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Tensions rise over LTE using Wi-Fi channels

Stephen Lawson | June 28, 2016
Qualcomm just slammed the long process of coming up with coexistence tests

But some backers of Wi-Fi, including the Alliance, have said LTE-U could make it hard for wireless LAN users to get a packet in edgewise. Fans of the new technology, including Qualcomm, say it won't add any more interference than a new Wi-Fi access point would.

The WFA held its first industry workshop on interoperability last November. There, the group joined cellular and Wi-Fi companies to talk about tests that would determine whether a new product could cause unfair interference. Qualcomm, which participated in that first meeting, forecast at the time that a test plan might be ready in February.

More recently, the WFA had estimated development would take until at least August.

This is the first effort of its kind between two different industries - Wi-Fi and LTE - so there is much that has had to be worked out, Robinson of the alliance said. Most of the remaining work will go into verifying that the test plan works reliably, he said. The tests are designed to ensure that introducing an LTE-U product amid Wi-Fi networks wouldn't be any worse than adding one more Wi-Fi acess point.

As soon as the test plan is finished and verified in September, there will be at least one approved third-party lab where vendors can take their products for testing. The process for each will take a couple of weeks or less, Robinson said.

One reason for the growing tension may be a fear that time running out for LTE-U even after big investments in it by Qualcomm and others.

Another form of unlicensed LTE, called LAA (Licensed-Assisted Access), is completed and headed toward commercial release. LAA includes more features to ensure it coexists with Wi-Fi, and it's permitted in more parts of the world than LTE-U, such as in Europe. The major makers of LTE-U technology, including Qualcomm, are also pursuing LAA.

WFA expects the tests being developed now to work with LAA too.

Source: Computerworld US 

 

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