Some carriers are eyeing the use of LTE in unlicensed 5GHz spectrum as a way to keep up with skyrocketing capacity demands, but the technology isn't an ideal solution.
The unquenchable thirst for more wireless speed and capacity is a major problem for mobile network operators today. As the latest 802.11ac wave 2 WiFi technology approaches theoretical speeds in excess of 1Gbps, LTE technologies are quickly falling behind. Part of this has to due with pure logistics in terms of upgrading an entire LTE network in a timely fashion. But much of the problem rests on the fact that more and more mobile devices are using the same, constricted licensed spectrum.
One solution that some carriers are looking into is the idea of leveraging unlicensed spectrum in the 5 GHz space -- the same spectrum where 5GHz WiFi resides today. The technology is known as License-Assisted Access (LAA) or LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U), and it’s being backed by multiple wireless vendors and carriers around the world.
But just because the technology is gaining in popularity with mobile carriers doesn’t mean it’s a good thing for consumers or enterprise IT departments. So the question is, will LAA-LTE solve the problem it was intended to fix?
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