Qualcomm has developed technology to run LTE Advanced (LTE-A) over the 5 GHz band. The move is an early shot in what may be a battle between cellular and WiFi over the unlicensed spectrum.
Hellberg says LTE-A over unlicensed spectrum is superior to carrier WiFi due to its longer range, “controlled and robust reliability,” and seamless end-user experience. In addition, he added, mobile operators could benefit from a unified cellular service.
LTE over unlicensed spectrum “works just as carrier aggregation does today. The main thing is to get support for the frequency band where a license is — there is 500 MHz of spectrum available in 5 GHz.
Qualcomm plans to implement WiFi “coexistence features,” and, while Hellberg declined to comment on exact steps taken in advance of demonstrations planned for Mobile World Conference, he outlined several possible mitigation measures:
Dynamic channel selection. Avoid using the same sub-channels on the 5 GHz band and adjust transmit power if someone is using an adjacent channel, to decrease interference.
Supplemental downlink. If you use only unlicensed spectrum to boost downlink, use licensed spectrum for uplink. This would decrease uplink interference and improve performance.
Listen before talk features. Built-in sensing and disconnection capabilities during particular time intervals.
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