As promised, Wi-Fi Alliance releases LTE-U coexistence test plan

After months of debate and more than a little controversy, the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) is making its Wi-Fi/LTE-U coexistence test plan available for industry stakeholders as they aim to introduce LTE in unlicensed spectrum.

The draft plan came under fire by the likes of Qualcomm and Verizon, which said it was biased and unfair against LTE, but the WFA insists the plan marks the successful culmination of several months of collaboration involving dozens of companies, from both the Wi-Fi and LTE-U communities, including Qualcomm.

“The test plan will help ensure LTE-U devices can demonstrate they share unlicensed spectrum fairly and will serve as a valuable tool for vendors and service providers seeking to improve how their deployments coexist with Wi-Fi networks,” the WFA said in a press release. “The Coexistence Test Plan is the only available mechanism that includes a comprehensive set of test scenarios agreed upon by industry as adequate to determine proper sharing, and Wi-Fi Alliance encourages all LTE-U vendors and operators to use the test plan to ensure their LTE-U devices and network deployments coexist fairly with Wi-Fi.”

“Delivering a cross-industry coexistence testing solution was an unprecedented and difficult task, and the outcome will help ensure the billions of people who rely on Wi-Fi every day will continue to benefit from the same great user experience they have enjoyed for more than 15 years,” Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance, said in the release. “Wi-Fi connectivity underpins our daily lives, and Wi-Fi Alliance has an obligation to represent the needs of Wi-Fi users worldwide.”

The Wi-Fi Alliance said it is not seeking any regulatory mandates for coexistence. In developing the test plan, LTE-U vendors agreed to use the full Coexistence Test Plan to demonstrate that LTE-U products share spectrum fairly. The alliance expects that LTE-U vendors will test every LTE-U device against the entire Coexistence Test Plan. To that end, Wi-Fi Alliance is qualifying an independent test laboratory so coexistence testing can begin immediately.

The delivery of the test plan comes after some members of the LTE community publicly expressed doubt that the plan would actually be ready in September, citing earlier deadline misses. Supporters of the alliance pointed out, however, that the only real missed date was moving completion of the plan from August to September.

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