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OEMs looking into LTE-Advanced

Posted: 11 Oct 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LTE-Advanced? MIMO? 3Gbit/s downlink?

A full ecosystem of silicon devices has been developed to support LTE, and component manufacturers are beginning to sample the first devices that support LTE-Advanced, according to a report by Heavy Reading, the research division of Light Reading. LTE-Advanced is a developing standard that will provide up to 3Gbit/s downlink speeds.

The report titled, "LTE Baseband, RF & Application Processor: A Heavy Reading Competitive Analysis," identifies and analyzes the full spectrum of vendors developing LTE components for both base stations and user devices. The report includes not only granular information on the components and systems themselves, which is of interest to system OEMs, smartphone developers and service providers, but also insights into how the overall market and ecosystem is developing.

The report evaluates and analyzes the products and strategies of 30 leading vendors in this rapidly growing market, including more than 70 baseband, RF and application processors from these companies.

"Carrier commitment to LTE continues to grow, now including 166 operators across 62 countries," noted Simon Stanley, analyst at large with Heavy Reading and author of the report. "A total of 24 operators have launched commercial LTE networks in 16 countries, making LTE the fastest-growing wireless technology in the world," he added.

Initial networks are using single-band USB dongles for subscriber terminals and dual-mode LTE handsets, Stanley explained. "Multimode handsets supporting 2G/3G/LTE will be the next wave, starting in 2012. Using the silicon devices already developed, the next generation of handsets will be multiband, supporting 2G/3G and possibly multiple LTE bands. Meanwhile, the first silicon devices with features such as carrier aggregation and multiuser MIMO to support LTE-Advanced are already sampling to system developers."

Key findings of the report include the following:

???A full LTE ecosystem, including more than 50 silicon devices, has developed specifically to support LTE. Of the more than 70 silicon devices covered in this report, more than 50 have been designed specifically for LTE or have had features added to support LTE.
???The majority of LTE silicon supports 100Mbit/s Cat 3 LTE. Most of the silicon solutions designed for both user devices and LTE base stations support 100Mbit/s Cat 3 LTE. A small number of older devices are limited to 50MHz Cat 2 LTE, and a few of the latest devices will support 150MHz Cat 4.
???Vendor consolidation is driving a very competitive handset silicon market. Due to some high-profile acquisitions, ST-Ericsson, Renesas, Intel and Nvidia all now have both application processors and LTE baseband solutions under one roof.
???ARM A9 application processors are used by most vendors; the first A15 cores will arrive by the end of 2011. ARM Cortex A9 processor cores are used by Nvidia, Renesas, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments. Intel has the Atom processor core, and Qualcomm has developed the Scorpion and Krait processor cores.

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