The Wi-Fi Alliance said this week it has accelerated work on its LTE-U test plan due for release in September, but the latest version of the standards unveiled Wednesday provoked outrage from telecommunications equipment company Qualcomm.
In a statement issued Thursday, the Wi-Fi Alliance said it was able to close a number of items on its standards list and was set to conclude the validation phase of its work next week. The group said a Beta phase will follow and release of the final plan is set for September 21.
But while the Wi-Fi Alliance named Qualcomm as one of the companies that was “instrumental in closing foundational work items,” Qualcomm itself seemed less than happy with the progress. Qualcomm Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Dean Brenner in a statement called the most recent version of the plan “unacceptable.”
“The latest version of the test plan released by the Wi-Fi Alliance lacks technical merit, is fundamentally biased against LTE-U, and rejects virtually all the input that Qualcomm provided for the last year, even on points that were not controversial,” Brenner said. “We believe that the FCC should disregard this latest version of the plan, particularly because the watchword for unlicensed spectrum is supposed to be permission-less innovation, not incumbent protection.”
According to Qualcomm, the new version of 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.”
Qualcomm argued the plan’s latest iteration is not based on “any real, commercial Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi baseline,” but instead assumes all Wi-Fi access points are made by the same vendor using the same chipset and software version in identical link conditions. Such an assumption, Qualcomm said, flies in the face of data it collected during the validation process with the Wi-Fi Alliance staff. Qualcomm said that data, which it presented at Wednesday’s Wi-Fi Alliance workshop, “shows that Wi-Fi access points, including some of the most popular Wi-Fi access points on the market today, do not share spectrum fairly with one another.”
Wi-Fi groups don’t appear entirely pleased either, insisting the compromise has gone both ways.
Earlier this week, WiFiForward issued a statement saying “neither side received its preferred outcome” and said half of all Wi-Fi hotspots would not be covered by the test.
That assertion was seconded on Wednesday by Open Technology Institute Director Michael Calabrese, who said it was “alarming to hear that compromises on the test plan within this industry group could leave 50% of Wi-Fi connections at risk of disruption from LTE-U.” Calabrese also said it was “unfortunate” that cellular industry players were “threatening to pull back from Wi-Fi coexistence testing they initially proposed and supported.”
Though the FCC has hitherto encouraged the Wi-Fi and cellular interests to work things out amongst themselves, both sides now seem to be turning to the FCC for guidance.
In a recent filing, T-Mobile called on the FCC to move forward with LTE-U certifications whether or not the Wi-Fi Alliance issues the test plan in September.
Similarly, Calabrese on Wednesday asked the FCC to play referee, calling on the commission to “ensure that all implementations of unlicensed LTE devices pass the entire test and coexist fairly with Wi-Fi.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations