On June 9th the FCC is going to get together in an open meeting to discuss several proposals. One of those said proposals concerns letting operators in the 2.5 GHz band, in this case Clearwire, use wider channels to deliver service to their customers. If that went over your head then let’s try to tell the story a different way. In order for an operator to setup a wireless network they need to buy the right to use certain airwaves. This is called spectrum. Clearwire is an operator who purchased spectrum in the 2.5 GHz range. Now when Clearwire covers a market they’re required to, by law, use 5.5 MHz channels. Think of channels as nothing more than a highway, in this case one that’s 5.5 lanes wide. Clearwire would like to get the ability to use channels, or highways, that are 20 MHz or 20 lanes wide. Similar to how a wider highway lets more cars travel at the same time, a wider channel lets more data flow. When Clearwire uploaded a video to YouTube showing 90 Mbps download speeds using LTE technology, they were hitting those numbers using 20 MHz channels. That was a test network, so they were allowed to try that out for the sake of experimentation. Now they’d like permission to actually offer you those speeds.
There are other ways to increase download speeds besides making wider channels, and that’s something called channel bonding. Think of channel bonding like building two parallel highways. Future wireless standards, more specifically LTE-Advanced, can push speeds of up to 1 Gbps because they allow an operator to pair up 5 20 MHz channels, in essence creating 5 parallel highways, each 20 lanes wide, to deliver data. But back to Clearwire, there’s no reason why the FCC would say no to them, and we’re pretty excited at what that will potentially do to their service, especially since they’re going to adopt LTE soon.