The proposed changes are set out in proposed variations to the Radiocommunications (Low Interference Potential Devices) Class Licence 2015 (LIPD class licence, details of which are set out in a discussion paper.
They affect a range of applications for radio transmission technologies. The one of most relevance to IoT and M2M applications is the ACMA’s proposal to remove a current restriction on the use of digital modulation transmitters operating in the 915–928, 2400–2483.5 and 5725–5850MHz bands (the Wi-Fi bands). Under current rules the minimum 6dB bandwidth must be at least 500kHz, which means that the power of the transmitter (max of 1W or 4W depending on the band being used) must be spread across a range of frequencies and cannot be overly concentrated in a narrow range of frequencies.
The ACMA says removal of this restriction will provide greater opportunities for low data rate machine-to-machine and internet-of-things links using the Wi-Fi bands.
The limitation was introduced to enable the use of CDMA spread spectrum technology in the early 2000s. The ACMA says: “It is now considered that the existing power spectrum density limit that also applies to these items is a sufficient interference control and the 6dB bandwidth limitation can be removed.” The proposed changes would also bring Australia into line with overseas regulations.
ACMA chairman, Chris Chapman, said: “The changes should encourage innovations in the M2M and IoT spaces. The proposals are a part of our work in looking at Australia’s state of readiness for IoT and identifying areas where the ACMA can further assist IoT developments.”
In November the ACMA released an occasional paper Internet of Things and the ACMA’s areas of focus—Emerging issues in media and communications in which it looked at Australia’s state of readiness for IoT and identified areas for attention that are likely to be important in facilitating IoT developments in the near, medium and longer term.
Other proposed variations to the class licence would:
– add additional bands for the use of certain types of lasers at frequencies of 122.25–123 GHz and 244–246 GHz. The ACMA says this change would align Australia with European arrangements.
– add new frequencies (6.0–8.5 GHz, 24.05–26.5 GHz and 57–64 GHz) for radio transmitters used to measure the thickness of materials or depths in tanks
– add the band 6000MHz –6800MHz to the range of frequencies that can be used for in-ground ultra-wide bandwidth transmitters.
– permit the use of building material analysis transmitters (stud, wiring and pipework in wall or floor detection devices) operating on between 2.2GHz–8.5GHz.
Submissions on the proposed changes are due by 26 February.