Wi-Fi Alliance® delivers on unprecedented coexistence work
October 12th, 2016 by Edgar Figueroa
For more than 16 years, Wi-Fi Alliance® has fostered highly effective collaboration between hundreds of member companies from a wide range of industries. Our organization has provided a forum to examine and deliberate emerging markets, shape and drive areas of growth and advancement for Wi-Fi®, and develop interoperability programs so that everyone everywhere has the best possible Wi-Fi experience. Our work has resulted in more than 30,000 product certifications through 19 successfully launched programs since 1999.
As discussions intensified around the cellular industry’s plan to deploy LTE within the same frequencies in which Wi-Fi operates, both the LTE-U and Wi-Fi communities agreed that Wi-Fi Alliance’s track record of successful cross-industry collaboration could be trusted to develop a solution for Wi-Fi and LTE-U coexistence. Members of the Wi-Fi and LTE-U communities agreed that industry coexistence efforts for LTE-U would take place in Wi-Fi Alliance through the development of a Coexistence Test Plan. Wi-Fi Alliance ensured the process was inclusive and collaborative, and all parties remained committed to allowing the industry to come to a solution for coexistence on its own without requiring regulatory mandates.
Wi-Fi Alliance delivered the Coexistence Test Plan in record speed, nearly twice as fast as typical Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ programs. We led an unprecedented multi-stakeholder effort while serving as the voice for billions of users around the world who rely on Wi-Fi devices every day. Leading cross-industry efforts of this nature can be an arduous process, but all stakeholders persevered through weekly phone calls, six Coexistence Workshops, and much research, discussion, and testing. In the end, Wi-Fi Alliance managed to achieve an extraordinary goal on an aggressive timeline.
The first aspect to coming up with a workable plan was agreeing to a common goal. Everyone acknowledged the importance of maintaining the Wi-Fi user experience that billions of people rely on every day. Both Wi-Fi and LTE-U communities adopted the shared goal of ensuring that the user experience for Wi-Fi is preserved, now and with regard to future improvements of both technologies.
We then defined the coexistence of Wi-Fi and LTE-U on the unlicensed spectrum in terms of fairness: LTE-U is operating fairly to Wi-Fi if the impact of adding an LTE-U network to an environment with an operating Wi-Fi network is no worse than adding a Wi-Fi network with similar traffic loading to the same environment. Using this as our compass, we went to work. Through constant communication, our Coexistence Workshops, and many compromises, Wi-Fi Alliance worked quickly and diligently to deliver a complete test plan that we believe will ensure fairness and preserve Wi-Fi users’ experience. The final test plan is the only mechanism that considers all the scenarios agreed upon by industry, and it is designed to be used in its entirety.
Test plan reception
Initial success of the plan was solidified by operators, including Verizon and T-Mobile, stating their intent to use the Coexistence Test Plan in its entirety before deploying LTE-U gear:
“We want to make sure that devices do coexist and live up to what we expect them to do. So the test plan is an important part of that and we expect devices will demonstrate that they coexist fairly … We do require manufacturers [to ensure] we are not deploying equipment that doesn’t comply with standards.”
– Steve Sharkey, VP of Engineering and Technology Policy at T-Mobile (via Fierce Wireless)
Wi-Fi Alliance has also been encouraged by the broad industry support for the Coexistence Test Plan:
“We applaud the Wi-Fi Alliance for developing a consensus-driven test plan that will ensure new LTE-U devices coexist fairly with the existing Wi-Fi networks and devices hundreds of millions of consumers already use and enjoy. Measuring LTE-U devices for fair coexistence under the test plan is also crucial to protecting the major financial investments made by organizational Wi-Fi users from schools, hospitals and libraries to cities, governments and small businesses. Only by requiring LTE-U equipment vendors to test all proposed devices according to the clear, consistent and comprehensive standards of the test plan can consumers have confidence that their Wi-Fi will continue to work as designed."
What’s next for Wi-Fi and LTE-U coexistence?
Wi-Fi Alliance recently participated in a panel in Washington D.C., hosted by New America, where Wi-Fi Alliance Vice President of Marketing, Kevin Robinson, described the Coexistence Test Plan and the process for ensuring Wi-Fi and LTE-U coexistence. His comments can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-rok1aQh8s (31:05).
Wi-Fi Alliance will play an active role in promoting the use of the full Coexistence Test Plan, ensuring quality and adherence as intended by its cross-industry creators. Soon, independent third-party test organizations will begin testing LTE-U equipment.
I am gratified that Wi-Fi Alliance took such an active role in driving cross-industry cooperation and participation to resolve an unprecedented issue, and I believe that in the end, consumers win because innovators across these industries are doing everything they can to continue to improve the user experience for each of us. As another innovator once said:
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
- Henry Ford
President and Chief Executive Officer
As president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance, Edgar has led an unprecedented period of growth for Wi-Fi®. Under Edgar’s leadership, Wi-Fi Alliance has grown to more than 800 member companies, maintained an aggressive development roadmap, and adopted a vision of “Connecting everyone and everything, everywhere.” Edgar forged numerous strategic partnerships to facilitate penetration of Wi-Fi into established and emerging markets. Edgar also defined the Wi-Fi Alliance Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ program development framework, and guided the launch of several generations of interoperable Wi-Fi programs that have proliferated Wi-Fi into mass markets such as mobile and consumer electronics.
Prior to Wi-Fi Alliance, Edgar was at Ridgeway Systems & Software (now Cisco). He was instrumental in delivering the industry’s first session border controller, and the H.460.18 and H.460.19 International Telecommunications Union standards for secure network traversal. Before Ridgeway, Edgar held product management and engineering roles at 3M Company.
Edgar is a veteran of the United States Navy, where he served in a fighter pilot training squadron and received numerous awards including Sailor of the Year. He has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, Austin Community College, and various community programs in Austin Texas. In 2009, he was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Alumni Hall of Fame.
Edgar is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He holds a Masters in Technology Commercialization, and undergraduate degrees with honors in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics.
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