& cplSiteName &

WiMax vs. LTE: The Rematch

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
10/7/2009
50%
50%

Think the battle between WiMax and Long Term Evolution (LTE) is over? Think again.

The WiMax and LTE camps are rallying forces again to win the hearts and minds of operators for future mobile broadband networks. This time, the wireless groups are competing for acceptance at the International Telecommunication Union, Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) as the primary standard for IMT-Advanced (that's 4G to you and me). (See ITU Approves New 4G Specs and Wireless Camps Prep Fresh 4G Battle.)

Today is an important deadline for documents to be submitted to the ITU-R so that the technology candidates can be considered, and both the WiMax and LTE supporters have met this deadline. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) has submitted documents for its candidate 802.16m (a.k.a. WiMax Release 2), and the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has submitted documents for LTE-Advanced.

What happens next is a long evaluation process -- expected to take at least until October 2010 -- which formally kicks off at a meeting in Dresden, Germany, next Wednesday. During that time, the ITU will consider whether or not each of the technologies meets the IMT-Advanced requirements.

Both camps claim they do meet those requirements, of course.

First, to douse some of the confusion here, today's WiMax and LTE networks are not technically 4G, strictly speaking, but since they are so commonly referred to in that way the label has stuck. (NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) is an exception here because it refers to its LTE network as "Super 3G.") The "real" 4G, defined by these IMT-Advanced requirements, are what the WiMax 802.16m and LTE-Advanced camps are striving to meet.

The key characteristics of IMT-Advanced are downlink speeds of 100 Mbit/s in the wide area with high mobility and 1 Gbit/s in low-mobility scenarios; low latency at less than 10 millisecond roundtrip delay; and very wide spectrum bandwidths of up to 100 MHz.

WiMax grows up
At the ITU Telecom World 2009 show in Geneva this week, the WiMAX Forum has been hyping the development of 802.16m (or WiMax Release 2.0). (See Forum Backs WiMax 2.)

And proving that the war of words isn't over, the Forum refers to WiMax Release 2 as "short-term evolution." [Ed. note: Get it?] The Forum says the technology is expected to be commercially available in the 2011-to-2012 timeframe.

The Forum claims that WiMax Release 2 can achieve 120 Mbit/s downlink and 60 Mbit/s uplink in an urban scenario using 4x2 MIMO (Multiple-Input/Multiple-Output) on a 20MHz-wide channel.

The first operator trials of WiMax Release 2 will start next year. Russian operator Yota announced in Geneva that it will start trialing the 802.16m technology in late 2010 with equipment from Samsung Corp. , its sole provider of 802.16e infrastructure. (See Yota Trials WiMax 2.0.)

Yota CEO Dennis Sverdlov said at a WiMax Forum press conference in Geneva yesterday that 802.16m is needed for additional capacity, as Yota does not place usage limits on its customers and the use of video applications is growing.

Yota currently has 200,000 customers who, on average, download 10 gigabytes of data each month -- that’s 2 petabytes of data per month going downstream across Yota’s network -- and it’s adding about 2,300 new customers each day. The operator can handle this level of traffic because it has built its own fiber backhaul network for its urban rollouts that give each cell site 200 Mbit/s of backhaul. The operator has also started using DragonWave Inc. (AIM/Toronto: DWI; Nasdaq: DRWI)'s microwave backhaul gear in less dense coverage areas. (See DragonWave Backhauls Yota's WiMax.)

Could WiMax and LTE ever merge?
Some scuttlebutt from Geneva that has reached Unstrung's ears involves the possible blending of WiMax and LTE via the IMT-Advanced evaluation process. One possibility for such a technology merger could see the 802.16m standard becoming the time division duplex (TDD) version of LTE-Advanced. However, the achievement of such an outcome is considered to need more political, rather than technical, work.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP’s Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it’s going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Innovations in Cable

5|26|16   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Marc Aldrich from Cisco discusses the latest in security, the evolution and momentum for CCAP and what the industry will be seeing next from Cisco.
LRTV Documentaries
Leading Lights 2016 Highlights

5|25|16   |   02:26   |   (1) comment


Some of the high points from this year's Leading Lights awards dinner at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2016

5|23|16   |   05:43   |   (0) comments


Find out who has been welcomed into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE TM Forum Highlights

5|23|16   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcased its new ICT solutions at TM Forum in Nice.
LRTV Interviews
Gamma's MD on the Emergence of UC2

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Gamma Communications Managing Director David Macfarlane believes the unified communications (UC) market has reached a tipping point.
LRTV Custom TV
The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Digital Customer Engagement

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this short video, you will hear all about how Digital Customer Engagement is the key to meeting customer expectations, keeping them happy, and maximizing revenue. VP Product & Marketing at Pontis, Ofer Razon, breaks down for us the five essential capabilities for successful Digital Customer Engagement. Don’t miss!
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 1 – NFV Use Cases Get Real

5|19|16   |   05:57   |   (0) comments


Consensus is building around the key use cases for NFV, including managed IP services at the network edge and on customer premises, which can generate new revenues from enterprises/SMBs and consumers; Evolved Packet Core to support LTE migration; and adjacent technologies, such as TAS and IMS, to support VoLTE and next-generation charging and policy control ...
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 3

5|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang discusses the challenges of operational transformation and how Nokia helps its customers. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Why UC Is In Demand

5|17|16   |   04:12   |   (1) comment


Andrew Edison, Level 3's senior VP of sales, EMEA region, talks about the drivers of growth in the unified communications services market.
LRTV Custom TV
ARM's OPNFV Action

5|17|16   |     |   (0) comments


At the ARM booth at MWC 2016, Joe Kidder and Bob Monkman speak to Light Reading about OPNFV and their upcoming action.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 2

5|16|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang gives advice to service providers on how to move to NFV. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity

5|13|16   |   06:46   |   (1) comment


Matt Finnie, CTO at international operator Interoute, explains how NFV has made life easier in terms of logistics and how Interoute can now enable a 'software-defined moment' for its customers.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
December 6-8, 2016,
June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
DT: Telcos Must Escape Vendor Prison
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/24/2016
AT&T to Start 5G 'Friendly' Trial by 2016 End
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/24/2016
Cisco's Patel Hails 'Microculture' Successes
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/26/2016
AT&T's Margaret Chiosi Retires
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 5/25/2016
Cable Is Eyeing Its Retail Options
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.