Menu
US carriers will look to LTE-U tests to protect Wi-Fi

US carriers will look to LTE-U tests to protect Wi-Fi

Verizon and T-Mobile expect to deploy LTE-U gear that has passed a Wi-Fi Alliance test suite

The biggest U.S. carriers planning to deploy controversial LTE-Unlicensed technology expect to use gear that’s been tested for coexistence with Wi-Fi, their executives said Wednesday.

Speakers from Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA said they expect all the LTE-U devices they use to be vetted through a test plan created by the Wi-Fi Alliance. They also anticipate that gear based on a related technology, LAA (Licensed Assisted Access), will be certified through tests for that system.

That’s good news for anyone worried about LTE networks using some of the same frequencies that carry Wi-Fi traffic. The WFA test plan, despite being developed with input from those carriers and other LTE-U backers, was harshly criticized before its completion last week. Backers of LTE-U, including Verizon and Qualcomm, have demonstrated their own coexistence tests. When it released the plan, WFA warned that anything but the full test suite would be inadequate to ensure that LTE-U devices would be fair to Wi-Fi.

LTE-U promises to boost LTE performance in some areas, but some Wi-Fi providers and users are worried their experience might suffer. The WFA tests, which will be conducted by an independent lab, are designed to gauge whether an LTE-U device turned on near a Wi-Fi network would cause more interference than adding another Wi-Fi network.

The carriers, along with mobile technology giant Qualcomm and others, have criticized WFA’s test development process as too slow and unfair to LTE-U. At a panel discussion on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., conflict was never far from the surface, but executives for the two carriers voiced support for the test plan.

"I think Wi-Fi Alliance did a good job of coming up with a product here," said Steve Sharkey, T-Mobile’s vice president for engineering and technology policy.

Verizon is still reviewing the test plan, said Patrick Welsh, assistant vice president for regulatory affairs, but it expects that any gear it deploys will have passed. Verizon still expects to introduce LTE-U this year and LAA next year, he said.

The panel brought together voices from both sides of the debate, including Wi-Fi chip giant Broadcom and Comcast, which competes with carriers and has a vast Wi-Fi network to give its customers mobile access. David Don, Comcast’s vice president for regulatory policy, said the carriers were out of bounds when they developed LTE-U because they didn’t do it transparently. "Hopefully, we’ve moved beyond some of these practices," he said.

The Federal Communications Commission held off on approving LTE-U products until the industry could come up with its own solution. That "light touch" may be a model for how regulators will handle a growing number of unlicensed spectrum issues, said Harold Feld, senior vice president of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge.

"It’s a very crowded world, and we are adjusting our expectations for how these things are going to work together," Feld said.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments