The Wi-Fi Alliance is trying to stay cool under fire.
The group last week said it remains on target to release its final LTE-U Coexistence Test Plan on September 21, despite being caught in the midst of a public dispute between industry players over the fairness of the specifications.
“Wi-Fi Alliance has been successfully leading a multi-industry effort to develop a Coexistence Test Plan, and while the process has been challenging, Wi-Fi Alliance has delivered on an aggressive timeline that is nearly twice as fast as one of our own Wi-Fi CERTIFIED programs,” Wi-Fi Alliance Vice President of Marketing Kevin Robinson said in statement. “Industry stakeholders agreed that development of a Coexistence Test Plan, which is used to conduct coexistence testing of all LTE-U devices, is the appropriate way for industry to ensure Wi-Fi and LTE-U device coexistence. The expectation is for all LTE-U vendors to test their devices using the finalized Coexistence Test Plan, and that continues to be our goal.”
The challenges Robinson refers to include criticisms from industry giants Qualcomm, T-Mobile and Verizon, who have complained about both the timeline for the standards’ release and bias toward Wi-Fi in the standards themselves.
Qualcomm has perhaps been the most vocal about its disagreement with the direction the standards are headed, in August saying the latest Test Plan “lacks technical merit” and is “fundamentally biased against LTE-U.” U.S. wireless carrier Verizon, which partnered with Qualcomm to launch LTE-U services by the end of this year, echoed Qualcomm’s concerns in a subsequent filing with the FCC.
T-Mobile has also expressed frustration with the duration of the process, arguing in a July filing with the FCC that the delayed release of the test plan was “stifling innovation” that would come with the launch of LTE-U.
The Wi-Fi Alliance, however, did receive support from the likes of Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Broadcom. The companies acknowledged the Test Plan was “not perfect” but encouraged the Wi-Fi Alliance to carry on with its work without being swayed.
Wi-Fi Alliance said Monday it is attempting to walk the line between industry feedback and influence as best it can.
“Every effort has been made to incorporate stakeholder contributions so long as contributions were reasonable, supported the test plan objectives, and adhered to the agreed principle of maintaining the Wi-Fi user experience for the billions of people who rely on Wi-Fi every day,” Robinson said. “However, recent requests to relax even further the requirement to coexist with Wi-Fi devices operating at low signal levels threatens to undermine the purpose of the Coexistence Test Plan. Wi-Fi devices routinely operate at these low signal levels while still providing needed connectivity to users.”
Robinson said the signal level requirement in particular received “due consideration and discussion” that resulted in the current test levels defined in the plan. A plan without such measures, would defeat the purpose of having a coexistence plan in the first place.
“Test approaches that selectively omit portions of the test plan will not provide any assurances of fair coexistence with Wi-Fi. We reject those approaches. Those approaches were not the intent of the test plan we developed. Those approaches would not have been acceptable to the industry,” Robinson said. “We encourage all stakeholders, therefore, to follow-through on their commitments, to maintain the Wi-Fi experience for users worldwide by ensuring their devices successfully complete the entire Coexistence Test Plan regimen.”
A Wi-Fi Alliance LTE-U Coexistence Test Workshop will be held Sept. 20 in San Jose, Calif. just before the release, according to Wi-Fi Alliance’s website.
Once the plan is released, Robinson has previously said there will be at least one lab certified to immediately begin performing the testing. Other parties can work to qualify additional labs as well, Robinson said in June.
Robinson’s previous comments indicated the test process timeline will measure on the scale of days rather than weeks of months.