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Ofcom reveals plans for faster wi-fi

Author: 
Jo Smith

In an age where a decent internet connection is increasingly seen as a basic necessity, the speed of a person's wi-fi can affect everything from the quality of their entertainment to their ability to work efficiently.Ofcom reveals plans for faster wi-fi

As more and more people are working for themselves, the need for faster wi-fi in residential areas as well as for businesses has become more pressing.

Ofcom's proposals are to open more airwaves for wi-fi channels which would mean that large amounts of data could be carried at faster download speeds which would significantly improve the service that many people are getting.

Users who are accessing things such as HD video from their tablets, smart phones or laptops would experience a smoother experience, but the regulator also wants to improve the speed of the connections themselves in order to reflect the fact that many users want to access several services at once.

With many wi-fi routers in the UK using a part of the spectrum in the 2.4 GHz band, these are becoming increasingly congested which impairs performance and limits users' ability to perform several actions at the same time, such as streaming video, working remotely and downloading content.

Newer broadband routers use the 5 GHz band as well as the 2.4 GHz band meaning that the spectrum they have access to is increased and the congestion is lessened. Ofcom always want to open up what they are calling a 'sub band' within the 5 GHz frequency which would be used for wi-fi, enabling other users to be protected at the same time.

The regulator believe that this sub-band would make six 80 MHz channels available for wi-fi use, up from the four currently available, which would make it easier to accommodate applications which require a lot of data, and their plans are to achieve this 'in a few years'.

They are also hoping to work with industry experts in order to ensure that they have identified solutions and safeguards which will allow them to roll out these changes as seamlessly as possible.

As part of these plans, Ofcom's Philip Marnick is keen to provide a service which will meet users' needs to ensure that they are not let down by the services they rely on. However, their current activity is focussed on dealing with the 6 million Brits who are having trouble with their wi-fi, recommending that they check that their routers are up-to-date and using the regulator's app to check their service.

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