A Return to Permission-Less Innovation

Posted by: Joan Marsh on August 22, 2016 at 2:41 pm

The latest chapter of the Wi-Fi vs. LTE-U saga unfolded this month as the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) announced that, after many months, it was finally closing in on an approved LTE-U coexistence test plan but surprised everyone by suggesting that the test plan should also include LTE-LAA. To understand why this is so aggravating, we need to take a little trip in the not-so-way-back machine.

A year ago, when the whole LTE-U brouhaha erupted, the Wi-Fi proponents advanced two primary complaints.

First, the Wi-Fi proponents argued that LTE-U had not been standardized, but instead was an un-scrutinized proprietary technology. It was further argued that the unlicensed community always worked together cooperatively and that the LTE-U proponents had somehow violated that unwritten code.

As a preliminary matter, that’s simply not the case. There are many unlicensed devices that are not particularly cooperative with Wi-Fi. One report estimates that 76% of the interference into home Wi-Fi systems comes from baby monitors, microwaves and cordless phones; and no one manufacturing those devices had to seek permission from the WFA to proceed or submit to WFA co-existence testing. I would also note that LTE-U relies on LTE Releases standardized in 3GPP.

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The Summer’s Hottest Hotspot

Posted by: Joan Marsh on September 8, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Last month, Chicago’s Wrigleyville became the summer’s hottest hotspot.  Not because of the swinging bats of the Chicago Cubs.  And not because of the cool crowds gathering at Murphy’s Bleachers or the Cubby Bear.  On August 4, AT&T launched the Wrigleyville hotzone – a Wi-Fi installation in the shadow of Wrigley Field designed to enhance the AT&T wireless data experience in Wrigleyville.

The Wrigleyville hotzone is just one example of AT&T’s use of Wi-Fi to provide our customers with additional options for high speed data connectivity.  With more than 20,000 branded and operated U.S. Wi-Fi hotspots, AT&T has the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network, covering popular venues like restaurants, bookstores, hotels and airports.  Our Wi-Fi hotzone installations – including one in NYC’s Times Square, launched in May, and another in downtown Charlotte, N.C., launched in July – are now expanding that footprint.

The reason for these investments is clear:  customer demand for Wi-Fi is growing, shown by an exponential increase in Wi-Fi connections on our network.  We had 68.1 million connections on our network in the second quarter of 2010 alone, up more than 300% from the 15 million connections made in the same quarter last year.   And customers have already made 121.2 million connections in the first half of 2010, far surpassing the 85.5 million connections made in all of 2009.

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