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Unlicensed spectrum

refers to radio frequency bands in which technical rules are specified for both the hardware and deployment of radio systems that are open for shared use by an unlimited number of compliant users. The term 'unlicensed spectrum' is interpreted to include frequency bands in which the FCC allows sharing with licensed services as well as proposals for possible future unlicensed frequency allocations. Any person or entity may use unlicensed spectrum for either private or public purposes so long as the user's equipment is certified by the FCC and operated in conformity with Part 15 of the Commission's rules. In contrast with most licensed spectrum use, unlicensed spectrum users enjoy no regulatory protection against interference from other licensed or unlicensed users in the band. Although FCC device certification rules and standardized protocols (such as the Wi­Fi Alliance's 802.11 family of protocols) help to mitigate interference, users must accept any interference caused by all compliant devices in the band.[1]
[is] not sold to the highest bidder and used for the services provided by the license-holder but is instead accessible to anyone using wireless equipment certified by the FCC for those frequencies.[2]


Both commercial and non-commercial entities use unlicensed spectrum to meet a wide variety of monitoring and communications needs. Suppliers of wireless devices must meet requirements for certification to operate on frequency bands designated for unlicensed use.

Examples of unlicensed use include garage door openers and WiFi communications.