Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Broadcom this week endorsed the Wi-Fi Alliance’s latest LTE-U test plan, adding their voices to a tug-of-war debate over the fairness of the standards.
In a filing with the FCC, the companies said they were “encouraged” by the Wi-Fi Alliance’s progress on the plan. Though they acknowledged the currently plan is “not perfect,” the companies endorsed it and called it a “pragmatic and significant compromise between competing viewpoints.”
The companies urged the Wi-Fi Alliance to “resist continued attempts to change the test plan in a manner which would undermine the longstanding agreement between the cellular and Wi-Fi industries that an unlicensed LTE base station should cause no more impact to existing Wi-Fi networks than adding another Wi-Fi network.”
The comments comes in the context of opposition from companies including Verizon and Qualcomm, which have both vocally opposed the most recent iteration of the standards. T-Mobile also chimed in to ask the FCC to move forward with LTE-U equipment certifications whether or not the final plan is released on schedule next month.
By contrast, Comcast has previously come out in favor of the plan, calling it an “extraordinary compromise.”
After a Wi-Fi Alliance work session earlier this month, Qualcomm blasted the test plan as “fundamentally biased” and lacking in “technical merit.” Verizon seconded Qualcomm’s concerns in a filing that said the plan proposes an “unrealistic and inaccurate Wi-Fi interference baseline.”
According to Qualcomm, the plan would “require LTE-U to protect Wi-Fi 100 times more than Wi-Fi would protect LTE-U in all environments under criteria that ignore data submitted to the Wi-Fi Alliance, including data from Wi-Fi vendors.”
However, Microsoft, HPE and Broadcom in their letter argued there are already concerns around the test signal levels used by the current plan. Many consumer devices with Wi-Fi capabilities, they said, are located in cabinets or otherwise stowed away, making the Wi-Fi signal “much weaker” than it would otherwise be if the device were in the center of the room and by extension much weaker than the plan accounts for. That means the test plan already will allow “hundreds of millions of Wi-Fi devices” to be “ignored by LTE-U equipment while it is calculating how to share fairly.”
“Continued pressure to exclude lower signal level testing would undermine the validity of the testing process and may be an indication that LTE-U Forum members are having difficulty fulfilling their promise of fairness in a number of real-world scenarios using the methods they have chosen, and now seek to only protect high-end Wi-Fi devices used in enterprise deployments,” the companies wrote.
The companies noted they have “serious reservations” about the ability of LTE-U technologies to coexist fairly with Wi-Fi deployments in real world scenarios, but said they “believe that the WFA Coexistence Test Plan process has been fact-based, conducted professionally, and that WFA is the right organization to do this work.”
The Wi-Fi Alliance’s LTE-U test plan is scheduled to be released at the end of September.
Filed Under: Telecommunications (Spectrum)