Yesterday’s WFA LTE-U Coexistence Test Workshop was a tremendous missed opportunity. Over the past year, the Wi-Fi community and EVOLVE members have collaborated to forge consensus and develop a coexistence test plan for LTE-U and Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi Alliance has buckled under political pressure from the cable lobby and proposed a one-sided plan that is fundamentally unfair to new technologies. We strongly believe that technologies operating in unlicensed bands need to coexist with one another. But the plan put forward yesterday is manifestly biased and not based on sound engineering. The cable industry claims that the draft plan is based on a consensus and is a compromise. It is neither. In fact, it wholly ignores technical data submitted by the Wi-Fi community and rejects out of hand a compromise proposal by the LTE-U community made just last week. After dragging their feet through months of needless delay, yesterday’s workshop continues a troubling pattern by the Wi-Fi Alliance and the cable lobby of choosing self-interests over consumers’ interests. And their efforts to block innovation and new technologies risk finding common ground on vitally important areas of spectrum sharing. These actions extend far beyond LTE-U and jeopardize progress in the 5.9 and 5.3-5.4 GHz bands, as well as the development of new technologies for 5G, Citizen Broadband Radio, and the 802.11 ax standard itself. While yesterday’s workshop is yet another roadblock for tomorrow’s technologies, EVOLVE and its members remain committed to providing consumers with new and innovative mobile broadband solutions today and well into the future.
Written by Shawn Chang, EVOLVE Coalition Spokesperson
Today marks the first ever World Wi-Fi Day. This new initiative is a day for governments, industry, and the public to come together to advance and accelerate affordable connectivity for the unconnected around the world.
But did you know that unlicensed spectrum is the driving force behind Wi-Fi? From Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to wearables and smart devices, wireless products that run on unlicensed spectrum make our lives easier every single day.
The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to apply a hands-off regulatory approach to unlicensed spectrum policy over the past three decades is what makes a celebration like today possible. By making unlicensed spectrum available for everyone – using any technology – while lowing barriers to entry, innovators everywhere can all take part in World Wi-Fi Day and continue to research, experiment, and create under the unlicensed platform.
The role of unlicensed spectrum in wireless innovation is also why EVOLVE’s members are committed to preserving and expanding this successful open platform so that new technologies in unlicensed spectrum, like LTE unlicensed, can develop and bring even more benefits to mobile consumers everywhere.
Advocates for LTE unlicensed are advocates for Wi-Fi too. EVOLVE’s members firmly believe that successful co-existence is the golden rule for unlicensed technologies. As such, LTE unlicensed was carefully designed to ensure co-existence, and testing has even shown it has the ability to make Wi-Fi more efficient. To alleviate any remaining concerns, our members are actively engaged with the Wi-Fi community to conduct joint testing, and we expect a workable co-existence test plan that will showcase just that in August.
Simply put, we are unequivocal in our stance that technologies operating in unlicensed bands need to co-exist with and work cooperatively with Wi-Fi – and vice versa. Our members support Wi-Fi and are working hard to make it even better. But we also want consumers to have new choices for products and services to ensure the best possible mobile experience.
So as we celebrate Wi-Fi today, let’s remember that unfettered access to and innovation in unlicensed spectrum is what brought us Wi-Fi and is what will drive many more exciting new technologies to celebrate in the future.
Despite some of the rhetoric at tonight’s event, the facts haven’t changed. New technologies in unlicensed spectrum like LTE Unlicensed will not crowd out or degrade Wi-Fi in New York City or anywhere for that matter. Multiple tests have shown that LTE-U can share the unlicensed platform with Wi-Fi and other unlicensed technologies. In fact, LTE Unlicensed actually improves Wi-Fi performance as it works better alongside Wi-Fi than Wi-Fi does with itself. LTE Unlicensed also means a new choice for consumers. As a new competitive technological platform to Wi-Fi, LTE Unlicensed will bring higher-quality, more secure and faster mobile broadband solutions.
EVOLVE members are actively engaged with the Wi-Fi community to conduct joint co-existence testing to further alleviate any remaining concerns. We are unequivocal in our stance that technologies operating in unlicensed bands need to co-exist with and work cooperatively with Wi-Fi and vice versa. Successful co-existence is the golden rule for unlicensed technologies and the wireless industry is well-positioned and motivated to ensure successful co-existence.