The battle between LTE and Wi-Fi may have left LTE-U out in the cold
April 11, 2016
After more than a year of rancor over whether it would hurt Wi-Fi, a technology that lets LTE networks use unlicensed spectrum may have already missed its window of opportunity.
LTE-Unlicensed is designed to improve cellular service by tapping into some of the frequencies used by Wi-Fi and other unlicensed technologies. But almost as soon as LTE-U was proposed in late 2014, Wi-Fi supporters pounced. They charged that it would drown out Wi-Fi signals because LTE didn’t know how to make room for other users.
Backers of LTE-U said adding it to a room full of Wi-Fi gear caused even less interference than adding another Wi-Fi access point.
Now carriers may be getting ready to bypass LTE-U altogether in favor of another system, called LAA (Licensed Assisted Access), that does the same thing but with additional protections for Wi-Fi. The LAA standard is complete, and products are expected to start shipping later this year.