When do I need Ofcom Licensing for 60GHz EHF

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When do I need Ofcom Licensing for 60GHz EHF

Image showing a telecoms mast asking if a 60Ghz access point needs a ofcom license

Ofcom authorises and manages the use of the radio spectrum in the UK, keeping the airwaves clear of interference and unlicensed devices. For some radio bands, this means the end-user has to purchase a licence if their devices transmit within that frequency.

There is no need to worry about licencing if you are operating devices in the 2.4GHz frequency or 5GHz frequency, these bands are free to use and there’s no need to buy a licence.

For our outdoor point-to-point solutions that use the 60GHz frequency, you may have to purchase a licence, depending on the EIRP and how powerful the antenna transmit power is.

The majority of 60GHz devices sold by Mear Technology Ltd have an EIRP between 40-55dBm, and require an EHF Licence to operate. Unlike “Lite Licences”, a single EHF licence covers unlimited installations within the selected frequency range (in this case, 57-71GHz).

What is this licence called?

This licence is the Spectrum Access: EHF licence and pertains to 32GHz of radio spectrum across four bands:

  • 57-71 GHz
  • 116-122 GHz
  • 174.8-182 GHz
  • 185-190 GHz

When applying, you select your preferred band. You may not operate in any of the other available bands unless you obtain separate licences for them.

Which devices need a licence?

Any outdoor devices with an output power (called EIRP) between 40dBm and 55dBm, or with antennas with a 27dBm maximum transmit output, must have a licence from Ofcom.

Devices that are installed and operated indoors or with low-power antennas do not need to be licensed.

Where can I find these dBm specifications?

The transmit output dBm can usually be found in the product specifications. For the EIRP, you will need to do a quick calculation: simply add together the transmission output dBm and the gain (and if the product has an external antenna, subtract the cable loss to get your final result. Alternatively, here is an online EIRP calculator.

Calculation Example
EIRP = Transmission output dBm + Gain

If a transmitter has an input power level of 12 dBm and is connected to an antenna with a 10 dBi gain using a cable with a 4 dB loss, then the EIRP of the system is 18 dBm.

EIRP = Tx Power + Tx Antenna – Tx Cable

EIRP = 12 dBm + 10 dBi – 4 dB

EIRP = 18 dDm

Where does this licence cover?

Across the whole UK, including the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, and UK territorial seas, are covered by the licence. The licence will permit you to operate any number of devices in your selected band, anywhere in the UK.

How much does the licence cost

The fee for this licence is £75 payable every 5 years, and includes unlimited devices and locations, so no extra fee is required if you want to install additional devices once you have your licence.
(correct at the time of publishing see Ofcom for current costs)

The license is the requirement of the client where the equipment is installed and not the installer. Renewal is also the responsibility of the client.

Where can I find out more information?

For more details about licence fees, the application process and licence terms and conditions, please visit Ofcom’s own website here.

A statement on Ofcom’s decision for a licence-exempt approach for Fixed Wireless Systems in the 60 GHz Band https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/40516/statement.pdf

For in-depth details, see Ofcom’s Licensing guidance document here.

For information about licence exemptions for short-range devices, see Ofcom’s guide here.

For information on Ofcom approach and enforcement see the Ofcom website here

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