Wi-Fi Alliance—not surprisingly—is concerned about the 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz unlicensed bands, as are several companies and the U.S. government, as I reported earlier. Of particular concern is coexistence between Wi-Fi and LTE-U. In response, test companies are rolling out systems to help experiment with LTE-U. National Instruments, for example, has announced a system for testing, experimenting on, and prototyping new LTE-U and/or License Assisted Access (LAA) wireless access technologies. And AT4 wireless announced it and octoScope are collaborating for the development of advanced performance solutions aiming at the technical challenges behind Wi-Fi and LTE-U coexistence.
For its part, Wi-Fi Alliance is hosting a series of workshops, conducting simulations, and performing coexistence testing to ensure technologies like LTE-U don’t adversely affect the installed base of Wi-Fi devices, and it hopes to release the final version of its test plan this summer.
The Wi-Fi Alliance issued the following statement regarding the most recent Wi-Fi Alliance Coexistence Test Workshop:
At Tuesday’s Wi-Fi Alliance Coexistence Test Workshop, Wi-Fi Alliance and dozens of industry players made significant progress toward the development of a test regimen that will address fair coexistence between Wi-Fi and LTE-U devices.
Since Wi-Fi Alliance released the Alpha version of its draft test plan earlier this month, an industry-wide effort has been underway to validate the draft procedures for feasibility, correctness, and repeatability, and to further refine testing criteria. Firm conclusions about device coexistence cannot be drawn until this validation phase is complete and the test plan is finalized.
During Tuesday’s workshop, attendees received primary data about real-world Wi-Fi deployments, and they agreed to a deadline for submission of any remaining data to support the decision on neighbor-awareness test criteria prior to the next workshop in June. Attendees explored other ways to ensure the timely completion of test plan validation and accelerate work wherever possible. The importance of community contributions was a common theme, and Wi-Fi Alliance identified specific work items where contributions are necessary to maintain expected progress.
One example is the need for LTE-U equipment to support test-plan validation. Attendees agreed that while LTE-U equipment from multiple vendors is required to finalize the test plan, a single LTE-U implementation is sufficient to complete the Alpha validation phase. An LTE-U vendor committed to providing the necessary equipment, and Wi-Fi Alliance is looking for similar commitments to close remaining work items.
Moving forward, continued industry involvement and contribution in Wi-Fi Alliance is critical to finalizing the test plan, and to the commencement of testing of LTE-U devices. Regular updates will provide greater transparency and enhanced coordination of progress on remaining efforts. With continued industry engagement, Wi-Fi Alliance expects to release a final version of its test plan in the summer of 2016.