Panic or Don't Panic over 2.3 GHz killing off Wi-Fi?
Quick panic, rush out and buy all 5 GHz Wi-Fi kit. Well that is what we could have headlined with if one did not look deeper into the actual testing of Wi-Fi and its ability to co-exist with 4G LTE operating on a new 2.3 GHz band that is set to auctioned by Ofcom with it being awarded to the winner in late 2015 and early 2016.
Fortunately it seems some testing has been carried out and for those commuting through London Victoria it will tell you a lot about why Wi-Fi access was so poor in the station, not because of the testing of an LTE antenna near platform 2 but all the various other issues, including an unknown source of interference affecting some areas and the number of people wandering around with their own personal hot-spot. Oh and the small matter that during the testing period at least the station Wi-Fi was running over a single 16 Mbps ADSL2+ line.
The 2.3 GHz band is part of the spectrum released by the MOD and any extra spectrum will be useful for 4G networks. Plus revenue from the actual auction will be of course be welcomed by the Government.
The testing beyond revealing issues such as hot-spots perform better if the old 802.11b standard is disabled, and improving the speed people can get over a hot-spot might mean more people turn off their own personal hot-spots and the resulting reduction in Wi-Fi congestion will improve reliability of the wireless segment. Of course offering dual-band access utilizing the 5 GHz band will help greatly, though the range and ability to penetrate obstacles is less with the higher frequency band.
The testing did reveal that if a LTE mast in the new 2.3 GHz band was placed within 0.5 m of a Wi-Fi antenna this can affect service, but Wi-Fi still works and if the two are further apart the effect is not a problem and given all the other observed problems with variable Wi-Fi performance it seems the popularity of Wi-Fi devices is more likely to be a threat to Wi-Fi working than any new 4G frequencies.