FCC Proposes Higher EIRP for License-free 60 GHz Radios

In a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FCC 07-104) the FCC is proposing increasing the equivalent isotropically radiated power of unlicensed 60 GHz transmitters using very high gain antennas from 40 dBm to 82 dBm (minus 2 dB for every dB that antenna gain is below 51 dBi).

Is such high gain possible?

I found antennas with 41 dB gain up to 47 dB gain available now, as well as papers describing antennas capable of 51 dB gain. Allowable peak power EIRP would increase to 85 dBm, with the same reduction for antennas with gain less than 51 dB.

Only 60 GHz transmitters located outdoors or those located indoors with emissions directed outdoors, such as transmitters shooting through a window, would be allowed to increase power.

According to the NPRM, the proposed increase would provide longer-range communications for unlicensed 60 gHz digital point-to-point users. This would allow such systems to provide very high-speed broadband services to offices and other commercial entities.

"We believe these proposals would encourage broader deployment of point to-point digital systems in this band without increasing the potential for harmful interference, and thereby further the commission's objective of promoting the availability of broadband connectivity to all Americans," the commission said.

The NPRM was in response to a Petition for Rule Making submitted by the Wireless Communications Association. In addition to the power increase, the NPRM proposes eliminating the requirement for transmitter identification in connection with these 60 GHz links.

Additional technical details are available in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FCC 07-104). Comments will be due 90 days after publication in the NPRM. An additional 30 days is allowed for reply comments.