Time for a Comprehensive Strategy for License-Exempt Spectrum

Spectrum ConnectivityCalls for regulators to release more unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi are getting louder: the 2.4 GHz band is heavily used and the 5 GHz band suffers from many restrictions that limit its applicability. LTE’s entry into unlicensed spectrum is further amplifying these calls and adding an acute sense of urgency.

But what is required is more than additional unlicensed spectrum. There needs to be a comprehensive strategy not only for additional unlicensed spectrum, but also for ensuring that regulations are harmonized to the extent possible between regions and are aligned with socio-economic needs. This is because we reached a point where additional spectrum means greater divergence between regions and increased market fragmentation, a similar scenario to the current state of the 5 GHz band. Read more of this post

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From LTE-U to LTE-DSA: Solving The Capacity Crunch

LTE-UThe proposal by Qualcomm to enable LTE operation in unlicensed band (LTE-U) received a warm response from some (e.g. Ericsson, Verizon) and not so warm from others especially incumbents with strong legacy in Wi-Fi in both the vendor and operator communities. The contentious issue center on co-existence of LTE and Wi-Fi in the same band as Wi-Fi implements ‘listen before talk’ or in technical terms carrier sense multiple access (CSMA) as opposed to LTE where transmissions are scheduled by the base station. This issue plagued WiMAX in unlicensed bands and was topic of much work at the IEEE during standardization activities of that technology. Still, while the proposal is not yet an approved work item for 3GPP LTE Release 13, the next few weeks will most likely see this feature approved to include in the standard with completion timelines by end of 1Q 2016, when we very possibly can see actual systems deployed. Read more of this post

In Focus: Interference in the 2.4 GHz ISM Band

WiFi/ISM Band InterferenceIn my previous blog entry, I set out to answer the question of how much WiFi is deployed. Here, I like to focus on the question of interference.  Unfortunately, I think there are fewer studies that characterize WiFi usage and interference than there ought to be. I will show here a few of the results and conclusions and present my own model and take on interference.

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How Much WiFi Is Out There?

How much WiFi is out there?The success of WiFi is nothing short of outstanding. Who would have thought that wireless network operators would adopt the technology and deploy WiFi access nodes in their tens of thousands to off-load their wide area networks? But with more carrier WiFi being rolled out in addition to your typical enterprise and personal access nodes, how much WiFi is out there? How much interference does it generate? And what does that say about the future when it comes to unlicensed band spectrum utilization? Read more of this post