Despite the ongoing issues between LTE-U and Wi-Fi, LTE-U is continuing to gain ground. Ericsson, working with one of its partners showed it can be done. Ericsson and Telefonica have succeeded in putting on a live demo that included over the air (OTA) delivery on an LTE-U pico cell platform from Ericsson in the 5 GHz band. According to Ericsson, this demonstration, combined with the enhancements to its indoor radio portfolio, represent a milestone in the development of LTE-U.
While Ericsson is pretty gung-ho on LTE-U, not everyone is as sold on LTE-U as they are. There is still a fair amount of controversy over the coexistence of it with Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi Alliance is still working to develop a test plan that will ensure fair coexistence among LTE and Wi-Fi devices. But Ericsson is being a bit bully-ish about the Wi-Fi Alliance’s slow progress. Among other things, they told the FCC in a recent meeting, that the Alliance’s revisions to the test plan include tests that do not pertain to Wi-Fi coexistence and that other tests are not technology neutral.
Ericsson has a lot to lose if the LTE-U technology is forced to use some sort of listen-before-talk mechanism, rather than proximity solutions, so it doesn’t walk all over the Wi-Fi systems. Ericsson is going full steam with LTE-U, they have more than 20 LTE-U trials underway in a variety of places, including the United States. They have a vested interest in seeing it go the way it is.
I have to side with the Alliance on this one. LTE-U, as is, is kind of like the school yard bully – coming in late to a yard full of kids playing nice. If one is nearby, one is likely to get pummeled. LTE-U needs to learn to play nice, whatever it takes to modify the transmission scheme. If that happens, Ericsson is going to have to spend some money to fix it.