THE DAY is not too far off when your PC will respond to your touch within the batting of an eyelid, or to be more precise, 5 milliseconds. Or, your mobile phone will pop up images the second you give the command. What’s more, you can download your favorite Shahrukh Khan-starrer — the full 3-hour movie — onto your mobile phone and watch it on a high definition mobile screen. All this and more is possible once long-term evolution (LTE), an upgrade of the current 3G, comes in. Work on this is currently on in different pockets of the world, including Bangalore. But what exactly is LTE?
LTE is the next generation mobile wireless broadband technology that enables operators to offer wireless broadband services at affordable costs and at the same time provide better performance and capacity when compared to the current 3G wireless networks.
In fact NXP Semiconductors demonstrated the world’s first multi-mode baseband platform which forms the basis of a next-generation software defined radio (SDR) system solution at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in January 2008. Powered by NXP’s Embedded Vector Processor (EVP), a powerful new chip, the solution is capable of achieving data transfer rates of 150 Mbits downlink and 50 Mbits uplink. How exactly does this quick transfer of data take place? “A key aspect of LTE is its simplified network architecture and the use of new techniques to get high volumes of data through a mobile network. This allows many of the network elements involved in the transport of data between an operators’ base stations and its core network in current cellular systems to be removed. This helps reduce latency (that is the time data takes to travel within a network). Because the number of elements in the transfer of data is reduced, it helps to significantly reduce cost, since fewer pieces of network equipment are needed to achieve the same results”.
“One of the tricks deployed to simplify the network architecture is to make the hardware do some of the functions which the software does. This helps in saving a lot of space,”. One of the advantages of this is that the battery life of gadgets like mobiles and notebooks would be extended almost 2 to 3 times approximately.
While high-speed data transfer is just one of the features, “There will be more spectral efficiency in LTE and the costs will be considerably low. The response time is reduced considerably.” “Another important feature of LTE is the amount of flexibility it allows operators in determining the spectrum in which it will be deployed. Not only will LTE have the ability to operate in a number of different frequency bands (which means that operators will be able to deploy it at lower frequencies), but it also features scalable bandwidth” .These features will offer operators a lot of performance enhancements over 3G, with a target of two to four times the spectral efficiency of 3G/HSPA networks. This means that LTE networks will be able to squeeze in more bits of data into the same amount of spectrum as 3G and HSPA networks.
The evolution to LTE appears very attractive to operators because of the reduced capital and operating expenditures it requires over previous 3G networks. Besides this, another factor which adds appeal to operators is the fact that this technology is an upgrade of 3G. “This means that the operators do not have to begin from the start if they want to switch over to LTE”. “Existing network resources are reused wherever possible”.
Companies like Nokia Siemens Networks have an added advantage as far as this technology go. The LTE technology is still in the nascent stages of evolution. “The LTE standards have just been formatted.” The advantages of LTE are that there will be more spectral efficiency and the operational costs will be very low. “This technological breakthrough is targeted not only at the handset market, but will also be optimized for laptops, internet tablets and the latest ultra-mobile PCs.
“The advantage here is that all applications like broadband, VoIP, videos, music downloads and movies on demands can be downloaded through PCs.
All eyes are on Japan, the global leaders in technology. In fact, Nokia Siemens Networks has agreed to set up an LTE base station on the request made by Japan’s biggest mobile operator NTT DoCoMo for its Super 3G (LTE) Base Station project.
Nokia Siemens Networks, with its flat architecture networks, will provide a smooth migration path for operators to LTE. They were the first to demonstrate LTE technology in 2006 with data speeds in the 160Mb/s range.
But why do we need LTE? “Like hunger the demand for better efficiency and higher speeds can never be satiated.” Companies are raring to cash in on the ‘wow’ factor this will create.