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ITU-R makes key decision on technical requirements for IMT-Advanced that renews the battle between the WiMax and LTE camps

ITU Approves New 4G Specs

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
7/23/2008
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The International Telecommunication Union, Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) has re-ignited the technology tussle between so-called 4G technologies Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMax by approving the technical requirements for next-generation mobile broadband technology, IMT-Advanced.

With the general specifications now set for IMT-Advanced -– which is ITU-speak for 4G -– candidate technologies can, from October, be submitted to the ITU.

And, as Unstrung has reported, the WiMax camp at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) and the LTE camp at the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) are already prepping their candidates -- 802.16m and LTE-Advanced, respectively -- for the next mobile broadband showdown. (See Wireless Camps Prep Fresh 4G Battle, 3GPP Studies LTE Are Advanced, and Faster WiMax on the Way.)

The technical criteria were approved at a meeting held in Dubai at the end of June. While the ITU-R declined to provide any details of the agreed technical requirements to Unstrung, those details are expected to be published on the IMT-Advanced Website at the end of this week.

Some guidelines are available from industry sources, though. According to Erik Ekudden, vice president and head of standardization and industry initiatives at Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), who has been involved in setting the criteria, the requirements include average downlink speeds of 100 Mbit/s in the wide area network, and up to 1 Gbit/s for local access or low mobility scenarios.

Another key criterion for IMT-Advanced is low latency. Specifically, the parameters include less than 10 millisecond roundtrip delay and less than 100 milliseconds to set up a new session.

And IMT-Advanced calls for very wide channel widths. The technology needs 40MHz and preferably up to 100MHz channel allocations, according to Ekudden.

Requirements of that kind are completely new territory for the cellular industry. Never before have such large spectrum allocations been needed. And that means spectrum availability will be a big challenge for IMT-Advanced technologies.

"Regulators have to set aside more continuous spectrum to launch these systems," says Ekudden. "It's up to governments and regulators around the world to allocate this spectrum. The industry challenge is to ensure the new spectrum is made available for IMT-Advanced."

Will WiMax and LTE get together in IMT-Advanced?
IMT-Advanced poses an opportunity for WiMax and LTE to get together. But opinions seem to vary about the likelihood of the two camps burying the hatchet and blending their rival technologies, which actually have much in common. (See WiMax's Long-Term Evolution.)

While Unstrung has reported that the IEEE and 3GPP have considered the prospect of working more closely on IMT-Advanced, others believe the two technologies are set on their own next-generation paths and cannot be combined simply.

"We don't see any trend for putting everything into one bucket, stirring it around and seeing what comes out," says Ekudden. "It's not so easy to technically harmonize. There is strong support for [each] technology as such."

"A lot of good will come out of this big process [for IMT-Advanced]," he adds. "The technical basis for different technology tracks is already established and they are not going to change."

The ITU-R will start accepting proposals for candidate technologies at the next IMT-Advanced meeting in October. At that time, it's understood the ITU-R will also agree on the evaluation criteria for the technologies.

IMT-Advanced technologies will take the cellular systems through the next 10 to 15 years. The ITU-R is expected to complete its recommendation for the IMT-Advanced radio interface technology in early 2011.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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lrmobile_kumaramitabh
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lrmobile_kumaramitabh,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:36:07 PM
re: ITU Approves New 4G Specs
The ITU recommendations on the IEEE 802.16m or LTE now place this technology in the same position as the WiMAX 802.16e was in 2005.
It will not be before end of 2008, i.e a full three years to have the chipsets developed, technologies tested and spectrum bands finalized.

Een though many vendors claim having demonstrated 4G systems, the true time line begins now. Considering the spectrum requirements, it can be quite a challange.

The only advantage of 4G is that it would be a 3GPP technology and provide an upgrade path from existing mobile 3G+ networks, while using the Mobile WiMAX needs the IMS technologies.

http://www.wimaxbook.net
wap545
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wap545,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:36:06 PM
re: ITU Approves New 4G Specs
"..IMT-Advanced calls for very wide channel widths. The technology needs 40MHz and preferably up to 100MHz channel allocations,.."

Did I read this right??
WHat can Verizon Wireless do with its 20Mhz of 700Mhz spectrum (recent C Block win) if they will need minimum of 40Mhz to obtain an basic LTE 4G Network.
What am I missing here??

Jim
mvakulenko1
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mvakulenko1,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:36:04 PM
re: ITU Approves New 4G Specs
Another requirement that was not mentioned in the article is bandwidth scalability, i.e. ability to use frequency channels of varying width - From, say, 1.25 MHz up to 40 MHz. The data rates will be changing accordingly.

LTE currently scales between 1.25 and 20 MHz and is a good fit for existing spectrum allocations.
lite.reader
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lite.reader,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:36:04 PM
re: ITU Approves New 4G Specs
If 802.16m and LTE-"Advanced" are candidates for "4"G then what would generation would we classify 802.16e and LTE-"Standard"?

Are they just called "pre-4G" or "3G+" or something of that sort?
Michelle Donegan
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Michelle Donegan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:36:04 PM
re: ITU Approves New 4G Specs
Hi Jim,
The article is about the technologies that come after LTE way down the road. The ITU calls it IMT-Advanced. The two technologies that have emerged as candidates are 802.16m and LTE-Advanced, which are the next generations of today's mobile WiMax and LTE.
It's confusing because the industry has got a bit ahead of itself by referring to WiMax and LTE as 4G, when actually the ITU's IMT-Advanced is technically the real 4G.

Hopefully that makes sense! Thanks for the comment.

Michelle
IPobserver
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IPobserver,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:36:03 PM
re: ITU Approves New 4G Specs
DoCoMo has been calling LTE "Super 3G."

A while back, quite a bit of the industry tried to hold-off using the Gǣ4GGǥ term because of the ITU Advanced process, and because 3G was only just getting into its stride.

4G is widely used in the U.S., especially by Sprint and VZW for mobile WiMax and LTE, and so thatGs become standard usage. I think thatGs fair enough G it is a shift to a new generation of radio technology.

Interestingly thou, it doesnGt necessarily follow that there will be a huge difference in end-user experience between 3G (HSPA or EVDO) and 4G (LTE or WiMax).
wap545
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wap545,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:49 PM
re: ITU Approves New 4G Specs
I still have not got the answer to my question.
If I only have 12 or 20Mhz of the 700Mhz spectrum won in the US market and the new and future IMT-Adanced requires 40 and or 100Mhz of spectrum where do these folks get the additional spectrum ?
Missing something fundamental here.
Jim
IPobserver
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IPobserver,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:49 PM
re: ITU Approves New 4G Specs
It is a fundamental for the entire industry and is not specific to AT&T and VZW.

If youGre looking for the potential IMT Advanced bands, there are two charts here that identify candidate bands per WRC 2007.

http://www.unstrung.com/inside...

ThatGs not to say operators canGt do LTE in 700 MHz or AWS.
wap545
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wap545,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:44 PM
re: ITU Approves New 4G Specs
Thanks for the input. Very difficult to find folks that know what they are talking about vs. those spouting vendor propaganda.

Jim A
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