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FCC approves access to faster 6GHz band for AR and VR headsets

Meta Quest 3

June Wan/ZDNET

After years of mulling over this decision, the FCC has unanimously approved allowing very low-power devices to operate in the 6GHz band. This includes AR and VR headsets, like the Apple Vision Pro and the Meta Quest 3, which stand to benefit from faster data transfers and less interference.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Meta have all been lobbying for access to the 6GHz band since 2019; the FCC decision is sure to catalyze a new wave of advanced tech applications that could benefit from it.

Also: The best VR headsets right now (and they’re not just from Meta)

The approval is limited to very low power (VLP) devices such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) wearables and other smaller Internet of Things (IoT) devices operating in 850MHz of the spectrum. Access to the 6GHz band at higher power levels will be limited by geofencing, ensuring the connected devices can’t interfere with existing licensed uses of the 6GHz band. 

“Countless innovations that have made our lives easier and more convenient are dependent on unlicensed spectrum. The 6 GHz band has already improved the Wi-Fi that we rely on every day for work, school, entertainment, and innovation,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said when proposing the new limitations in September. 

The FCC had previously expanded unlicensed use in 1.2GHz of spectrum between 5.925 and 7.124GHz, giving way to Wi-Fi 6E and setting the stage for Wi-Fi 7. 

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