Wi-Fi Alliance on track to release LTE-U coexistence test plan by Sept. 21

The Wi-Fi Alliance said it’s on track to deliver the LTE-U Coexistence Test Plan by September despite complaints, mostly from the LTE-U community, about how the final details are getting worked out.

Wi-Fi proponents have also expressed frustration about compromises they’ve had to make as part of the process, but they say they’re willing to make them in order to keep the process moving forward.

Wi-Fi Alliance Vice President of Marketing Kevin Robinson told FierceWirelessTech that the Wi-Fi Alliance is on track to deliver the test plan on Sept. 21, when it will be released to the public. And before that, there are still some outstanding work items on which members of the LTE-U and other communities are welcome to register their input. The validation of the test plan concludes next week and the beta phase will then commence.

Two third-party test laboratories, Cetecom and AT4, are already committed to completing the qualification process and offering coexistence test services as soon as the test plan is complete, Robinson said, adding that companies such as AT4, Azimuth Systems, Broadcom, CableLabs, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Keysight Technologies, Qualcomm and Samsung have been instrumental in closing foundational work items.

Even though it’s been part of the talks, Qualcomm released a statement Wednesday saying 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.”

Dean Brenner, senior vice president of government affairs at Qualcomm, said in the statement that Qualcomm had submitted a compromise proposal which the Wi-Fi Alliance rejected in its entirety and instead issued a different plan, “which has the clear purpose of trying to keep the benefits of LTE-U away from consumers and off the unlicensed spectrum, which is supposed to be for all of us.”

Robinson said a key thing to remember is that members of both the LTE-U and Wi-Fi communities agreed it’s essential to maintain the experience for existing Wi-Fi users. There are 8 billion devices in use today, and that can’t be ignored. “Nobody thought this was going to be an easy task” to facilitate cross-industry collaboration and deliver testing that met the shared goal, he said.

He also said the Wi-Fi Alliance understands there’s a lot of passion around the topic and anytime you’re looking to compromise, it’s going to evoke a lot of strong positions on where that compromise lands. “The pace of work is accelerating” at the Wi-Fi Alliance, he said, and the test plan will be delivered in September as promised.

Some entities, like T-Mobile US, had questioned whether that would really happen before the end of September and it recently urged the FCC to make sure the process moves forward without delay. With the Wi-Fi Alliance's statements this week, that would seem to put those concerns to rest.

Related articles:
Wi-Fi group claims ‘extraordinary compromise’ on LTE-U, but Qualcomm begs to differ