CommLaw Group Senior Managing Attorney Ron Quirk recently published a white paper on the imminent release of a standard for a wireless technology that co-exists with Wi-Fi, complies with the FCC’s 3.5 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum sharing rules, and incorporates a required protocol for international sales of RF equipment.
The FCC is continuing its efforts to facilitate commercial use in the 3.5 GHz and 5 GHz unlicensed frequency bands, which should be a boon to wireless operators and RF equipment manufacturers. But, there has been pushback from the Wi-Fi industry concerning the potential for harmful interference to their existing operations in the 5 GHz band. A soon-to-be published standard for Licensed Assisted Access (“LAA”) technology will likely allay the concerns of Wi-Fi providers and enable the rapid implementation of unlicensed use of the subject frequency bands. This will open the market for the innovative RF equipment.
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (“3GPP”) has targeted March 2016 for publication of its Release 13, the purpose of which is to enhance the capability of small cell technology to operate in unlicensed frequency bands. To that end, Release 13 will incorporate specifications for LAA.
It is expected that Release 13’s specifications for LAA will implement “listen before talk” (“LBT”) protocol, which permits several users to share the same spectrum by ensuring that a channel is clear before it permits transmission. LBT is widely used in Wi-Fi transmissions. Consequently, Wi-Fi providers generally agree that LAA can co-exist with Wi-Fi as long as LBT is employed.
Many countries require LBT protocol in RF equipment designed to operate in certain 5 GHz frequency bands. Manufacturers whose equipment designed for use in those frequencies but lacks LBT protocol will not be permitted to sell equipment in the “LBT regions.”
The FCC’s new rules for commercial use of the 3.5 GHz Band require bi-directional transmission capability. 3GPP has studied this matter and determined that LAA can operate in a time division duplex (“TDD”) mode to support both uplink and downlink transmissions. 3GPP also determined that LAA could co-exist with Wi-Fi in both uplink and downlink operations. It is expected that Release 13 will address these matters.
To access the full white paper, click here.