FCC Approves First-in-World Plan to Dedicate Spectrum to Networked Medical Devices

Posted 24 May 2012 | By

In an expected move, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a plan to dedicate a new band of shared spectrum to an emerging class of medical devices known as Medical Body Area Networks (MBANS).

MBANS are effectively networks composed of multiple wireless medical devices capable of communicating with one another.

FCC had been publicly touting its intent to dedicate the 2360-2400 MHz spectrum band to the emerging MBAN device class since at least April 2012. That intent was transcribed into action on Thursday, 24 May when FCC voted to adopt rules to enable the release of spectrum specifically for the devices.

The 40 MHz of spectrum will expand upon an existing program known as the Medical Device Radiocommunication, or MedRadio, Service. Users of the spectrum will not be required to apply for license to use the spectrum, which FCC said it hopes will "lead to the rapid and widespread development of innovative new MBAN applications." However, those wishing to use the spectrum will be required to register with a to-be-formed MBAN coordinator, as well as coordinate the networks "if warranted" by location, said FCC.

The allure of the devices comes down to a combination of safety concerns and the ability to do more with less.

"Each year, millions of Americans deal with the discomfort and risk of infection that result from the attachment to medical equipment cables, and the limitations of these physical cables keep nearly half of all patients from being actively monitored," explained FCC in a statement. "MBANs allow for ubiquitous and reliable monitoring, and give health care providers the chance to identify life-threatening problems or events before they occur. "

Read more:

FCC Announcement on MBAN Spectrum

Background: FCC Pushing to Release New Spectrum for Medical Devices

Background: FCC Unveils Plan to Release New Spectrum for Wireless Medical Devices


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