Evaluating unlicensed LTE technologies: LAA vs LTE-U
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Rights accessOpen Access
Recently, there has been much interest by the cellular network industry in utilizing unlicensed spectrum to expand potential capacity. In particular, two LTE unlicensed technologies gained much attention: licensed-assisted access (LAA) and LTE unlicensed (LTE-U). While these are rapidly entering the market, there are not many studies in the literature that are providing a complete evaluation and comparison of their performance. Available work usually focuses on single technology standalone evaluations. Also, despite the vast body of simulation results by industry and academia, the simulators are not publicly available, and the analytical models proposed in the literature do not offer complex enough frameworks for thorough performance evaluations. To carry out an evaluation study, we have built a comprehensive simulation platform, strictly complying with the standards and specifications of each technology. The models are built upon popular ns-3 simulator, have been designed in close consultation with industry experts, and have been validated through calibration processes and against analytical proposals and experimental platforms. In this paper, we provide a detailed overview, performance evaluation, and comparison of LAA and LTE-U in a wide variety of scenarios, following 3GPP and Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) guidelines. We show that despite the market is confirming LAA as the leading unlicensed LTE technology, in certain setups, efficient implementations of LTE-U may prove unexpectedly better in coexisting with Wi-Fi. Similarly, the expected behaviors of the LAA LBT procedure can reveal untrue, depending on the traffic or interference patterns and specific implementation details, even in Wi-Fi. This paper also includes scenarios involving TCP, which is a rarely treated topic in the literature in the context of LTE and Wi-Fi coexistence. The end-to-end and full protocol stack simulation platform is openly available to foster results' reproducibility and collaborative development.
CitationBojovic, B. [et al.]. Evaluating unlicensed LTE technologies: LAA vs LTE-U. "IEEE access", 1 Juliol 2019, vol. 7, p. 89714-89751.