New York City has drawn national attention for its plans to deploy thousands of free public gigabit (1 Gbps) Wi-Fi kiosks. At an event hosted by New America NYC last week—“Fast and Free: New York’s Vision for Public Wi-Fi Everywhere”—the City’s “strategy to give every resident and business access to affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband service” was presented in parallel with a discussion of the challenges posed to Wi-Fi by LTE–Unlicensed (LTE-U) technology.
CTC Director of Engineering Andrew Afflerbach, Ph.D., P.E. joined a panel discussion at the event to offer a technical overview of whether LTE-U interference is likely to impact local government and public interests.
Dr. Afflerbach drew on analysis developed in his recent paper, “LTE‐U Interference in Unlicensed Spectrum: the Impact on Local Communities and Recommended Solutions.” Among his findings and recommendations were the following:
- Wi-Fi is essential to local governments for education, public safety, economic development, and “Smart City” innovation
- Research indicates that LTE-U systems can dominate the unlicensed spectrum at the expense of Wi-Fi
- LTE-U interference could disrupt local governments’ current uses of Wi-Fi, increase communications costs, and threaten future Smart City innovation
- LTE-U must be tested, refined, and standardized
He concluded that the current version of LTE-U might cause damaging interference to local governments, and recommended potential technical improvements to LTE-U that might allow the technology to reliably coexist with Wi-Fi.