DOD, industry agree on sharing 5-GHz band

The Defense Department and IT product vendors have struck an agreement on how to share a band of radio frequencies without jeopardizing vital military radars that are used in part to guide warships and provide weather forecasts.

The agreement, reached Friday and approved by the Federal Communications Commission, requires vendors to use Dynamic Frequency Solution, a 'listen-before-transmit' detection technology, to avoid interference with military radars that operate in the same 5-GHz band, according to Badri Younes, DOD spectrum management director.

'After so many months of technical discussions, we have converged on a technical solution that protects the equities of the government and enables the WiFi deployment, although they will be a little constrained,' Younes said.

IEEE 802.11b systems, commonly referred to as WiFi, operate in the 2.4-GHz band. But the emerging 802.11a and 802.11g standards make use of the 5-GHz band.

DOD officials had been in discussions with executives from hardware and software companies, such as Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp., that were pushing for additional spectrum between the 5250-MHz and 5725-MHz bands to roll out the latest broadband wireless access system devices.

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