LTE-Advanced: It’s More Than Just A Speed Thing

LTE-Advanced: It’s More Than Just A Speed Thing

LTE-Advanced and what it really means in the world of communications technology was a relentless theme permeating this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), staged in the Spanish city of Barcelona.

LTE-Advanced is the natural evolution of Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and is initially being specified as part of Release 10 of the 3GPP specification. New technologies are being introduced into LTE-Advanced to enable peak data rates of up to 1 Gbit/s in the downlink and 500 Mbits/s in the uplink. Some industry pundits haven’t been impressed because they aren’t earth-shattering speeds. However, LTE-Advanced isn’t just about pushing up data rates. It’s about a lot more than that.

, with each of those being up to 20 MHz wide. Second, communications experts expect that LTE-Advanced will be able to self-optimize and also to self-correct when there is a disruption to the cell it is operating in. Multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antenna technology also supplies additional performance capacity advantages to LTE-Advanced. It provides a method wherebLTE-Advanced can support a maximum bandwidth of 100 MHz via the combination of up to five component carriersy operators can employ multiple antennas to enable more users to share a network.

As mentioned earlier, it’s not all about speed with LTE-Advanced. A major plus point is that it will help reduce costs to consumers (providing, of course, operators pass on those savings). Because LTE-Advanced boosts capacity by enabling a greater number of bits to be transmitted by each Hertz of the spectrum, it will provide a cheaper way of communicating high-data-demand transmissions like photos and videos.

The first LTE-FDD (frequency division duplex) and TD-LTE (time division) networks are being rolled out in Europe, the U.S., and Asia. According to Wireless Intelligence, a British market research institute, there will be about 60 million LTE users in China alone by the year 2015. Other significant Asian LTE markets include Japan, Indonesia, Korea, and Taiwan. However, the full advantages of LTE-Advanced won’t filter through to consumers for a few years yet.

A final word on the breaking news at MWC goes to femtocells. Industry analysts expect the femtocell market to reach just under 49 million femtocell access points by 2014, with 114 million mobile users accessing mobile networks through femtocells during that year.

The expansion of the femtocell industry is also reflected in the growing membership of the Femto Forum, the femtocell industry association, which now includes 74 vendors and 61 mobile operators representing more than 1.71 billion mobile subscribers worldwide across multiple wireless technologies (WiMAX, UMTS, and CDMA). It accounts for 33% of total mobile subscribers worldwide.

Femto Forum

Mobile World Congress

Wireless Intelligence

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