US mobile network operator Verizon is to trial SpiderCloud Wireless’ LTE-U small cell system for delivering capacity over unlicensed spectrum in high-density indoor environments. LTE-U (LTE-Unlicensed) uses the unlicensed 5GHz band to increase throughput via carrier aggregation with licensed bands.
SpiderCloud’s LTE-U Enterprise Radio Access Network (E-RAN) seamlessly delivers LTE capacity over licensed and unlicensed spectrum to subscribers in high-density venues such as multi-tenant business offices, shopping malls, hospitals, university campuses and concert halls.
SpiderCloud deploys centralised co-existence manager self-organizing network (SON) software to enable its system to coexist with hundreds of ad-hoc Wi-Fi access points. Verizon will trial SpiderCloud’s LTE-U system in the third quarter of 2016.
“SpiderCloud is excited to continue its collaboration with Verizon,” said Mike Gallagher, CEO of SpiderCloud. “SpiderCloud’s LTE-U system will allow Verizon to use unlicensed spectrum to offer the best network experience in high-density venues and busy enterprises.”
“SpiderCloud has deployed and demonstrated its dual-carrier LTE in-building solution at Verizon’s enterprise customer locations across the country,” said Adam Koeppe, vice president of network planning for Verizon. “We look forward to working with SpiderCloud on LTE-U.”
LTE-U is one of a number approaches for enabling licensed cellular 4G technology to operate in unlicensed spectrum bands. It has generated some controversy among the Wi-Fi community.
LTE-U is seen as the most divisive solution because it does not implement a ‘listen before talk’ (LBT) mechanism unlike LTE-LAA (Licensed Assisted Access) or LTELWA (Wi-Fi Link Access), leading to concerns over fair access to spectrum.
LTE-U is part of the 3GPP standards, but it can only be used in countries like the US and Japan which do not mandate LBT in the 5GHz band.