WFA tells FCC that Nokia jumped the gun on LTE-U/Wi-Fi test plan complaints

The Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) says a Nov. 11 ex parte, in which Nokia registered serious concerns about its ability to complete tests of Nokia LTE-U equipment, was filed before discussions with all the parties were completed.

Nokia representatives met Nov. 9 with FCC staff of the Office of Engineering and Technology to discuss Nokia’s experience executing the Coexistence Test Plan submitted by the Wi-Fi Alliance back in September. Nokia said it spent two weeks testing Nokia LTE-U equipment at a WFA-approved test lab in October—but it wasn’t able to complete the test plan due to “incomplete test procedures,” according to an ex parte filing (PDF) with the FCC.

“Our experience brought into sharp focus that WFA did not deliver a complete document to the Commission, which made Test Plan completion extremely difficult,” Nokia wrote in its filing. “An inordinate amount of time was spent troubleshooting WFA test setup and test scripts. Further, little testing and validation of the Test Plan appeared to have been done by WFA prior to releasing the plan.”

Complexity of test cases “along with no clear guidance on the Pass/Fail criteria created further problems, so that the test lab was unable to confirm whether (or not) certain tests were successful,” Nokia stated. “Nokia is concerned with the lack of discretion afforded to Nokia and the test lab to make reasonable, common sense adjustments that would permit Nokia and the WFA-approved test lab to complete testing.”

In a filing (PDF) posted Nov. 25, the Wi-Fi Alliance said Nokia submitted that ex parte letter before completing discussions with all the parties involved, and those parties, including the test organization, “now agree the Test Plan can be used.” In fact, the Wi-Fi Alliance said, it stands ready to help stakeholders understand the intent of the test plan if needed, and it will consider modifications. The test plan was developed with numerous industry stakeholders over several months—but the Wi-Fi Alliance said not everyone was going to be happy with all aspects of it since it was the result of compromises all around.

“Indeed, while Wi-Fi Alliance believes the Test Plan is robust today, it is hopeful that, if needed, further industry engagement can make the Test Plan even better,” Wi-Fi Alliance President and CEO Edgar Figueroa told the commission last month. “We encourage all entities that use the Test Plan to provide feedback to Wi-Fi Alliance so that the Test Plan can reflect the real-world experience of those companies that use it.”

The test plan was the result of several months of collaboration involving dozens of companies, from both the Wi-Fi and LTE-U communities. Released in September, the coexistence test plan was presented as a way to ensure LTE-U devices can demonstrate they share unlicensed spectrum fairly and can coexist with Wi-Fi networks. The Wi-Fi Alliance encouraged 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.