Wi-Fi backers warn about unlicensed LTE while Ericsson claims speed boost

The Wi-Fi Alliance plans collaboration to make sure Wi-Fi users don't get squeezed out

The Wi-Fi Alliance warned that LTE on unlicensed frequencies could interfere with Wi-Fi and said it plans to collaborate with the 3GPP cellular standards group to help prevent that.

Mobile operators are starting to explore the use of the unlicensed 5GHz band for LTE even though many Wi-Fi networks rely on those frequencies. On Tuesday, Ericsson announced it's testing unlicensed LTE with Qualcomm and that SK Telecom, T-Mobile USA and Verizon are interested in the technology.

Most countries set aside large portions of the 5GHz band for use without a license, and Wi-Fi has become a major user of that spectrum. Mobile operators are allowed to use the band even though they have their own licensed frequencies, but LTE wasn't developed to coexist with other networks in that kind of environment.

The 3GPP is developing protections for other users of the spectrum under the banner of LAA, or License-Assisted Access. However, LAA is part of an update to the LTE standard that's not due to be finished until the end of this year. That worries the Wi-Fi Alliance.

"There is a risk that LAA, and especially pre-standard systems deployed ahead of coexistence work being done in the industry, will negatively impact billions of Wi-Fi users who rely on 5GHz today for networking and device connectivity," the Alliance said in a statement on Monday.

The Wi-Fi and LTE industries have to work together on a fair way to share the band, the Alliance said. It plans to collaborate with the 3GPP and with anyone planning a pre-standard deployment to help make sure Wi-Fi users aren't hurt.

Meanwhile, Ericsson said it's running live tests of LAA in its labs in conjunction with Qualcomm, which demonstrated the technology last month at International CES. The tests at Ericsson Labs in Sweden and Canada showed LTE networks getting a speed boost of as much as 450Mbps (bits per second) by combining licensed and unlicensed frequencies, Ericsson said. That was achieved with commonly used amounts of spectrum: 20MHz in a licensed band and 40MHz in unlicensed.

The technology they tested also enables fair sharing of spectrum between LTE and Wi-Fi, Ericsson said.

In a press release, three major mobile carriers voiced varying degrees of interest in the Ericsson-Qualcomm tests. South Korean SK Telecom said it achieved the trial with Ericsson and Qualcomm and would continue to work with them on advanced technologies. T-Mobile, which has said it plans a trial deployment later this year, and Verizon also called the tests encouraging.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags EricssontelecommunicationNetworkingSK TelecomwirelessWi-Fi AlliancequalcommWLANs / Wi-FiT-Mobile USAVerizon Wireless4g

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?