The FCC released a
Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on May 10, 2001,
to improve spectrum sharing by unlicensed devices operating in the 2.4 GHz band
(2400 - 2483.5 MHz), provide for introduction of new digital transmission technologies,
and eliminate unnecessary regulations for spread spectrum systems. Specifically, this
Further Notice proposes to revise the rules for frequency hopping spread spectrum
systems operating in the 2.4 GHz band to reduce the amount of spectrum that must be
used with certain types of operation, and to allow new digital transmission technologies
to operate pursuant to the same rules as spread spectrum systems. It also proposes to
liminate the processing gain requirement for direct sequence spread spectrum systems,
which will provide manufacturers with increased flexibility and regulatory certainty in
the design of their products. FCC is taking these actions to facilitate the continued development
and deployment of new wireless devices for businesses and consumers.
FCC's Complete Docket File on the Proposed Rulemaking currently
contains more than 350 documents. In the dialog box you reach via this link, enter
"99-231" in box 1, "Proceeding" and press the "Retrieve Document List"
button at the bottom of the screen. This will bring up the complete list of documents on this issue --
For more information on this topic, see our OFDM page.
The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on May 10, 2000, to modify Part 15
Rules to allow license-free use of UWB transmitters. The public comment period ended October
27, 2000, but FCC is still allowing late comments. Following this step, FCC will respond to
the comments and may issue a final rule, but there is no set time frame for when this will happen.
The key issue is the interference potential of unfettered UWB
use with traditional weak signal radio services, such as GPS. Some UWB proponents argue that very
brief UWB pulses will not cause significant interference. Others think that some forms
of UWB will cause interference and believe that UWB emissions should not be allowed
in any critical weak signal frequency, mainly those below 3 GHz.
The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information
Administration (NTIA) has issued a series of reports on UWB that address these issues.
These reports have also been filed with the FCC for inclusion in the public record in their
ongoing UWB proceeding, and will undoubtedly have an important impact on the FCC's UWB
rulemaking. The reports are available in a variety of formats at the links below:
FCC's Complete Docket File on the Proposed Rulemaking to Amend Part 15 to permit UWB now
contains more than 650 documents. In the dialog box you reach via this link, enter
"98-153" in box 1, "Proceeding" and press the "Retrieve Document List"
button at the bottom of the screen. This will bring up the complete list of documents, from the
first FCC Notice of Inquiry to the most recently received comments. You can scroll
through the list and view full text files from the FCC and a wide range of commenters including
individuals, labor unions, other government agencies, and numerous corporations --
WT Docket No. 97 -- The ARRL on December 12, 1995 asked the FCC for
rulemaking to modify existing Part 97 Amateur Radio regulations on SS.
The American Radio Relay League, Incorporated (the League), the national
association of amateur radio operators in the United States, respectfully
requests that the Commission issue a Notice of Proposed Rule Making
at an early date, looking toward the amendment of the Commission's Rules
and Regulations regarding the Amateur Radio Service, in order to
facilitate, to a greater extent than is done by the present rules, the
contributions of the Amateur Service to the development of spread-
The petition proposes
to permit brief test transmissions using SS emissions;
to permit international SS communications between United States'
amateurs and amateurs in countries that permit amateur use of those
deletion of unnecessary restrictions on spreading codes and repetitive
definitions of "harmful interference", and
to provide for automatic power control to insure use of minimum
necessary power to conduct SS communications.
The League urges that the Commission propose and ultimately adopt
these proposed rule changes. These are, in the League's opinion, the
minimum changes necessary in order to foster SS experimentation in
the Amateur Service, while at the same time preserving those necessary
existing protections against those who might conceivably exploit the
amateur bands for non-amateur purposes. Spread-spectrum techniques
are in regular use in Part 15 applications, but have not been given the
attention deserved in other communications systems, such as the land
mobile services, as a means of increasing the efficiency of use of
crowded shared bands. The Amateur Service regularly functions as a
provider of refinements of new technologies and provides means of
deployment of those technologies on a cost-effective basis. In order to
permit the degree of flexibility in use of this technology in particular,
the Commission should provide the necessary regulatory environment
to do so. These rule changes represent a conservative, and yet
functional approach to reform of SS rules.
COMMISSION PROPOSES TO MAKE SPECTRUM
AVAILABLE FOR USE BY NEW UNLICENSED
EQUIPMENT; NII/SUPERNET DEVICES WOULD
FACILITATE INTERCONNECTION TO THE NII
-- ET Docket No. 96-102 (Report No. DC 96-36, Action in Docket
The Commission has adopted a Notice of Proposed
Rule Making to make available 350 megahertz of spectrum
at 5.15 - 5.35 GHz and 5.725 - 5.875 GHz for use by a new
category of unlicensed equipment called NII/SUPERNet
Action by the Commission April 25, 1996, by
NPRM (FCC 96-193).
News Media contact: Rochelle Cohen at (202) 418-
0500. Office of Engineering and Technology contacts: Tom
Derenge at (202) 418-2451 and Fred Thomas at (202) 418-
2449. [Internet file name: nret6007.txt]
FULL TEXT OF NEWS RELEASE
NEWSReport No. DC 96-36
ACTION IN DOCKET CASE April 25, 1996
COMMISSION PROPOSES TO MAKE SPECTRUM AVAILABLE FOR USE
BY NEW UNLICENSED EQUIPMENT;
NII/SUPERNet Devices Would Facilitate Interconnection to NII
(ET Docket No. 96-102)
The Commission has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to make available
350 megahertz of spectrum at 5.15 - 5.35 GHz and 5.725 - 5.875 GHz for use by a new
category of unlicensed equipment called NII/SUPERNet devices. The Commission stated the
proposed rules would foster the development of a broad range of new devices, stimulate the
growth of new industries, and promote the ability of U.S. manufacturers to compete globally
by enabling them to develop unlicensed digital products for the world market.
NII/SUPERNet devices would provide short-range, high-speed wireless digital
information transfer and could support the creation of new wireless local area networks
(LANs) as well as facilitate access to the National Information Infrastructure without the
expense of wiring. These devices may further the universal service goals of the
Telecommunications Act by offering classrooms, libraries, health care providers, and other
users inexpensive networking alternatives which may access advanced telecommunications
To further promote technical and operational flexibility, the Commission has proposed
to regulate NII/SUPERNet devices under Part 15 of the FCC rules. Unlicensed Part 15 status
would facilitate spectrum reuse and provide protection to incumbent and proposed primary
The Commission also has proposed only the minimum technical standards necessary to
prevent interference to other unlicensed devices and incumbent services and to ensure that the
spectrum is used efficiently. The proposed rules specify power limits, out-of-band emission
limits, and a basic "listen-before-talk" protocol standard. The industry is encouraged to
develop any additional protocol standards believed necessary.
The Commission initiated this proceeding in response to Petitions for Rule Making
submitted by Wireless Information Networks Forum (WINForum) and Apple Computer, Inc.
- FCC -
Action by the Commission April 25, 1996, by Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FCC
96-193). Chairman Hundt, Commissioners Quello, Ness, and Chong, with Commissioner Ness
issuing a statement.
News Media contact: Rochelle Cohen at (202) 418-0500.
Office of Engineering and Technology contacts: Tom Derenge at (202) 418-2451 and
Fred Thomas at (202) 418-2449.
COMMISSIONER SUSAN NESS
Re: Amendment of the Commission's Rules to Provide for Unlicensed NII/SUPERNet
Operations in the 5 GHz Frequency Range
The rulemaking we are initiating forcefully demonstrates how wise spectrum management can
deliver valuable new services to American homes, schools, businesses, and other institutions.
The radio spectrum is a precious national resource. Responsible stewardship of the spectrum is
a primary mission of this Commission. As part of that stewardship, I believe setting aside some
portion of the spectrum for shared, unlicensed use is of demonstrable benefit. Today's Notice
heralds a new generation of unlicensed devices, with great potential for innovation, economic
growth, and international trade.
Unlicensed devices include a growing array of products that improve the quality of life. Cordless
telephones, garage door openers, security and alarm systems, electronic toys, and baby monitors
are some of the most notable examples of unlicensed devices found in the home or in the car.
Unlicensed devices are also increasingly essential to businesses. Remote meter reading, medical
patient monitoring, inventory control systems, and antipilferage systems are already widely
deployed. Literally billions of dollars have already been invested in the development of
unlicensed devices, and the benefits have been considerable.
But the future holds still greater promise.
Based on the WINForum and Apple Computer proposals which led us to initiate this rulemaking,
I believe unlicensed devices using radio spectrum above 5 GHz can play a vital role in meeting
established and incipient needs for communications offering mobility, flexibility, versatility, and
Especially enticing are the prospects for wireless local area networks to connect classroom
computers to each other -- and to the world beyond. Low-power radio technology can serve as
a low-cost, high-bandwidth, on-ramp to the Information Superhighway for the leaders and
workers of tomorrow. Such an application would be directly responsive to the wishes of
Congress, as reflected in Sections 254(b)(6), 254(c)(3), 254(h)(2) of the Communications Act of
1934, as amended, and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Health care
providers and their patients may also be among the main beneficiaries of this kind of technology.
What is more, unlicensed devices are consistent with the objectives of reinventing government.
The costs, fees, and delays of licensing can be avoided; equipment authorization can be
streamlined, reducing time to market. Minimal technical standards to prevent harmful
interference can leave maximum opportunities for innovation. A modest enabling gesture by
government can give dozens or even hundreds of entrepreneurs incentives to translate good ideas
into useful products.
I am especially enthusiastic about the proposal tendered by WINForum for short-haul
transmissions. The plan is sufficiently concrete that we can easily foresee how the promised
benefits can be realized. The HIPERLAN experience proves the feasibility of spectrum sharing
with mobile satellite services. International commonality maximizes the market base over which
product development costs can be spread. Enabling simultaneous operation of multiple units at
24 Mbps will support computing, video, and multimedia applications, thereby meeting the needs
of Information Age users.
I am also intrigued by the Apple long-haul proposal, which contemplates low-cost broadband
links from homes to schools and libraries. It may also solve some of the special problems of
providing broadband service in rural areas. The use of higher power levels, however, requires
that we proceed more cautiously. How do we prevent interference to the wireless LANs and
other low-power unlicensed devices that will be sharing the same frequencies? Also, at what
point do the characteristics of a service make it more appropriate for provision on a licensed
basis? These and other questions remain to be answered.
Because of the need for compatibility, I believe manufacturers of unlicensed products using
shared frequency bands have strong marketplace incentives to develop a workable spectrum
etiquette. As in the case of unlicensed PCS at 2 GHz, a spectrum etiquette may minimize the
potential for interference while providing maximum flexibility for technological innovation and
spectrum efficiency. I hope commenting parties will assist us in thinking through this issue.
Overall, I believe we are on a course that will bring substantial benefits, with no intrusive
governmental intervention. This is responsible spectrum management -- and good public policy.
I look forward to completing this rulemaking expeditiously.
FCC NOPR on Part 15, February 5, 1996 Summary
On February 5, 1996 the FCC released ET Docket No. 96-8 (which is also known as FCC 96-36).
This Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NRPM) is most important to the SS and Wireless industry.
Contained within this document are several FCC actions and recommendations on a number of
Petitions for Rulemaking which have been submitted by a number of companies. Also included
is the FCC's position on the future of SS and Part 15.247 rules. Specifically the FCC will
do a number of things:
Since this is still just an NRPM, all issues are open for comment until
75 days from the release date.
The FCC specifically requests comments on a number of the proposed provisions
and issues dealt with in this NRPM.
The FCC will eliminate the limit on directional gain anttennas for the 5800
MHz ISM band [ref: Western Multiplex Petition].
The FCC will reduce the required number of frequewncy hops from 50 to 25, in
the 915 MHz ISM band [ref: SpectraLink Petition].
The FCC denies the Petition of Symbol Technologies for an even further
reduction in Frequency Hop requirements for 915 MHz.
The FCC clarifies a number of important points and definitions for
both DS and FH SS emissions.
The FCC adopts a new procedure [Appendix C] "Guidance on Measurements
for Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum Systems."
The FCC specifically OUTLAWS add-on Power Amplifiers AND after-market
antennas for all SS equipment which is type accepted under Part 15.247!