Wireless ISP Frequency Bands

Spectrum of Interest:

ISM Bands

The Industrial, Scientific and Medical radio bands are the industrial equivalent of the "Citizens Band". No license is required, so long as only type approved equipment is deployed. The main limitations are 1 Watt of output power, and only spread-spectrum modulations are allowed. The amount of spectrum is limited, and each band eventually fills up, forcing new users to higher bands.
Freq. range: 902-928 Mhz
Bandwidth: 26 MHz
Max Power: 1 Watt
Max EIRP 4 Watt (+36 dBm)
Freq. range: 2400-2483.5 MHz
Bandwidth: 83.5 MHz
Max Power: 1 Watt
Max EIRP 4 Watt (+36 dBm) for multi-point, 200 W (+53 dBm) for point-to-point
Freq. range: 5.725GHz-5.850 GHz
Bandwidth: 125 MHz
Max Power: 1 Watt (+30 dBm)
Max EIRP 200 W (+53 dBm)

UNII Bands

The "Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure" band is defined by 47 CFR 15.407.
UNII Indoor
Freq. range: 5150-5250 MHz
Bandwidth: 100 MHz
Max Power: 50 mW
Max EIRP 200 mW
Notes:Indoor use only.
Must have integral antenna.
UNII Low Power
Freq. range: 5250-5350 MHz
Bandwidth: 100 MHz
Max Power: 250 mW
Max EIRP 1 W
Freq. range: 5725-5825 MHz
Bandwidth: 100 MHz
Max Power: 1 W (+30 dBm)
Max EIRP 200 W (+53 dBm)
Notes:Overlaps with ISM-5.8; Does not require spread spectrum, but does have limitations on spectral power density limits that effectively correspond to ISM flavor. Effectively, this expects high data rates to perform the spreading.


The Multipoint-Multichannel Distribution Service band at 2.496GHz-2.644GHz was intended for "wireless cable" systems, and the spectrum allocations were sold by auction in 1995/96.With the advent of Direct Broadcast Satellite systems, "wireless cable" has evaporated, and the spectrum is widely being retargeted to data applications. The original rules specify a one-way system, but the FCC is now beginning to allow 2-way service.
The spectrum is part of a slice originally designated for Instructional Television Fixed Service, and is divided into 6MHz channels. Each service area has two operators with 4 channels each, and channels alternate between the two operators, thus enforcing the channelization.
Many of the MMDS ISPs use a hybrid service, where the wireless link is used downstream, while upstream data goes on a V.34 modem link.


The Local Multi-Point Distribution Service (LMDS) bands at 27.5GHz-29.5GHz and 31.0GHz-31.3GHz were allocated by auction in early 1998. Each coverage area has two licenses, one for 150MHz and the other for 1150 MHz. The rules are specifically set up for two-way data service. Generally, the subscriber equipment will have 10mW feeding a 35dBi antenna, and vendors claim distances up to 5 miles at 150Mbps or 10 miles at 10Mbps..

This article from Wired Magazine explains what LMDS is about.

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  Revision 1.8  2000/07/27 22:14:06  lars
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  Revision 1.6  2000/06/13 06:33:41  lars
  Cleanup in list of bands.

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  Revision 1.4  1999/11/30 01:26:13  lars
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  Revision 1.3  1999/11/30 01:20:51  lars
  Fix typing error.

  Revision 1.2  1999/11/30 01:17:42  lars
  Deleted the old list of ISPs. (We now have the new, longer list.)

  Revision 1.1  1999/11/30 00:37:47  lars
  New file, describing the bands of interest for Internet use.