1. What is an AFC?

AFC stands for Automated Frequency Coordination as defined in Part 15 in the US and in DBS-06 in Canada. It is a system that automatically determines and provides lists of which frequencies are available for use by standard power access points operating in the 5925–6425 MHz (U-NII-5) and 6525–6875 MHz (U-NII-7) bands in the U.S. and in the 5925-6875 MHz (UNII-5, UNII-6, and UNII-7) in Canada. The AFC is similar to the Spectrum Access System (SAS) required for the 3.5 GHz CBRS band.


  1. Why is the AFC needed?

Standard power access points and fixed client devices operating in the 6 GHZ band must access an AFC system to determine the available frequencies and the maximum permissible power in each frequency range at their geographic coordinates prior to transmitting. Standard power access points and fixed client devices may transmit only on frequencies and at power levels that an AFC system indicates as available.


  1. Who provides the AFC?

AFC services can be provided by any of the FCC-authorized AFC providers. See the FCC AFC Cert PN, DA 24-166.


  1. What’s the difference between all the types of unlicensed devices that must use the AFC?

There are two types of 6 GHz unlicensed devices that must use the AFC: Standard power access point and fixed client device:

    • Standard Power Access Point is an access point that operates in the 6 GHz bands pursuant to direction from an Automated Frequency Coordination System. A standard power access point can operate indoors or outdoors and is allowed to transmit up to 4W (36 dBm) EIRP. A standard power access point must automatically self-geolocate and send its coordinates and height to the AFC.
    • Fixed Client Device is a client device intended as customer premise equipment. A fixed client device is allowed to transmit up to 4W (36 dBm), must be permanently attached to a structure, operate only on channels provided by an AFC, has an automated geolocation capability, and complies with antenna pointing angle requirements such that the maximum EIRP at any elevation angle above 30 degrees as measured from the horizon must not exceed 125 mW (21 dBm). A fixed client device must automatically geolocate and send its coordinates and height to the AFC.
  1. Do all unlicensed devices need the AFC in order to operate?

No, only the Standard Power Access Point and the Fixed Client Devices must access the AFC. Low Power Indoor (LPI) and Very Low Power (VLP) devices can use the 6 GHz band without accessing an AFC system.


  1. How does the AFC work?

Standard power access points and fixed client devices must first register with an FCC-authorized AFC. These devices must then automatically geolocate and send their location to the AFC along with other additional parameters. The AFC uses this information, along with information in the FCC’s licensing systems, to determine potential operating frequencies or channels and maximum permissible transmit powers that will not cause harmful interference into incumbent microwave receivers. These devices must operate only the frequencies or channels and at or below the maximum powers provided by the AFC. In addition, devices must contact the AFC daily to obtain updated information on available frequencies or channels and maximum transmit powers.


Detailed requirements and other baseline standards for AFC operation can be found here:


  1. Can I change AFC providers? Can I have more than a single AFC provider at a time?

There are no regulatory restrictions on changing AFC providers or using more than one AFC provider at a time. However, frequently changing or using multiple AFC providers may cause complications in the operation of devices.


  1. What geolocation methods are allowed? Is GPS mandatory?

Standard power access points and a fixed client devices must include either an internal geolocation capability or an integrated capability to securely connect to an external geolocation devices or service, to automatically determine the standard power access point's geographic coordinates and location uncertainty. The standard power access point and fixed client device must report these coordinates and location uncertainty to an AFC system at the time of activation from a power-off condition. GPS as a location methodology is not required, but may be used in situations where GPS may be preferred such as for fixed client devices. An external geolocation source may be connected to a standard power access point or fixed client device through either a wired or a wireless connection. A single geolocation source may provide location information to multiple standard power access points or fixed client devices.


  1. Where is the FCC in all this?

The FCC created the rules for operation of devices and AFC systems and must certify both AFC systems and devices before either is allowed to operate or perform services in the 6 GHz bands. For devices, the FCC has taken the additional step of certifying device geolocation methodologies. Incumbents who suspect harmful interference caused by these devices may either report the interference on a portal or contact the FCC’s enforcement bureau (see Question 11 below). The FCC will monitor the deployment and operation of these devices and may address additional rules or oversight as needed.


  1. Will the AFC ensure against interference into incumbent licensees?

The AFC will provide suggested operating frequencies or channels and maximum transmit powers consistent with regulatory and technical considerations as established.


  1. What happens if an incumbent licensee experiences interference?

AFC administrators are working on an interference reporting portal (the link will be provided as soon as the portal is active ) that will allow licensees to report interference. In addition, they can contact the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. The portal should be active by April 23, 2024.


  1. Is AFC meant for use in the U.S. and Canada only?

No. Other countries considering AFC include Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Costa Rica, Colombia and Europe (CEPT Region).