LTE-U Is Nicer to WiFi Than WiFi – Qualcomm

The statement continues: "The current LTE-U specification does not require products to include adequate fair sharing etiquette protocols. The extent to which LTE-U shares spectrum with other technologies can vary widely from one vendor to the next, as was discussed at an LTE-U Forum workshop in May.  Furthermore, there is already a growing amount of research, such as that published by Google and CableLabs (here and here) indicating that Wi-Fi networks will be negatively impacted by the current version of LTE-U technology. The risk to users who depend on Wi-Fi every day for their connectivity needs is too great."

Strong defense
In Wednesday's press briefing, Qualcomm executives mounted a strong defense of LTE-U, backed up by Verizon executives who flew in for the occasion.

In addition to its technical merits, LTE-U adheres to the spirit of why the FCC set aside unlicensed spectrum, said Dean Brenner, Qualcomm senior vice president of government affairs.

"The watchword for unlicensed spectrum is permission-less innovation," Brenner said. "The whole point is you don't have to go to a government regulator and ask to be able to use it."

He added, "The FCC is doing its job. They're asking questions. They're finding out about the technology. We have no problem with that. What we're doing here is 100% in keeping with the FCC's model."

Qualcomm has a vested interest in ensuring LTE-U and WiFi work together well, Brenner noted. It has its own WiFi business it needs to protect. "Every year there are hundreds of millions of WiFi chips sold around the world with our WiFi solution in them," he said. "The absolute last thing Qualcomm will do is anything that will impair or make an adverse future for WiFi. There is a long, bright future ahead for WiFi."

Hungry users
Users are hungry to exceed the existing limits of WiFi, Brenner said. These users include stadium owners whose customers have difficulty getting sufficient wireless access, and colleges where students are facing online traffic jams on campus.

Qualcomm supports three different flavors of LTE-U: One version targets mobile deployments in the US, Korea, India and other areas. The second option, with Licensed Assistance Access (LAA), targets Europe, Japan and beyond.

Both of those options require "anchoring licensed spectrum" -- meaning they operate initially in licensed spectrum and then move on to unlicensed for an additional bandwidth boost.

A third option developed by Qualcomm, MuLTEfire, requires no licensed spectrum; it's designed for indoor use and deployments by enterprises, cable companies and other service providers without ownership of expensive bandwidth licenses. (See Qualcomm Aims MuLTEfire at Unlicensed Bands.)

Qualcomm anticipates LTE-U, LAA, MuLTEfire and WiFi will all coexist, sharing bandwidth for a long time. Together, they'll help service providers achieve 1,000 times the bandwidth available today, to meet the demands of video and other emerging technologies, said Rasmus Hellberg, Qualcomm senior director of technical marketing.

Exceeding regulatory requirements
Qualcomm executives also argued that LTE-U provides double the capacity and range of WiFi, and common management with conventional LTE.

Engineers have worked to exceed regulatory requirements for LTE-U. "From our perspective as design engineers, the regulation is the absolute minimum. No regulation is sufficient to ensure WiFi and LTE-U coexist well together," Mingxi Fan, Qualcomm VP of engineering and corporate R&D, said.

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MikeP688 11/29/2015 | 4:05:09 AM
Couldn't Help But Wonder.... ..what would Qualcomm's answer be to "Li Fi" that was commented on here with it emerging as an interesting (although as I see it not a necessarily viable) alternative to Wi-Fi.    

Fascinating times..no question...

sherifhanna 9/10/2015 | 5:27:28 PM
Re: the great LTE-U debate And not just Qualcomm results - independent testing backs up the claim that LTE-U has no more of an impact on Wi-Fi than Wi-Fi does (and many times, less impact).


Here's the new test resutls:

kq4ym 9/10/2015 | 5:18:48 PM
Re: the great LTE-U debate Is it a bit unusual for such an objection in the unlicensed spectrum? Or just a big stalling move by the wifi folks? Even with two sides to the issues it does appear there's no real concern for interference, or is Qualcomm overly optimistic? 
sherifhanna 9/1/2015 | 6:06:39 PM
Re: the great LTE-U debate You can see the test results in this Qualcomm FCC filing:


The hardcore data starts on page 27. 
CraigPlunkett 9/1/2015 | 10:07:42 AM
Re: the great LTE-U debate Can anyone provide a Qualcomm link for the test setup of the first point in the article?
  • LTE-U has already been extensively tested, and not only does it not interfere with WiFi, WiFi performance actually improves slightly in some cases if you replace a single WiFi access point with LTE-U on a wireless network containing multiple access points.

It would be interesting to see the configuration of this test Wi-Fi network and how coexistence will impact the design of WiFi APs and networks going forward.
Sarah Thomas 8/31/2015 | 4:54:02 PM
Re: the great LTE-U debate I tend to agree there. They don't believe Qualcomm and friends no matter how many lab trials, demos and deployments in which they show it working well with WiFi. It'll take real-world deployments to prove it, but I doubt they'll be happy then. I'm sure it comes down more to money and business relationships than technology in the end.
Mitch Wagner 8/31/2015 | 10:48:32 AM
Re: the great LTE-U debate Sarah - My knowledge of this subject is incredibly one-sided. But it does seem to me that the WiFi side of this doesn't really have a case, and is trying to use the FCC to delay competition. 
Joe Stanganelli 8/30/2015 | 11:28:52 PM
Re: the great LTE-U debate Indeed, the Alliance's argument is a bit like saying, "Millions of Americans are Bell customers so it is of critical importance for regulators to be satisfied that new telephone companies will coexist fairly before approving their existence."
Sarah Thomas 8/28/2015 | 10:28:12 AM
the great LTE-U debate I've never seen a debate as contentious -- and beginning to be circuituitous -- as this one in our industry. WiFi-first MVNOs like Republic Wireless are speaking out now too. I would think they would be the most effected, since they rely so heavily on WiFi. But, otherwise, I don't really see the wireless operators' objection at this point -- it's been shown not to interfere with WiFi (whether they believe it or not), so what are they worried about -- just new competition?
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