A High Tech Forum Conversation on Wi-Fi vs. LTE-U with Mike Thelander


In the latest High Tech Forum podcast, Richard Bennett talks with Mike Thelander, CEO and founder of Signals Research Group (SRG), about Thelander’s research and recent developments in wireless technology.

Thelander describes a study his firm conducted on the impact of LTE Unlicensed’s (LTE-U) on real Wi-Fi systems that produced some surprising results. While critics of LTE-U have warned that it hogs the airwaves and impairs Wi-Fi systems by grabbing bandwidth too aggressively, SRG found LTE-U has less impact on Wi-Fi per unit of data than Wi-Fi has with itself. This is a matter of LTE-U’s more efficient use of spectrum and the fact that some Wi-Fi Alliance-certified systems treat every piece of information as if it were super-critical.

ThelanderThe study, which was commissioned by Verizon and Qualcomm, was conducted in a noise-free chamber at Qualcomm’s San Diego engineering facility. SRG used an LTE-U small cell and a variety of commercial Wi-Fi access points with the latest handsets.  SRG ran more than 100 different test scenarios with various combinations of devices, some above the energy detection threshold and some below, with a combination of real-time applications such as FaceTime and Skype.

In the majority of scenarios, LTE-U + Wi-Fi delivered higher throughput for Wi-Fi with less latency than did Wi-Fi + Wi-Fi. One Wi-Fi Alliance-certified access point, which SRG termed the “FU-2000”, was by far the most harmful to Wi-Fi partner systems.

Bennett, who contributed essential parts of the current Wi-Fi standards, stated that “some Wi-Fi access points are driving faster than the speed limit” by failing to observe conventions that give real-time data priority over common data.

Read more about Thelander’s study “Wi-Fi/ LTE-U Coexistence and the User Experience” with Signals Research Group here or take a look at Thelander’s presentation from the 2015 CTIA Super Mobility conference.

The full High Tech Forum podcast is available here.