Portable, faster, smaller are the trends in the digital world. Once the computing power required a roomsized machine. Now it can be found in laptops and handheld devices, and you can put stacks of CDs in your pocket in the form of a portable media player. The same trends affect the cellular market, and pose some interesting engineering challenges. Cellular long term evolution (LTE) is the next step forward in cellular 3G services. With an expected market rollout in the 2009 time frame, LTE technology is a based on a 3GPP standard that provides for a downlink speed of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and an uplink speed of up to 50 Mbps. With multiple antennas, speeds can reach more than 320 Mbps on the downlink. Fixed wireless and wired standards are already approaching or achieving 100 Mbps or faster, and LTE is a way for cellular communications to operate at that high data rate.
LTE is designed to increase the spectral efficiency of existing 3G networks, enabling network operators to serve more customers and provide more services. This efficiency could also help increase the average revenue per user as consumers may spend more time on handsets. Because LTE is a 3GPP standard, an upgrade path is laid out for operators who already use WCDMA networks. When new LTE systems are introduced, operators can use the exact same sites as today's base stations.
Freescale has innovative solutions for advancing the availability of LTE:
* The highest performance DSP in the base station market able to handle the enormous data rates that LTE demands.
* Scalability from 1.25 MHz to 20 MHz giving network operators the opportunity to take full advantage of LTE capabilities.
* Production-ready, optimized solutions available through our ODM/EMS partners and third-party ecosystem.
* Ultra-efficient processors specifically designed to handle the computationally intensive processing requirements of LTE data flow.
* Multi-mode transmitters flexible enough to handle 2G through 4G, providing a cost effective migration path to the future.
* Base station offerings to power LTE pico base stations, macro base stations and everything in between.
Cell phones and handheld devices are the new media centers, with access to music, photos, games, video and a host of connectivity options. Emerging cellular standards such as High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) are already enabling multi-call capabilities on handsets and IP multimedia subsystem services such as push-to-share and multi-player gaming.
LTE should provide several technical enhancements that will improve the market for services such as voice-over-IP (VoIP) and videoconferencing. High downlink rates will be important for two-way bandwidth-intensive communications such as videoconferencing. Network latency will also improve, from as much as 200 milliseconds today to 5–10 milliseconds with LTE. Latency is a key network metric for enabling services that involve voice, which is very sensitive to transmission delays.
Because LTE is a 3GPP standard, an upgrade path is laid out for operators who already use WCDMA networks. It is already the case that some network operators can upgrade to the High Speed Download Packet Access (HSDPA) standard with little capital expense, depending on the age of their equipment. When new LTE systems are introduced, carriers will use the exact same sites as today’s base stations, because real estate for base stations is difficult and expensive to obtain and because carriers need to maintain their existing coverage patterns. Standards-based upgrades will allow carriers to keep their existing cell tower sites.
Freescale provides five key ingredients for LTE success in consumer enabled devices:
* Integrated front-end converters
* Software expertise
* A-to-D and D-to-A wideband converters
* Power amplifier efficiency in RF
The long term evolution of cellular technology has tremendous potential. Compelling services over fast networks will have profound effects on the way we do business and go about our daily lives. Although the technical challenges are many, Freescale is constantly working on the solutions that will pave the road to the broadband future.
Source: Long Term Evolution
Read the Italian version: Super 3G - evoluzione a lungo termine (LTE) della Freescale. Quanto è importante l'LTE?
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