#TechExchange: The Architecture Behind Long Term Evolution (LTE)

Long Term Evolution (LTE) is a mobile network technology that is being deployed by mobile operators on both the GSM and the CDMA technology paths. Here in Zimbabwe, our own mobile operators such Econet Wireless, NetOne and Telecel have already begun rolling out 4G which is also under the LTE barcket.

By Cisco Eng.Shingie Lev Muringi 

Depending on the spectrum available, live LTE networks can deliver very fast data speeds of up to 100Mbps in the down-link and 50Mbps in the uplink.

LTE networks are designed to be backward-compatible with GSM and HSPA. They incorporate Multiple In Multiple Out (MIMO) technology, the Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) air interface in the downlink and Single Carrier FDMA in the uplink.

The Long Term Evolution networks encompasses all the next generation networks

The Long Term Evolution networks encompasses all the next generation networks

This combination provides high levels of spectral efficiency and network performance, coupled with high network capacity and low latency. Remember latency is the total time taken to route a data packet as it traverses over inter-networking devices along its way to the destination.

LTE will support spectrum channel bandwidths from 1.4 MHz to 20 MHz and can operate in both paired spectrum (in FDD mode) and unpaired spectrum (in TDD mode).

Although both LTE and WiMAX use the OFDMA air interface, LTE’s compatibility with existing GSM and HSPA networks enables mobile operators to continue to provide a seamless service across LTE and existing deployed networks.

LTE networks have now been launched by mobile operators in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America. In the U.S., the largest CDMA operator, Verizon Wireless, for example, launched commercial LTE services at the end of 2010.

LTE-Advanced is designed to enable a further step change in data rates. Incorporating higher order MIMO (4×4 and beyond) and allowing multiple carriers to be bonded together into a single stream, LTE-Advanced’s target is to achieve peak data rates of 1Gbps.

Other innovations being incorporated into LTE-Advanced include the use of non-contiguous frequency ranges (to alleviate congestion in the increasingly-crowded core spectrum bands), base stations that will be able to connect themselves to an operator’s network and the seamless integration of femtocells using so-called self-organizing network techniques.

Standards body 3GPP intends LTE-Advanced to be its technology candidate for the ITU-R IMT-Advanced process, which is intended to identify ‘4G’ technologies.

The battle for relevance continues…follow Shingie Levison Muringi our Technology Research Specialist and Deputy Editor on Twitter @ShingieMuringi1, Email [email protected] or direct Cell: 0775 380 652 for all the latest trending technological issues in and outside Zimbabwe.

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