When a cellular provider, such as T-Mobile or AT&T, licenses a spectrum band from the FCC, they reserve its exclusive use. As a result, networks operating on licensed bands experience little interference. This allows providers to establish fast and reliable service, but it comes at a cost. To improve bandwidth [to accommodate] more users] without breaking the bank, these providers have begun to also use the unlicensed spectrum via cellular networks using a mode called licensed assisted access (LAA), which operates on the same bands used for Wi-Fi. [The researchers] set out to examine how this shared use of the unlicensed spectrum, called coexistence, impacted both Wi-Fi and cellular users.
“We actually found an LAA station located on the UChicago campus, on a pole in front of the bookstore, and in this outside space campus Wi-Fi is also in use,” [Monisha Ghosh, associate member in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Chicago and research professor in the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering] said. “That provided an experimental platform in our backyard, so we started taking measurements.” […] By accessing multiple networks simultaneously, the group found that competition decreased performance — reducing the amount of data transmitted, the speed of transmission, and the signal quality. This competition was particularly detrimental to Wi-Fi. When LAA was also in active use, data transmitted by Wi-Fi users decreased up to 97%. Conversely, LAA data only exhibited a 35% decrease when Wi-FI was also in use. Ghosh explained that the incompatibility between Wi-Fi and LAA owes in part to the different protocols each employs to deal with heavy internet traffic.
The researchers presented their findings in a paper via arXiv.
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Author Of this post: BeauHD