Verizon: Wi-Fi Alliance’s LTE-U test plan ‘fundamentally unfair and biased’

Verizon added its voice to the chorus of LTE-U technology proponents that are not pleased with the Wi-Fi Alliance’s efforts to create a plan to test possible interference between LTE-U and Wi-Fi.

Earlier this month, representatives from Comcast and CableLabs met with FCC engineering staff to discuss that very plan, saying that the Wi-Fi Alliance test plan is “an extraordinary compromise on the part of Wi-Fi proponents” because it would mean that the test plan leaves half of all outdoor Wi-Fi connections vulnerable to LTE-U degradation. A few days later, WifiForward, a coalition that includes Comcast, Broadcom, Boingo Wireless and others, issued a statement this week applauding the Wi-Fi Alliance’s efforts.

However, Verizon in a new FCC filing said it does not agree.

“We explained that the current draft plan is not an ‘extraordinary compromise,’ as some have recently suggested. In fact, the current plan is fundamentally unfair and biased,” Verizon said in its FCC filing. “First, the plan includes an in-device coexistence test that has nothing to do with spectrum sharing. Second, it proposes an unrealistic and inaccurate Wi-Fi interference baseline not based on a single vendor rather than on multiple vendors. Finally, it proposes a -82 dBm energy detection threshold based on uncalibrated RSSI measurements, which is not based on sound engineering practices.”

Verizon’s statements are noteworthy because the carrier in 2014 formed the LTE-U Forum with Alcatel-Lucent (now Nokia), Ericsson and Qualcomm with the goal of deploying LTE connections in the unlicensed spectrum that Wi-Fi uses. However, Verizon’s efforts have been challenged by Comcast and other Wi-Fi proponents; the Wi-Fi Alliance is currently working on a test plan to see whether LTE-U technology will interfere with existing Wi-Fi users in unlicensed spectrum.

Verizon isn’t the only company from the cellular industry to voice dissatisfaction with the Wi-Fi Alliance’s efforts. “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,” said Dean Brenner, senior vice president of government affairs at Qualcomm, in a recent statement.

And Evolve, a coalition of mobile and technology companies and associations working to promote new technologies like LTE-U and LAA, said the Wi-Fi Alliance’s most recent LTE-U Coexistence Test Workshop was a “tremendous missed opportunity.” The group, which represents AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and others, said the Wi-Fi Alliance has “buckled under political pressure of the cable lobby” in its mission to create a suitable Wi-Fi coexistence test plan with LTE-U.

For its part, in comments earlier this month, the Wi-Fi Alliance maintains that its forthcoming test plan, which it expects to deliver in September, will meet the objectives that were set at the beginning of the effort. 

A multi-vendor test event, with both LTE-U and Wi-Fi vendors, is scheduled to take place later this month at a lab in Santa Clara, California.

For more:

- see this Verizon FCC filing

Related articles:
Evolve coalition blames Wi-Fi Alliance for buckling under cable lobby pressure
Wi-Fi Alliance on track to release LTE-U coexistence test plan by Sept. 21
Wi-Fi group claims ‘extraordinary compromise’ on LTE-U, but Qualcomm begs to differ