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Cover Story

LAA standardization: coexistence is the key

July 13, 2016

Given that the topic of LAA is generating a lot of interest, our RAN Chairman has provided the following update on the development of the standard, with a particular focus on the work on coexistence in unlicensed spectrum.

By Dino Flore, 3GPP TSG RAN Chairman

More than a year ago 3GPP decided to embark in the specification of Licensed-Assisted Access (LAA) to provide operators and consumers with an additional mechanism to utilize unlicensed spectrum for improved user experience, while coexisting with other Wi-Fi and other technologies in the 5GHz unlicensed band.

Prior to any specification work on LAA, 3GPP conducted studies to look at the feasibility of LTE operating in unlicensed bands. A central focus of the studies was fair sharing and coexistence with Wi-Fi where the criterion used to ensure coexistence was that an LAA network does not impact existing Wi-Fi neighbors any more than another Wi-Fi network.

The study had wide participation by LTE manufacturers, Wi-Fi manufacturers, Cellular and Cable operators. Hundreds of papers and simulation results have been submitted from many different companies, including many Wi-Fi stakeholders, and have been thoroughly discussed in RAN1 to enable LAA to coexist, cause no harm, and share the unlicensed spectrum fairly with Wi-Fi. Feedback and active engagement with IEEE, Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi manufacturers and stakeholders have contributed significantly to the study and have been a good example of cooperation between 3GPP and the Wi-Fi community.

Different proposals on the best coexistence mechanism have been meticulously discussed in RAN1 and captured in the technical report TR 36.889. Listen before Talk (LBT), which is a feature available in Wi-Fi that allows coexistence with other Wi-Fi nodes, has been studied extensively. There were multiple LBT schemes evaluated and based on the evaluation results and based on consensus between all involved stakeholders, 3GPP chose to specify a conservative LBT scheme that is similar to what Wi-Fi nodes use in order to ensure coexistence of LAA with Wi-Fi.

Recent News

3GPP on track to 5G

June 27, 2016

The latest plenary meeting of the 3GPP Technical Specifications Groups (TSG#72) has agreed on a detailed workplan for Release-15, the first release of 5G specifications.

The plan includes a set of intermediate tasks and check-points (see graphic below) to guide the ongoing studies in the Working Groups. These will get 3GPP in a position to make the next major round of workplan decisions when transitioning from the ongoing studies to the normative phase of the work in December 2016:- the start of SA2 normative work on Next Generation (NexGen) architecture and in March 2017:- the beginning of the RAN Working Group’s specification of the 5G New Radio (NR).


SA1 completes its study into 5G requirements

June 23, 2016

Four new Technical Reports from 3GPP SA1 outline the New Services and Markets Technology Enablers (SMARTER) for next generation mobile telecommunications. All four were approved at the recent 3GPP SA#72 meeting, which now clears the way for the subsequent normative specification work to begin.

The Study started in 2015 - looking at potential 5G requirements - resulting in TR22.891 which contains more than 70 different use cases, now categorized in to different groups; massive Internet of Things, Critical Communications, enhanced Mobile Broadband, and Network Operation – which are also the titles of the four Technical Reports (TR):


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