Here's Why Google and Microsoft are Fighting Against Qualcomm and Verizon's New LTE Technology
Here’s Why Google and
Microsoft Are Fighting Against
Qualcomm and Verizon’s New
A new LTE technology
Qualcomm, Verizon, and other wireless carriers are pursuing a new LTE
technology called LTE Unlicensed, or LTE-U. The new tech allows LTE
signals to use unlicensed airwaves that are typically reserved for things like
garage door openers, wireless baby monitors, and Wi-Fi signals.
Image Source: Qualcomm.
Verizon and Qualcomm want to tap into LTE-U because it will help offload
some of the LTE signals from cellular networks, which should help improve
“Unlicensed spectrum is going to be an important
part of providing a better mobile broadband
experience for our customers.”
— David Young,Verizon’s vice president of public policy
The flip side
Google, Microsoft, and other tech and cable companies aren’t exactly excited
about LTE-U. They claim that the new technology can hijack the unlicensed
airwaves for its own use, forcing Wi-Fi signals to sit and wait until the
airwaves are free again.
Image Source: Google.
“We are concerned that any technology that makes
use of a licensed control channel will use that
channel to give it priority access to the medium, and
in this case degrade the performance of services
delivered over Wi-Fi and other technologies that rely
exclusively on unlicensed spectrum.”
— Michael Daum, Microsoft’s technology policy strategist
Qualcomm and Verizon say they have proof that LTE-U doesn’t interfere with
Wi-Fi signals, while Microsoft and Google have data showing the exact
Image Source: Qualcomm.
More testing needed
Microsoft and Google are calling for more testing of LTE-U before it’s allowed
to be implemented, and have started lobbying the Federal Communications
Commission for a temporary block on LTE-U. But so far, the FCC has said
that LTE-U is something that the tech and wireless companies need to figure
out on their own.
“Folks, you’ve got to come together and resolve this
in a broad-based standard.”
— Tom Wheeler, FCC chairman
LTE-U’s future is up in the air
The same organization that sets Wi-Fi standards, the Institute of Electrical
and Electronics Engineers (or IEEE), may ask Qualcomm and carriers to
submit their technology for testing. But if all of the companies can’t come to a
resolution, then the FCC may eventually get involved.
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