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Future of LTE evolution

Posted: 09 Mar 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LTE  LTE Advanced  multi-mode radios  voice over LTE 

2010 saw major developments with broadband wireless technologies, especially LTE. With committed support from over 64 operators in 31 countries, LTE has 17 networks in operation today.

While significant progress has been made in deploying LTE, there are still enhancements and innovations needed to help network carriers give their customers a ubiquitous, high quality experience on their LTE-enabled devices no matter where they use them.

These enhancements and innovations will not only be beneficial to today's LTE networks, they are also necessary for LTE to reach the next step in its evolution, such as LTE Advanced.

A variety of issues need to be addressed, hence, network operators and handset OEMs can take full advantage of the performance benefits of LTE both now and in the future. Three issues of particular concern are multi-mode/multi-frequency support, implementing voice over LTE and how networks will handle interference.

First, let's consider the different ways LTE is being implemented globally and how this will affect device OEMs looking to support the LTE standard. The radio frequencies used on LTE networks vary from region to region; there are currently over 20 different frequencies ranging from 700MHz to 2.6GHz that can be used by LTE networks around the world.

 Global LTE implementation

Figure 1: Click on image to enlarge.

In order to ensure that LTE supports global roaming and realises the scale of a global technology, LTE smartphone and data card OEMs will need access to chipsets with multi-band, multi-mode radios. These same chipsets must also be backward compatible with existing 3G technologies to provide a comparable experience in areas without LTE coverage or ubiquitous 3G. Supporting multiple technologies and frequency bands in a single chipset is hard enough, but making the chipset small enough and making sure the chipset has the right power management capabilities to provide all-day operation is a challenge that few mobile chipset providers are prepared to meet.

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