LTE over Wi-Fi spectrum sets up industry-wide fight over interference (Jon Brodkin/Ars Technica)

A plan to use Wi-Fi airwaves for cellular service has sparked concerns about interference with existing Wi-Fi networks, causing a fight involving wireless carriers, cable companies, a Wi-Fi industry trade group, Microsoft, and network equipment makers. Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile US plan to boost coverage in their cellular networks by using unlicensed airwaves that also power Wi-Fi equipment. While cellular carriers generally rely upon airwaves to which they have exclusive licenses, a new system called LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) would have the carriers sharing spectrum with Wi-Fi devices on the unlicensed 5GHz band. Further Reading Verizon has said it intends to deploy LTE-U in 5GHz in 2016. Before the interference controversy threatened to delay deployments, T-Mobile was expected to use the technology on its smartphones  by the end of 2015 . Wireless equipment makers like Qualcomm  see an opportunity to sell more devices and are integrating LTE-U into their latest technology. Using 5GHz will let cellular networks boost data speeds over short distances without requiring users to log in to a separate Wi-Fi network. But companies from all over the technology industry are arguing over how much this new technology will interfere with Wi-Fi networks and how quickly the Federal Communications Commission should move in allowing it. The latest development came yesterday when Verizon, T-Mobile, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and Qualcomm sent a letter to the FCC opposing a Wi-Fi Alliance proposal that would slow the process of getting LTE-U out of testbeds and into real-world networks. Wi-Fi Alliance seeks delay The Wi-Fi Alliance is an industry trade group that certifies equipment to make sure it doesn’t interfere with other Wi-Fi-certified equipment operating in the same frequencies. The group this month  asked the FCC  to avoid authorizing any LTE-U equipment until the Wi-Fi Alliance is able to conduct its own tests on vendor devices using new interference testing guidelines that the Alliance is still developing. The Wi-Fi Alliance has a long list of members  covering pretty much the entire technology industry, including the five companies opposing its request

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LTE over Wi-Fi spectrum sets up industry-wide fight over interference (Jon Brodkin/Ars Technica)

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