Commission frees up frequencies for WiFi

In a move that may boost the technology in Europe, the Commission has decided to assign two additional frequency bands to wireless local area networks, known as WiFi.

The two newly allocated bands in the 5 GHz spectrum are already available for wireless in America and the Asia/Pacific region, due to an agreement reached at the World Radiocommunications Conference in 2003. Their availability will remedy capacity shortages in the 2.4 GHz spectrum presently used for WiFi in Europe. 

The additional frequencies will allow companies, as well as users in densely populated areas, to switch to wireless protocols allowing for higher bandwidth. This increased bandwidth is of particular importance due to the emergence of Voice over IP (VoIP) telephony, which many users use from their portable computers. In the future, other devices, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and cellphones are expected to be able to connect to WiFi, and within the next five years, the technology may even supersede wire-bound local area networks (LANs). 

When attributing the two new frequency bands, the Commission also had to take protection measures to avoid interference with neighbouring frequency bands, used by the military and by satellite operators. 

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