Verizon Wireless expects to begin deploying next-generation LTE (Long-Term Evolution) wireless broadband within a year. The 4G race is on for quick LTE deployment, after Japan's NTT Docomo said last month it would offer such a network commercially in 2010.
Another motivator is the venture from Sprint and Clearwire, who are working together on their 4G Wimax. They opened their first network to customers in Baltimore, offering internet service for laptops for $45 per month. It's the first commercial network in the US to use Wimax technology for mobile customers.
Compared with more mainstream cellular broadband technology, Wimax provides fast downloads and is cheap to deploy. Sprint is betting on the technology, championed by Intel, to give it a few years' head start before cellular broadband catches up.
This week, Dick Lynch, executive vice president and chief technology officer of Verizon Communications, said in a speech at Cisco Systems' C-Scape conference in San Jose, California, that Verizon expects its LTE will be in service somewhere in the US, probably by this time next year. Lynch said that femtocells for LTE, or an access point of a Wifi network, are critical components of the way customers want their broadband delivered.
A femtocell talks to the native mobile radio in a phone or other device that is normally used on a cellular network. However, as an added feature, Verizon's femtocells probably will include built-in Wifi, Lynch added. That radio might be used by other devices in the home that don't have cellular radios.
Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon and Vodafone, chose LTE despite using CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) today, in order to have a consistent 4G technology around the world.
In late September, T-Mobile announced with its technology partner, Nortel, that together they successfully demonstrated, under real-world conditions, next-generation mobile communications (NGMN). T-mobile claimed then it was the first wireless network operator company to successfully demonstrate the use of LTE technology.
LTE technology is based on the UMTS/HSPA family of standards. LTE is expected to be used by many wireless carriers to provide their customers the next-generation of wireless broadband. The evolution has been from GPRS (the first packet technology giving around 128KBps), to EDGE (an enhanced version offering around 240KBps), to the introduction of 3G networks increasing the data rate to 384KBps. The goal of LTE technologies is to deliver a home cable broadband experience to your mobile phone or notebook. LTE proponents often claim peak delivery download speeds of 100MBps.
LTE currently has an advantage over Wimax because it is designed to be compatible with both Time Division Duplex (TDD) and Frequency Division Duplex (FDD), the two main legacy techniques for dividing downlink and uplink communication channels on the same transmission platform. Wimax, on the other hand, is only compatible with TDD so far.
LTE will likely appear in versions that require 10 or 20MHz per channel. Where new frequency bands are available, LTE is the preferred choice. This is the strategy Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility are expected to adopt in the AWS and 700MHz bands, and what European operators will do with 2.6GHz spectrum from 2012 onwards.
Lynch said that Verizon will deploy 100GBps links on their network backbone by this time next year. He said that they may also cache some content close to subscribers' locations to reduce long-haul transport. Verizon's R&D staff are known to be exploring peer-to-peer technology for delivery of some content to its customers. X
Forget 3G and 3.5G it's all 4G now
Intel promotes Wimax in India