A new industry body called the MulteFire Alliance was announced recently to develop and promote MulteFire, an LTE-based technology for small cells operating solely in unlicensed spectrum, such as the global 5 GHz unlicensed band. Utilising the robust radio link, ease of management and self-organizing characteristics of LTE and its 3GPP standard evolution, MulteFire is envisioned to deliver enhanced performance in local area network deployments.
The founding members, Nokia and Qualcomm, joined by members Ericsson and Intel, have issued a call for global industry participation through voluntary membership. The Alliance is an independent organisation.
Because it relies solely upon unlicensed spectrum, MulteFire expands the ecosystem of LTE-based technologies to new and established service providers, including internet service providers, cable companies, mobile operators, small medium and large enterprises, and venue owners. For mobile operators, MulteFire is an attractive solution in cases when licensed spectrum is unavailable or when a multi-operator system is required.
“By bringing the benefits of LTE technologies to unlicensed spectrum, MulteFire helps provide enhanced coverage, capacity and mobility. It can also improve the Quality of Experience and security in private network deployments” said Stephan Litjens, Vice President, Portfolio Strategy & Analytics, Mobile Broadband, Nokia, and MulteFire Alliance board chair. “This technology is also aimed to deliver value to existing mobile networks and private customers such as building owners. MulteFire can act as a “neutral host” with the ability to serve users from multiple operators, especially in hard to reach places such as indoor locations, venues and enterprises.”
The MulteFire Alliance confirmed it has commenced operations with an open call for participation, with the objective to promote MulteFire technology, use cases, and business opportunities; to drive MulteFire global technical specification development; to establish a world class MulteFire product certification program; and to drive future evolution of MulteFire technology, while ensuring fair coexistence with Wi-Fi and other technologies in unlicensed spectrum. MulteFire is designed to meet global unlicensed band regulations, including “Listen-Before-Talk” features required in regions such as Europe and Japan.
“With MulteFire, consumers and network providers will enjoy the combination of 4G-LTE like performance with Wi-Fi-like deployment simplicity in local-area deployments,” said Ed Tiedemann, Senior Vice President, Engineering, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and MulteFire Alliance board member. “Users will benefit from an enhanced connectivity experience when moving across spaces such as shopping malls and corporate offices thanks to MulteFire’s mobility features and optional integration with wide-area networks.”