Wi-Fi Alliance says goal is to deliver LTE-U/Wi-Fi coexistence test plan by summer

A document that Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) filed with the FCC indicates the final test plan related to LTE-U and Wi-Fi coexistence from the Wi-Fi Alliance Coexistence Task Group will not be completed until mid-August at the earliest. But the Wi-Fi Alliance says its goal is to deliver a coexistence test plan by summer 2016.

Ericsson's director of spectrum policy Mark Racek and systems architect Chris Richards met with FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) chief Julius Knapp and others last week to provide an update on LTE unlicensed technologies and the status of product development. Ericsson says it has more than 20 LTE-U trials or demos underway throughout the world, including with the top three U.S. cellular operators.

Ericsson also discussed the process that involves the Wi-Fi Alliance Coexistence Task Group, saying that although a final test plan was to have been established in January 2016, and then April, it will not be completed until mid-August at the earliest. The April Revision "A" test plan contains 100+ tests covering all aspects of Wi-Fi coexistence, including channel selection, dynamic channel sharing and Wi-Fi calling, the company said in an ex parte filing.

"However, it also includes tests that do not pertain to Wi-Fi coexistence, for example in-device requirements that involve information display features which are commercial issues, not coexistence issues," Ericsson's filing states. "Other tests are not technology neutral."

In a statement, the Wi-Fi Alliance told FierceWirelessTech that it is committed to "maintaining the inclusive and collaborative process we established for developing a test plan that will ensure fair coexistence among LTE and Wi-Fi devices. The process is working."

There are a number of areas of the draft test plan under active deliberation, and "Wi-Fi Alliance does not make it a practice to presuppose how such deliberations might conclude. As with all aspects of our development to date, such discussions focus on ensuring fairness to Wi-Fi," the statement said. "The Wi-Fi Alliance goal is to deliver a coexistence test plan by summer 2016, and completing the goal in that timeframe depends on contributions from stakeholders. Depending on those contributions, the timeframe could be accelerated or delayed."

A delay in the ability to deploy commercial-ready LTE-U equipment is more than a little noteworthy given that early supporters of LTE-U said time to market was one of its advantages. A related technology, LAA is the version that is going through the standards groups 3GPP and ETSI, and according to Ericsson's filing, the specs for LAA in 3GPP are expected to be completed by June, including coexistence conformance tests.

Part of the reason cable industry stakeholders were upset about LTE-U developments had to do with the fact that it was developed through the LTE-U Forum and not a formal standards body where all the stakeholders would get a more formal say in how it develops. Representatives of Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), one of the biggest promoters of LTE-U, told FierceWirelessTech last month that they were confident that LTE-U still would provide a significant time-to-market advantage.   

In January, Knapp announced that the FCC's OET granted a special temporary authority (STA) to Qualcomm to conduct very small scale performance evaluation tests of LTE-U equipment at two Verizon sites in Oklahoma City, Okla., and Raleigh, N.C. Both Verizon and Qualcomm promised to share results of lab and real-world coexistence tests with the commission.

In its presentation to the FCC last week, Ericsson said four of its labs are performing coexistence verification, including over-the-air in Canada.

For more:
- see this filing

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