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Wi-Fi and how the ACMA laws on the 5GHz unlicensed spectrum affect you!

Unlicensed Spectrum
Table: Illustrating Allowed Band/Channel/ Frequency/Usage

Class licences authorise users of designated segments of spectrum to operate on a shared basis. A class licence sets out the conditions under which any person is permitted to operate when utilising the license. It is not issued to an individual user, and does not involve licence fees, and there is minimal licence administration by the ACMA.

The Class Licenses set the user conditions and cover for frequency bands of operation and radiated power limits.  It is important that you are aware of what Bands you can operate in and the power that you are setting your equipment when you undertake a Wi-Fi installation.

So while the 5GHz spectrum is unlicensed, it is still regulated.

There are 4 bands in the unlicensed spectrum that Wi-Fi can operate in.  Altai products can be configured to work across all the bands but there are set bands that you should be configuring depending on how you are utilising the hardware – whether indoor or outdoor. All wi-fi products can be utilised for all channels but you as the installer should follow the regulations when undertaking an install.

The Bands U-NII-1, UNII-2e and their corresponding channels (34-48 and 100 – 140) are reserved purely for indoor use. Band U-NII-3 is reserved for outdoor use and U-NII-2 is not to be used at all as it is reserved for radar.

Maximum EIRP limits

Along with the channels and frequencies you can and cannot use, you also need to be aware of the EIRP or Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power.  In a nutshell it’s the allowable amount of power you can program to radiate from your hardware (access points, antennas etc).  There are maximum EIRP limits that you can set for your install – an excerpt of the relevant summary can be found HERE.

You can find the full document detailing the Legislation around the Class Licenses HERE.


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