We’ve been focusing on some high-level coverage in terms of the future technology we might be using and on what standards we’ll be using them on. Our Jaime Rivera reported on AT&T’s blueprint for Internet of Things devices during CTIA. Another “out there” thing we’re looking at is the proliferation of unlicensed LTE spectrum or LTE-U, as it’s known.
These bits of spectrum are typically in the 5GHz range, really intended for network coverage around arenas, parks and other compact, high-density spaces. If you’re familiar with Wi-Fi, you know that it also uses that specific band and it’s pretty crowded up there already. While the controversy continues on the traffic problem, we’re seeing the carpet being rolled out for LTE-U: the Snapdragon 820 is one of the first chipsets to feature a modem for LTE-U while T-Mobile is just one of the carriers vying to get its towers up for the space.
Chalk Verizon up as one of those carriers as it aims to start LTE-U tests next month with a commercial launch forecast for sometime next year. The carrier, together with Qualcomm, performed a demonstration at a San Francisco briefing showing how nine Wi-Fi networks handled throughput. One of the networks was replaced by an LTE-U network and readings showed that performance of the networks increased overall. Qualcomm claims it has gotten similar results over multiple tests. There has been support from Cisco, a major Wi-Fi equipment supplier, for LTE-U as well.
This development, though, isn’t the start of anything, nor is it the end of anything.