Ofcom vows to speed up Wi-Fi connections for everyone

Regulator will make more airwaves available for Wi-Fi channels so the current frequencies aren't saturated

Ofcom has said it will free up airwaves to help speed up Wi-Fi connections for millions of homes and businesses across the UK.

The regulator has revealed it will introduce a sub-band within the 5GHz band, meaning wireless internet users are not limited to using the currently congested 2.4GHz or 5GHz band to run their wireless internet connections.

However, it said it will ensure protection for others who currently run satellite services on the frequency, meaning there will not be any knock-on effects of adding a new bandwidth for Wi-Fi users.

This extra sub-band means the number of 80 MHz channels available to use for Wi-Fi has increased from four to six, allowing for more data-hungry applications to run concurrently.

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"People are placing greater demands on their broadband, so we need to ensure they aren't let down by their wireless connection," Philip Marnick, group director of spectrum at Ofcom said.

"We also want to close the gap between advertised speeds and the wireless performance that people and businesses actually receive. So we're exploring ways to open up more airwaves for Wi-Fi. In the meantime, people can check their router is up to date, and use our W-Fi Checker app to test if it's working properly."

Ofcom added it is keen to work with businesses to find out how adding extra airwaves in the 5GHz range might help growing demand, including the indicators it needs to recognise when new capacity is needed.

Ofcom explained these new channels - which are already available for US internet users - will become available for UK citizens within the next few years. However, it is likely some developments will need to be made by equipment manufacturers to ensure devices support the new band.

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