Saturday, March 07, 2009

WIMAX IS DEAD? LTE (3G) news out of USA

The Clear WiMax wireless broadband connectivity service from ClearWire has been available only in Portland and Baltimore so far but the company has some big expansion plans up its sleeve.

ClearWire plans to extend its WiMAX service to about 80 cities nationwide by the end of 2010. WiMAX subscribers will get a 3G/4G modem, says the company, but its not a home run yet for Clearwire. Rival Nokia is ramping up its efforts to introduce WiMAX competitor LTE to U.S. users.

Nokia will focus on LTE (Long Term Evolution) as its preferred network and plans to launch devices for those networks in 2010, says James Harper, senior manager of technology marketing at Nokia according to GigaOm. “WiMAX has some place in the market but we do believe it’s a niche play,” says Harper.

Both WiMax and LTE are 4G technologies. WiMax is based on IEEE standards while LTE is supported by the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) group. The biggest difference from the telecom carrier perspective between the two standards is how they will be deployed. WiMAX requires a new network to be built whereas LTE is an evolution of existing WCDMA/HSPA networks.

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The upgrade to LTE makes it a more natural choice for many telecom carriers and that's what Nokia is counting on. MetroPCS has already said it will support LTE. MetroPCS plans to launch a smartphone in the second or third quarter says Tom Keys, chief operating officer for the company.

That's not good news for Clearwire. Clearwire is backed by Comcast, Intel, Time Warner Cable, Google and Bright House Networks, which together have invested $3.2 billion in the company. Clearwire's open all-IP network can provide users with average download speeds initially of 2-4 megabits per second and peak rates that are considerably faster, says the company.

But without enough support from device makers and other telecom carriers, Sprint which combined its 4G assets with Clearwire may find itself in the minority.

See also:
ClearWire Posts Fourth Quarter Results
ClearWire Brings its WiMAX Service to Portland

Photo: (Intel CES 2008/Flickr)

WiMAX, meaning Worldwide Inter-operability for Microwave Access, is a telecommunications technology that provides wireless transmission of data using a variety of transmission modes, from point-to-multipoint links to portable and fully mobile internet access. The technology provides up to 72 Mbit/s symmetric broadband speed without the need for cables. The technology is based on the IEEE 802.16 standard (also called Broadband Wireless Access). The name "WiMAX" was created by the WiMAX Forum, which was formed in June 2001 to promote conformity and interoperability of the standard. The forum describes WiMAX as "a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL"

Analog TV bands (700 MHz) may become available for WiMAX usage, but await the complete roll out of digital TV, and there will be other uses suggested for that spectrum. In the USA the FCC auction for this spectrum began in January 2008 and, as a result, the biggest share of the spectrum went to Verizon Wireless and the next biggest to AT&T. Both of these companies have stated their intention of supporting LTE(Long Term Evolution) , a technology which competes directly with WiMAX. EU commissioner Viviane Reding has suggested re-allocation of 500–800 MHz spectrum for wireless communication, including WiMAX

3GPP Long Term Evolution

3GPP LTE (Long Term Evolution) is the name given to a project within the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) to improve the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) mobile phone standard to cope with future technology evolutions. Goals include improving spectral efficiency, lowering costs, improving services, making use of new spectrum and refarmed spectrum opportunities, and better integration with other open standards. The LTE air interface will be added to the specification in Release 8 and can be found in the 36-series [1] of the 3GPP specifications. Although an evolution of UMTS, the LTE air interface is a completely new system based on orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) in the downlink and single-carrier frequency-division multiple access (SC-FDMA) (DFTS-FDMA) in the uplink that efficiently supports multi-antenna techologies. The architecture resulting from this work is called EPS (Evolved Packet System) and comprises E-UTRAN (Evolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network) on the access side and EPC (Evolved Packet Core) on the core side.

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posted by u2r2h at Saturday, March 07, 2009


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