Ericsson, Telefonica demonstrate live LTE-U

While the Wi-Fi Alliance in the U.S. is working to deliver a coexistence test plan by this summer around LTE-U and Wi-Fi, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and Spanish operator Telefonica say they've demonstrated live, over-the-air delivery of LTE-U through Telefonica's network using an Ericsson indoor pico cell.

The demo used the Ericsson RBS 6402, which offers LTE, W-CDMA and Wi-Fi, 10 frequency bands and up to 300 Mbps LTE carrier aggregation.

Ericsson says LTE-U is a commercially available Ericsson Networks Software capability that enables operators to use unlicensed 5 GHz spectrum in combination with their licensed LTE spectrum. As a result, operators can increase download speeds in indoor environments, improve application coverage and raise the quality of their subscribers' mobile data experiences.

Ericsson also announced a range of enhancements to the Ericsson Networks Software LTE-U offering, including improved LTE-U performance and efficiency and reduced LTE-U transmission duration in line with 3GPP Release 13 LAA specifications.

The company says it offers a smooth transition to migrate to 3GPP Release 13 LAA through software upgrades for the Ericsson RBS 6402, providing listen before talk (LBT) for LTE-U without any impact on deployed devices and full co-existence between LTE-U and Rel-13 LAA devices on the same LAA carrier.

"This demonstration proves that multiple technologies will co-exist for best use of all spectrum and to support all deployment scenarios, widening the LTE ecosystem using the aggregation with licensed spectrum to provide the best performance experience," said Angel Blazquez, director of Radio and Core in Telefonica Spain, in a press release.

Eric Parsons, head of Mobile Broadband, 4G/5G Radio Access at Ericsson, said Ericsson's demonstration with Telefónica, combined with the enhancements to its indoor radio portfolio, represent a milestone in the development of LTE-U. "With global data traffic growing exponentially, spectrum has become one of the world's most valuable resources," Parsons said in the release. "By enabling the use of unlicensed 5 GHz spectrum to boost peak data rates and capacity, LTE-U helps operators extract maximum value from their spectrum investments while bringing high-quality experiences to mobile broadband users everywhere."

Not everyone is as sold on LTE-U as Ericsson is here. The Wi-Fi Alliance is working to develop a test plan to ensure fair coexistence among LTE and Wi-Fi devices. Last week, Ericsson met with FCC officials and told them that the Wi-Fi Alliance test plan that was expected in January, then April, is now not expected to be complete until mid-August at the earliest. Ericsson representatives also said that the revisions to the test plan include tests that do not pertain to Wi-Fi coexistence and that other tests are not technology neutral.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has said its goal is to deliver a coexistence test plan by this summer and completing that goal depends on contributions from stakeholders, which could accelerate or delay the timeframe depending on the contributions.

For more:
- see this release

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