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LTE: A well-designed mobile OFDMA IP solution

Posted: 26 May 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LTE? Long Term Evolution? OFDMA? 3G? HSPA?

By John Stefanac
Qualcomm Inc.

UMTS operators around the world are experiencing tremendous success with High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA), and are rapidly launching services to capitalize on the technology's mobile-broadband capabilities and increased data capacity. 3GPP is currently defining Long Term Evolution (LTE), which allows UMTS operators to build on HSPA's success and complement HSPA with even higher peak rates and lower latency, thus supporting an enhanced broadband experience in high-demand areas, while leveraging new and wider spectrum.

The industry is rapidly moving toward the convergence of communication, computing and consumer platforms, as well as converged services across fixed and wireless networks. Users desire services like voice, music, picture and video sharing, and social networkinganytime and anywhere, with a similar experience regardless of location. Mobile broadband is in the center of convergence, enabling consumer and corporate users to enjoy higher data rates and a broadband experience in all environments, using converged devices. As already happening with 3G, LTE will support a variety of devices, including desktop modems, mobile phones, laptops and ultramobile PCs (UMPCs), and will effectively meet the demand for connectivity from a new generation of consumer electronics devices with embedded modems.

LTE is an OFDMA-based, mobile broadband technology, supported by a new core network being developed by 3GPP. LTE has been designed to provide interoperability and service continuity with existing UMTS networks, allowing UMTS operators to capitalize on existing UMTS/HSPA and future HSPA+ investments. It offers high spectral efficiency, low latency and high peak data rates (150Mbit/s downlink, 75Mbit/s uplink in 20MHz) and leverages HSPA/LTE multimode devices. LTE incorporates the most advanced techniques of OFDMA and antenna techniques such as Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO), Spatial Division Multiple Access (SDMA) and beamforming, among others.

As the trend toward convergence accelerates, user-generated content and social networking open an array of possibilities in the mobile world. Many of these services have already been made available through today's 3G networks, and demand for these services will continue to grow. LTE's flexible air interface with integrated QoS and low latency will support the entire range of IP services, including delay-sensitive services such as telco-quality VoIP.

LTE will benefit users by enriching mobile communications and enhancing broadband applications through higher peak and average data rates. For fixed and nomadic applications, users will experience wireline-like speed and performance, similar to DSL and cable connections, over a wireless connection. For operators, QoS support enables service tiering, which allows the network to assign users different levels of priority based on subscription levels tailored to each user's needs.

Expanding market reach
Consumers will enjoy LTE's broadband functionality in a variety of consumer electronic devices. As has already occurred in many HSPA markets, consumers may consider LTE as a replacement for their primary residential fixed broadband connection, thanks to its higher bandwidths and lower delays.

A variety of devices, from gaming and portable entertainment players to pocket computers and beyond, can leverage the broadband-communication capabilities of LTE. The fast response times satisfy the needs of the most demanding users, such as gamers who require low-latency networks for interactive, real-time gaming.

Ubiquitous mobile broadband connectivity via LTE and HSPA+ will also act as a catalyst for future innovation in devices. Consumers will increasingly demand that devices and services enabled today by Wi-Fi provide wide-area broadband coverage, through HSPA today and LTE tomorrow.

Corporate users will be able to obtain Ethernet-class performance through LTE, and mobile operators can configure their networks to satisfy the more stringent requirements of corporate users, such as higher-priority performance and response time. Corporate users will enjoy LTE services by using PC cards or embedded modems in devices such as PDAs, UMPCs or laptops, in addition to mobile phones. Multimode LTE and HSPA+ devices will ensure a similar user experience and ubiquitous coverage, regardless of the user's location.

As with consumer users, corporate users will increasingly consider LTE as a primary broadband replacement for their business landlines, thanks to the higher bandwidths, lower delays and high capacity provided by LTE.

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