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Amendment in IEEE 802.11af™ Enables Geolocation Database Access to RF Spectrum White Spaces

IEEE, the world's largest professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, today announced publication of IEEE 802.11afTM-2013, which is intended to allow IEEE 802.11™ wireless local area networks (WLANs) to be used in “white spaces” of the radio frequency (RF) spectrum.

The added features of IEEE 802.11af1 are designed to provide geolocation database access to previously unavailable, unused or underused frequencies. The amendment to IEEE 802.11 establishes a global standard allowing users worldwide to make use of unused or underused spectrum, based on location and time of day.

“As more spectrum becomes necessary, new and better approaches to sharing with licensed spectrum users becomes a necessity,” said Bruce Kraemer, chair of the IEEE 802.11 working group. “IEEE 802.11af addresses this need by providing support for operation in unused TV channels in the VHF and UHF bands, and the standard’s arrival is timely given that it coincides with the offer of unlicensed access to white-space spectrum in the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe. IEEE 802.11af provides a standard that delivers a mechanism for adding white-space services to IEEE 802.11 WLAN devices wherever they can be made available and builds on the technological advances of the previously announced new IEEE 802.11ac™2 standard.”

IEEE 802.11af operates in 6, 7 and 8 MHz channels, allowing backward compatibility with existing international TV band allocations. Under the amended standard, operation may be configured for one to four channels, either contiguously or in two non-contiguous blocks, providing a means for devices to aggregate sufficient spectrum in a fragmented TV band spectrum to provide high data rates. The IEEE 802.11af standards document is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store.

In addition to the IEEE 802.11af WLAN standard, the previously published IEEE 802.22™3 standard provides reliable, secure high-speed broadband regional area access systems to under- and unserved communities around the world. For more information on IEEE 802.22, please visit The IEEE 802.22 standard is available to be printed on demand at the IEEE Standards Store, or it can be downloaded for no charge through the IEEE Get Program.

Participants in the IEEE 802.11 working group include more than 500 individuals from equipment and silicon suppliers, service providers, systems integrators, consultant organizations and academic institutions from more than 20 countries.

IEEE 802.114 defines the technology for the world’s premier wireless LAN (WLAN) products. IEEE 802.11-based products are often branded as “Wi-Fi®” in the market. IEEE 802.11 standards underpin wireless networking applications around the world, such as wireless access to the Internet from offices, homes, airports, hotels, restaurants, trains and aircraft. IEEE 802.11’s relevance continues to expand with the emergence of new applications, such as the smart grid, wireless docking and the “Internet of Things.” For more information about the IEEE 802.11 working group, visit

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About the IEEE Standards Association

The IEEE Standards Association, a globally recognized standards-setting body within IEEE, develops consensus standards through an open process that engages industry and brings together a broad stakeholder community. IEEE standards set specifications and best practices based on current scientific and technological knowledge. The IEEE-SA has a portfolio of over 900 active standards and more than 500 standards under development. For more information visit

About IEEE

IEEE, a large, global technical professional organization, is dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Learn more at

1 IEEE 802.11af™-2013 “Standard for Information Technology - Telecommunications and Information Exchange Between Systems - Local and Metropolitan Area Networks - Specific Requirements - Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications Amendment 5: TV White Spaces Operation”
2 IEEE 802.11ac™-2013 “Standard for Information technology-- Telecommunications and information exchange between systems—Local and metropolitan area networks-- Specific requirements--Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications--Amendment 4: Enhancements for Very High Throughput for Operation in Bands below 6 GHz”
3 IEEE 802.22™-2011 “Standard for Information technology-- Local and metropolitan area networks-- Specific requirements-- Part 22: Cognitive Wireless RAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) specifications: Policies and procedures for operation in the TV Bands”
4 IEEE 802.11™-2012 “Standard for Information technology--Telecommunications and information exchange between systems Local and metropolitan area networks--Specific requirements Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications”

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