& 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
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, September 28, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit 101
Will Barkis, Senior Technology Analyst, Orange
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 30, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & the Great Migration
Robert Howald, Vice President, Network Architecture, Comcast
Wednesday, October 5, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & Smart Cities
Joe Kochan, COO & Co-Founder, US Ignite
Friday, October 7, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & DOCSIS 3.1
Ty Pearman, Director, Access Architecture, Comcast
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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 Documentaries
MEC Congress: The Key Takeaways

9|22|16   |   03:25   |   (3) comments


Three key takeaways from the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Congress in Munich, Germany.
Wagner’s Ring
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'

9|22|16   |     |   (12) comments


Service providers can't compete with OTT players. It just isn't in their DNA. Instead, service providers need to embrace what they're good at -- providing reliable, secure connectivity.
Wagner’s Ring
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50

9|21|16   |     |   (13) comments


How do you keep your career moving forward when you're past the half-century mark?
LRTV Interviews
Peering Into the Digital Future

9|20|16   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


Nick Thomas, practice leader of digital media at Ovum, talks about how digital transformation in the technology, media and telecom sectors will enable the development of a new range of applications and services for enterprises and consumers and how the upcoming Digital Futures event in London will examine ...
LRTV Custom TV
Napatech Tackles NFV's Major Challenge

9|7|16   |   08:42   |   (0) comments


One of the main challenges for network operators introducing NFV is to combine performance and flexibility in a cost-effective way, but there is a solution, explains Napatech's Dan Joe Barry.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Optical Innovation 2016

9|6|16   |     |   (0) comments


Highlights of the 2016 Huawei Optical Innovation forum.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Are You Ready for Huawei Connect 2016?

8|31|16   |     |   (0) comments


Join us for an exclusive sneak peak of Huawei Connect, an integrated conference for the global ICT ecosystem taking place in Shanghai.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: UXP's Gemini Waghmare

8|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
LRTV Custom TV
F5 Virtual Network Function Integrations With Partner Orchestration Platform

8|24|16   |   6:38   |   (0) comments


F5's Kishore Patnam, product manager for F5's service provider solutions, discusses why service providers are moving towards virtualization and how his clients are utilizing F5's solutions.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: Intel's Alexis Black Bjorlin

8|17|16   |   06:23   |   (0) comments


Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Accelerating Telecom Digital Transformation With Nominum DNS

8|1|16   |   12:04   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Steve Saunders gets an update from Nominum CEO Gary Messiana on how his company is helping carriers on the digital transformation journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/21/2016
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/22/2016
Comcast Will Go Wireless in 2017
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/20/2016
Sprint CEO: We'll Lease Spectrum as Soon as Possible
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/20/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
You Thought Your Customer Service Was Unreliable... Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.