A finalized version of an advanced mobile communication standard, raising data transfer speeds to 1Gbps, is expected to be approved at a meeting of the 3GPP standards body in Taipei this week.
The International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency, has adopted LTE-Advanced and WiMax-derived WirelessMAN-Advanced standards for its IMT-Advanced program to define future mobile networks. It says both are substantial improvements over current wireless systems.
About 800 people from companies such as HTC, Nokia and Samsung, will agree on final terms for the Long-Term Evolution Advanced (LTE-Advanced) standard
“Mobile voice technology is pretty advanced already, so this time it’s all about data transfers,” said Feng Wen-sheng, wireless communications director with a lab under the event sponsor, Taiwan’s government-funded Industrial Technology Research Institute. “We’ve been trying to get LTE-Advanced out there for some time, and in Taipei we expect to confirm a final version.”
After Friday, the LTE Advanced standard will be ready for manufacturers to design smartphones and network equipment, Feng said, as participants at this week’s conference discuss patents and cross-license deals relating to the technology.
Specifications for an LTE-Advanced standard are expected in the second half of 2011, according to Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) general manager Mike Wang.
Following the specification of LTE-Advanced, it will take at least two years to begin commercial applications of the standard, says Wang. Nonetheless, Nokia Siemens Networks took the wraps off a current-generation base station platform that can support the full upgrade to LTE-Advanced at MWC 2011. Their Single RAN Advanced architecture builds upon NSN’s Flexi Multiradio base station.
LTE Advanced achieves peak data rates of more than 1Gbps in the downlink, but utilizes up to 100 MHz of spectrum and 4×4 MIMO. The aggregation can be in chunks of up to 20 MHz each. But finding such a huge swath of spectrum won’t be easy.
Both LTE Advanced and WirelessMAN-Advanced (802.16m) are the real deal — ITU sanctioned 4G standards. Both will deliver up to 100 Mbps (mobile) and up to 1 Gbps (fixed). Other features besides raw speed, such as relay base stations, may prove to be more important.
Final ratification of the full IMT-Advanced technology family took place at the ITU-R Study Group meeting on November 22 and 23 in Geneva, Switzerland. An ITU committee will finalize IEEE 802.16m this March
According to research firm iSuppli, the number of LTE wireless service subscribers will grow to 10.4 million this year and 50 million in 2012 as more than 30 mobile operators plan to launch LTE services this year.
Meanwhile, global subscribers of WiMAX services, are expected to reach 22 million next year from an estimated 14.9 million in 2011.