LTE: An Introduction

Feature Article


The following excerpt is the executive summary of a 2007 Ericsson White paper entitled, Long Term Evolution (LTE): an introduction.

LTE: An Introduction

Mobile broadband is becoming a reality, as the Internet generation grows accustomed to having broadband access wherever they go, and not just at home or in the office. Out of the estimated 1.8 billion people who will have broadband by 2012, some two-thirds will be mobile broadband consumers — and the majority of these will be served by HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) and LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks.

People can already browse the Internet or send e-mails using HSPA-enabled notebooks, replace their fixed DSL modems with HSPA modems or USB dongles, and send and receive video or music using 3G phones. With LTE, the user experience will be even better. It will further enhance more demanding applications like interactive TV, mobile video blogging, advanced games or professional services.

LTE offers several important benefits for consumers and operators: Performance and capacity - One of the requirements on LTE is to provide downlink peak rates of at least 100Mbit/s. The technology allows for speeds over 200Mbit/s and Ericsson has already demonstrated LTE peak rates of about 150Mbit/s. Furthermore, RAN (Radio Access Network) round-trip times shall be less than 10ms. In effect, this means that LTE — more than any other technology — already meets key 4G requirements.

Simplicity - First, LTE supports flexible carrier bandwidths, from below 5MHz up to 20MHz. LTE also supports both FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) and TDD (Time Division Duplex). Ten paired and four unpaired spectrum bands have so far been identified by 3GPP for LTE. And there are more bands to come. This means that an operator may introduce LTE in ‘new’ bands where it is easiest to deploy 10MHz or 20MHz carriers, and eventually deploy LTE in all bands.

Second, LTE radio network products will have a number of features that simplify the building and management of next-generation networks. For example, features like plug-and-play, self-configuration and self-optimization will simplify and reduce the cost of network roll-out and management.

Third, LTE will be deployed in parallel with simplified, IP-based core and transport networks that are easier to build, maintain and introduce services on.

Wide range of terminals - in addition to mobile phones, many computer and consumer electronic devices, such as notebooks, ultra-portables, gaming devices and cameras, will incorporate LTE embedded modules. Since LTE supports hand-over and roaming to existing mobile networks, all these devices can have ubiquitous mobile broadband coverage from day one.

In summary, operators can introduce LTE flexibly to match their existing network, spectrum and business objectives for mobile broadband and multimedia services.

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