As discussed in a previous article, usage rules for the 5GHz spectrum band are far more inconsistent around the world than they are for the 2.4GHz band. So you might need to be careful when deploying Wi-Fi networks internationally in that band.

The home of the 54 Mbbi/s 802.11a Wi-Fi network is 5 GHz. In addition, forthcoming 100 Mbit/s 802.11n networks are likely to require the use of some 5GHz channels.

Check your locality
If your vendor sells 802.11a (and, down the road, 802.11n) access points with SKU numbers that correspond to the geography where the product is shipped for use, you can breathe pretty easily. Ostensibly, you shouldn't have to do anything special to make that product compliant with local regulations.

However, if you are buying from a vendor where a single, one-size-fits-all SKU is shipped to you for local configuration and subsequent shipment to each country yourself, make sure to be diligent. Simply shipping a product into a country that is configured to use unauthorised bands (accidentally or not) can have legal ramifications. Many countries are more stringent in their enforcement of these rules than the United States.

As a partial cheat-sheet, here is some information that might be useful to know about 5 GHz spectra around the world:

Don't ship here
The following countries don't allow Wi-Fi networking at all in the 5-GHz band:

  • Israel,
  • Kuwait,
  • Lebanon,
  • Morocco,
  • Thailand,
  • Romania,
  • Russia and
  • the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

So don't ship any access points to your sites in these regions.

Ship with care
The following countries allow limited 5 GHz networking (in the top, 5.725 GHz to 5.825/5.850 GHz, band only):

  • Ecuador,
  • Peru,
  • Uruguay,
  • Venezuela.

Make sure any devices you ship there are tuned to work only in these bands. You'll get the use of four or five channels, depending on country.

As another tool, Cisco has a handy little chart on its Web site that helps you determine which of its Wi-Fi products are approved for use in the various countries.