LTE-U deployments have hit another stumbling block, and Qualcomm isn’t happy about it.
The Wi-Fi Alliance is reportedly pushing back the roll out date for its LTE-U/Wi-Fi coexistence testing plan by about a month, with a new release date scheduled for an unspecified date in September. The Wi-Fi Alliance said Tuesday it has made “significant progress” on the plan but noted it is leading a “multi-industry effort, which has never before been attempted.”
The news comes despite confirmation earlier this month from Wi-Fi Alliance Vice President of Marketing Kevin Robinson that the group was on track to deliver the plan sometime in August.
“Wi-Fi Alliance is committed to delivering an industry-validated Coexistence Test Plan that ensures fair coexistence as quickly as possible,” the group said in a statement Tuesday. “Delivering coexistence for two different industries is no easy feat. Technical challenges exist and work is time consuming. Even with the contributions of many stakeholder companies, the magnitude of the validation effort is expected to push the release of the final test plan into September. Wi-Fi Alliance is exploring every possible option to accelerate the work while still ensuring the test objectives are met.”
The delay prompted a sharp response from Qualcomm, which has been pushing hard for the finalization of the standards so it can move forward with LTE-U deployments. Qualcomm is currently field testing its LTE-U technology with Verizon and T-Mobile. Both carriers have expressed a desire to deploy LTE-U on their networks this year.
“Qualcomm is disappointed with the continued delays in finalizing a LTE-U/Wi-Fi test plan with the Wi-Fi Alliance, as well as with the substance presented by the WFA staff at last week’s WFA workshop, which lacked technical merit and was a sharp departure from Wi-Fi Alliance staff past presentations and views and from the view of any other standards body or regulator around the world,” Qualcomm’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Dean Brenner said in a statement.
According to Brenner, Wi-Fi Alliance’s workshop presentation failed to gain the support of the companies in attendance. Further, he said, the views expressed in the latest presentation were “contradicted by field measurements submitted by major Wi-Fi vendors.”
Brenner said Qualcomm has already submitted its LTE-U prototype equipment to the Wi-Fi Alliance lab for testing, and successfully validated the technology using the current test plan. Further tweaks to the plan, he said, are unnecessary.
“This whole process has gone on for more than a year, and no new technology for unlicensed spectrum, which is supposed to be available for permission-less innovation, has gone through vetting this long or this extensive,” Brenner continued. “We believe that it is time to end the validation process, and deem the original test plan final so that the public can experience as soon as possible the improved services that LTE-U will provide.”
The Wi-Fi Alliance test plan is critical for LTE-U deployments since the FCC has not yet proposed or passed rules to govern the new technology. Instead, the FCC has encouraged the industry – under the Wi-Fi Alliance’s lead – to collaborate on a test plan that will answer the question of whether new LTE-U technologies can coexist with Wi-Fi fairly. There is currently no other industry-agreed test plan available.
Though the Wi-Fi Alliance’s release of the test plan has been slowed, Robinson’s earlier comments indicated the testing itself will be conducted rather quickly.
According to Robinson, testing will begin immediately in certified third party labs once the plan is released. Robinson said the Wi-Fi Alliance will qualify at least one lab to run the testing from the start, but noted other labs may be qualified as well.
Robinson also said the test process will be fairly swift, measuring on the scale of days rather than weeks or months.
“When the test plan is delivered, that also is the first day vendors can start sending their equipment into a third party neutral lab for testing,” Robinson said earlier this month. “There isn’t a long roll out period.”
Filed Under: Infrastructure