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LTE on track to be finalized this year, with WiMAX2 on the horizon

15 февраля 2008

LTE and Mobile WiMAX may be technologically quite similar, indeed many vendors support both platforms, but there remain deep-seated political and commercial conflicts causing some suppliers and operators to stake their futures on one technology or the other. The early weeks of 2008 have seen a flurry of announcements from both camps, designed to emphasize the advanced nature of the roadmap towards true 4G.

There is little doubt that the prospect of Mobile WiMAX providing an alternative mobile broadband platform to those of the 3GPP and 3GPP2 has accelerated the competitive development of LTE.

The Ericsson-led LTE community is stepping more aggressively into WiMAX’ traditional TDD territory, and despite ambivalence by the WiMAX Forum about making official statements, 802.16e will respond with an increased focus on FDD profiles this year. The 3GPP approved the official technology specifications for the LTE RAN, which will now be included in the forthcoming 3GPP Release 8. This approval is only three months later than originally promised, a punctuality that contrasts with the WiMAX Forum’s history of repeated delays and missed deadlines, and also highlights how timeliness is now paramount for both platforms. Operators now see the need to step up their own progress towards true mobile broadband in order to increase revenues and ARPU, and fend off new challengers.

LTE is now in the ‘change control procedure’ phase – with basic specs approved. Any further changes must be officially sanctioned, but the standard is now 80% complete and Release 8 should be frozen around year end. By that time some vendors will be ready with pre-standard test equipment for early mover carriers. Release 8 does not just focus on LTE in the RAN but is also expected to enhance HSPA+ (or HSPA Evolution), introduced in Release 7. By combining MIMO with a 64QAM modulation scheme, theoretical downlink speeds of up to 42Mbps can be reached in a 5MHz channel - similar to LTE using the same channel size – enabling HSPA operators to fully exploit their current technology before making the leap to LTE. This suggests that early adoption of LTE will be by non-3G operators, perhaps for fixed and converged usage, and for non-voice devices and applications. This brings the technology even more directly into conflict with WiMAX, which because of its OFDM head start is widely seen as being the natural choice for carriers with no W-CDMA legacy.

Источник: WiMAX Trends

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