .
  3. Oxygen. Some “5G conspiracy” posts state: “This causes Oxygen to not bind well to blood hemoglobin causing the body to become Oxygen starved (hypoxia)”  This statement is unscientific.  The ultra low power 60GHz signals do not even penetrate human skin.  The signals are partly reflected and partly absorbed by the skin, preventing them entering the body and cannot cause the claimed effect.  There is NO scientific study which will back up this claimed hypoxia effect on the human body.  The “5G protesters” NEVER provide any, because there is no publication or science that would agree with their unscientific claims – it’s simply not impossible.
  4. Water. The human body is around 60% water.   60GHz – like all microwave signals – is highly absorbed by water. After your skin, water in your own body blocks any remaining signals even further.  The power levels are so low that the effect is unmeasurable: your own body generates over 100 Watts of heat all on it’s own even when resting.  Note that “5G conspiracists” never mention this.
  5. 60GHz has already been used for decades:  60GHz radios have been used commercially since 2001, and for other applications since the 1990’s, in many cities worldwide.  Long before 5G was even dreamed up, Point-to-Point radios all over the world have used 60GHz band now for decades.  There have been NO reported health issues from 60GHz during ALL of this time, no protests, and no studies suggesting that they could, or would cause any harm.

Safety of 5G

Please note for those interested: this specific website isn’t about 5G.  Here is a link to a website with content specifically about safety of 5G networks.

What if I’m still scared – I’ve read so much about “5G fear” !

If you’ve read recent scare-mongering about 5G, stop and think rationally.  These 60GHz frequencies have been used for decades already with no known adverse effects or health reports. So why the hype now?  5G Conspiracists like to whip up fear, but prevent no actual evidence.  The highest RF exposure you will get in your life is from your OWN cellphone, because when you use it, you hold it to your head whilst making a call.  Yet Billions of people have used cellphones for decades, with no widespread health effects measured.   And thousands of lives are saved every year by emergency calls made by these phones.   Logic tells us that we should weigh up the clear BENEFIT of mobile phones – which regularly save lives of our loved ones – versus irrational fear with no supporting evidence. Please see this page for details and to learn more about safety of wireless systems.  And use your rational judgement when deciding what things around us are safe, and which are not.

Technical Benefits of 60GHz Technology

  • Excellent “carrier class” performance for high-speed Gigabit capacity internet, data, and voice communications.
  • 60GHz radios have a small footprint making them perfect for metropolitan areas or aesthetically sensitive installations, such as in historic districts or architecturally regulated areas.
  • 60 GHz has unique characteristics which provide a high degree of immunity to interference from other radio signals.
  • Large 7 GHz channel size (“bigger pipe”), compared to conventional microwave solutions (typically 3.5 to 60 MHz).
  • “Oxygen absorption” attenuates 60 GHz signals such that they cannot travel far beyond their intended path, which (a) enhances signal/data security and (b) enables customers to install numerous 60 GHz radios in the same area (higher “frequency reuse”).
  • Excellent directivity via highly focused point-to-point antennas, perfect for building-to-building, tower-to-tower, and small cell deployments.
  • Up to “Five 9’s” (99.999%) availability, depending on rainfall rates/geographic location. In most parts of the world, rain attenuation can be compensated for by selecting the appropriate antenna and assessing link distance correctly, which is made easier by Choice of different 60 GHz antennas to suit precise applications

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60GHz Band Regulation

V-Band 60GHz Spectrum

Regulation of the 60GHz V-band

Regulation of V-band (60 GHz) varies globally. Check regional regulation before planning a V-band 60GHz network. Key regulation includes EC (Europe) & FCC (USA). Note that within Europe, individual member states may have different interpretation of rules.

V-band Summary

The V-band ostensibly ranges from the 41 GHz to the 75 GHz band. Parts of that band of spectrum are used for millimeter wave radar and various scientific applications. The 60 GHz band has been attracting considerable interest recently. Compared to only 70 MHz spectrum available in the 2.4 GHz band and 500 MHz in the 5GHz band for Wi-Fi, there is 7 GHz available in 60 GHz V-band. They are well suited to high-capacity, short-hop (<2 km) communications with narrow beams. The Wi- Fi 802.11ad low-power, very short-range devices will operate in the 60 GHz band, potentially offering data throughputs of up to 10 Gbps

V-Band 60GHz Spectrum Regulation
V-Band 60GHz Spectrum

EC 60 GHz Rule Change 

In late 2013, the European Commission (EC) issued a decision, the 2013/752/EU, that made a number of amendments to a prior policy document (2006/771/ EC). The main objective of the revised policy document is to constrain transmission power levels to ensure they do not interfere with other wireless equipment. In the case of the short-range devices operating in the 57 GHz to 66 GHz band, they are restricted to 40 dBm Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power (EIRP) and 13 dBm/MHz EIRP densities. Fixed outdoor installations are excluded from complying with these restrictions. Furthermore, it will ensure that these short-range devices do not become a serious source of interference for backhaul links in the 57 GHz to 64 GHz band. 

FCC 60 GHz Rule Change 

In late 2013, the FCC voted unanimously to change the rules governing the 60 GHz unlicensed band and said that the new raised power levels would improve the use of unlicensed spectrum for high- capacity, short range outdoor backhaul, which is particularly useful for small cells. There are several reasons why this rule change was important for small cell backhaul. In the 60 GHz band, wireless transmissions are attenuated by oxygen absorption and moisture or “rain fade,” which limits their range; also, the signal will not penetrate foliage or buildings, requiring a clear LoS. At this high frequency, the antenna is a small dish that matches the small form factor of the small cell and can be installed unobtrusively outdoors.

The FCC raised the power limit for outdoor links operating in the 57 GHz to 64 GHz band on an unlicensed basis. The EIRP limit was raised from 40 dBm (equivalent to 10 Watts) to a maximum of 82 dBm (158,489 Watts), depending on how high the antenna gain is. The new power limit is comparable to others the FCC has in the fixed microwave services.

The FCC believes this will support higher-capacity outdoor links, such as small cells, extending to about 1 mile (1.6  km). The FCC also eliminated the need for outdoor 60 GHz devices to transmit an identifier. Indoor 60 GHz devices (for example, those based on WiGig’s 802.11ad standard) are still constrained to the much lower power limitations, which prevents interference with outdoor fixed link devices.


In Europe, the European Telecommunication Standards Institute ( ETSI) and the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunication ( CEPT ) adopted some general recommendations for operation of devices in the 57-66 GHz band. The CEPT recommendation REC (09)01, which was supplemented by ETSI EN 302 217 harmonised standard, calls for a maximum EIRP power level of +55 dBmi, but typically limits maximum conducted power to +10 dBm and the minimum antenna gain to +30dBi. This approach does not allow the trade-off of Executive Summary 1 Regulatory Background antenna gain and power in the way that the more flexible U.S. standard does.

United Kingdom (UK)

In 2010 the UK Office of Communications (OFCOM) approved the unlicensed use of the 57…64 GHz spectrum. Although the spectrum allocation follows the FCC standard (maximum EIRP of +55 dBm), the maximum conducted power of +10 dBm and the +30 dBi minimum antenna gain is modelled after the European ETSI standard”

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60GHz V-Band Wireless Technology

IEEE 802.11ad wireless safety

Why Consider 60GHz V-band for Wireless?

60GHz (V-Band) is now becoming a popular frequency band in wireless world, with both short-range and wider area applications ahead for the tiny beams of this unlicensed millimeter radio technology.

60GHz V-Band Wireless

The frequency — part of the V-Band frequencies — is considered among the millimeter radio (mmWave) bands. Millimeter wave radios operate using frequencies from 30GHz to 300GHz. Until recently, 60GHz has typically been used for military communications as well as some commercial applications.

Major technology vendors show growing interest in the technology and the associated patents. Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) bought Wilocity recently to combine 60GHz WiGig technology with WiFi. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) bought Alpental, a startup that, according to one of its founders, is using 60GHz to develop a “hyper scalable mmWave networking solution for dense urban nextGen 5G & WiFi.”

Why 60GHz, and why now? Here are a few reasons the market is expanding:



A short-range wireless specification — using the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) 802.11ad specification — that can link devices at up to 7 Gbit/s over a distance of up to 12 meters. That’s 10 times faster than the current 802.11n WiFi, though with less range. This makes the technology ideal for wirelessly delivering high-definition video in the home. The Wi-Fi Alliance has WiGig-certified products which started to arrive in 2015.

Wireless backhaul:

Particularly for small cells, operators can use the 60GHz radios to connect small cells to a fiber hub. (See More Startups Target Small-Cell Backhaul.)

Wireless bridges:

These are useful for providing extra capacity at events, ad-hoc networks, and private high-speed enterprise links.

Wireless Video:

Wireless video: Some startups have jumped the gun on the WiGig standard and plowed ahead with their own 60GHz video connectivity using the Sony-backed WirelessHD standard.

Point to Point, Point to Multipoint & Mesh Networks

60GHz is ideal for Point to Point (P2P, PTP) links as well as Point to Multipoint (P2MP, PTMP) and also Wireless Mesh Networks.

Why 60GHz?

A global unlicensed band exists at 57-64GHz. It is largely uncongested compared to the 2.5GHz and 5GHz public bands currently used for WiFi.

There’s also a lot of it. “The 60 GHz band boasts a wide spectrum of up to 9GHz that is typically divided into channels of roughly 2GHz each,” Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)’s LL Yang wrote in an article on the prospects for the wide-area and short-range use of the technology. Spectrum availability is “unmatched” by any of the lower-frequency bands.

The spectrum is now open and approved for use across much of the world. This includes the US, Europe, and much of Asia, including China.

As we’ve already seen, 60GHz technology is expected to offer blazing wireless transmission speeds.

Issues with 60GHz

No technology is ever perfect, right?

Transmissions at 60GHz have less range for a given transmit power than 5GHz WiFi, because of path loss as the electromagnetic wave moves through the air, and 60GHz transmissions can struggle to penetrate walls. There is also a substantial RF oxygen absorption peak in the 60GHz band, which gets more pronounced at ranges beyond 100 meters, as Agilent notes in a paper on the technology. Using a high-gain adaptive antenna array can help make up for some of these issues with using 60GHz for wider area applications.

Some vendors have also argued that there are potential advantages for the technology over omnidirectional systems. “The combined effects of O2 absorption and narrow beam spread result in high security, high frequency re-use, and low interference for 60GHz links,” one vendor notes

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60GHz Wireless: The IEEE 802.11ay standard

IEEE 802.11ad wireless safety

IEEE 802.11ay is an enhancement to the current technical standards for Wi-Fi. It is the follow-up of 802.11ad adding four times the bandwidth and adding MIMO up to 4 streams. This is also known as the second WiGig standard.

802.11ay is a type of WLAN in the IEEE 802.11 set of WLANs. It will have a frequency of 60 GHz, a transmission rate of up to 40 Gbps and an extended transmission distance of 300–500 meters. It is likely to have mechanisms for channel bonding and MU-MIMO technologies. It was originally expected to be released in 2017, but has been delayed until 2019. 802.11ay will not be a new type of WLAN in the IEEE 802.11 set, but will simply be an improvement on 802.11ad.

IEEE 802.11ad

Where 802.11ad uses a maximum of 2.16 GHz bandwidth, 802.11ay bonds four of those channels together for a maximum bandwidth of 8.64 GHz. MIMO is also added with a maximum of 4 streams. The link-rate per stream is 44Gbit/s, with four streams this goes up to 176Gbit/s. Higher order modulation is also added, probably up to 256-QAM.

Applications include replacement for Ethernet and other cables within offices or homes, and provide backhaul connectivity outside for service providers.

802.11ay must not be confused with the similarly-named 802.11ax standard that was released in 2019. Although they boast similar speeds, the 802.11ay standard is designed to run at much higher frequencies below 6GHz. The lower frequency of 802.11ax enables it to penetrate walls, something that the higher frequency signals used by 11ay standard cannot do.

802.11ad channels:

ChannelCenter (GHz)Min. (GHz)Max. (GHz)BW (GHz)

Note: Some of these frequencies might not available for the use of IEEE 802.11ad networks around the world (reserved for other purposes or requires licenses).

Limitations of 802.11ay

Because it uses the V band of millimeter wave (mmW) frequency, the range of IEEE 802.11ay communication is rather limited (just a few meters and difficult to pass through obstacles/walls) compared to other conventional Wi-Fi systems. However, the high frequency allows it to use more bandwidth which in turn enables the transmission of data at high data rates up to multiple gigabits per second, enabling usage scenarios like transmission of uncompressed UHD video over the wireless network.

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