Verizon talks up modulation technique used in LTE as a potential battery-saver

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

December 8, 2009

2 Min Read
Could LTE Offer Better Battery Life?

Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks could help improve device battery life -- at least in theory -- thanks to a radio technology that will be deployed by Verizon Wireless and others as the technology is launched in 2010 and beyond.

Unstrung wrote about Verizon's new LTE Website on Friday, highlighting possible real-world speeds for the technology and asking about the actual launch date for the initial markets.

Data speeds, however, are not the only aspect of the technology that Verizon is covering on its new site. The carrier also states that LTE will help improve power consumption requirements on mobile devices:

The SC-FDMA uplink transmission allows for user equipment to transmit low power signals without the need for expensive power amplifiers. Improvement in battery power consumption in end-user devices (UEs) is a side-benefit of the coverage and multipath/power performance advantages offered by LTE.

SC-FDMA, if you must know, stands for Single-Carrier Frequency-Division Multiple Access. It's a modulation scheme that the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has designed into LTE. The technology is a mechanism of splitting and re-combining uplink transmissions on a single channel that is expected to use less power than the rival Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) used in mobile WiMax. This WirelessMoves post is a useful summary if you want to dig deeper.

This means that LTE devices, whenever they actually arrive on the market, may offer better peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR) performance than WiMax devices, which are just hitting stores now. (See Sprint Reportedly Planning New WiMax Devices and Manic Mondi .)

What is not yet clear, however, is if the technology could help LTE devices offer improved battery life over today's cellular gadgets. Analysts have tended to predict that early LTE devices will be battery hungry because the initial silicon and hardware will suck down more power than 2G and 3G chipsets that have been refined over many generations of development. It will be interesting to see whether SC-FDMA can help offset this.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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