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Monday, July 4, 2011

Short and Long-Term Visions of 4G


We are already living in a period of convergence where mobile communications, the Internet, computing, and broadcasting are becoming ubiquitous, but also, and equally important, these capabilities are supported by small, portable terminals. Internet and computing, once exclusively linked to large and fixed terminals (e.g., desktop computers), were gradually delivered to smaller devices like laptop and notebook computers.
4G will go one important step further: not only bringing these capabilities to smaller handheld terminals, but also making the connecting wires redundant everywhere, regardless of the terminal type. Also, from a broader perspective, we are witnessing convergence in different areas, as exemplified in the illustration below;
In fact, information convergence has a profound impact on network, device (terminal), and service convergence, and vice versa. Information convergence refers to the fact that different types of information, in different formats, can be supported by the same system (e.g., transport and access network and terminals). It also refers to the fusing of telecommunications and broadcasting. Service convergence indicates a temporal and spatial continuity in the provision of services, over networks, terminals, and operators. in the short term the path towards 4G will go through 3G evolution, corresponding to the B3G period, as shown on the roadmap in below.
The B3G technology roadmap can be envisioned either by cellular-based, 2G, 3G, and B3G or nomadic-based, IEEE 802.11 (WLAN), 802.16 (WiMAX and WiBro). 3GPP and 3GPP2 have been active recently in the 3G evolution standards work, and both target the third quarter of 2007 for completion of 3GPP/2 evolution standards. ITU is actively studying global spectrum allocation for 4G in WRC-07, and with WRC-07 global spectrum results, a long-term 4G standard may start with both evolutionary and revolutionary approaches. Research and business interest in future 4G systems is globally increasing and extensive research in various fields of 4G is progressing through WWRF and regional/national 4G research fora. New services and killer applications are crucial for differentiating 4G from 3G. For advanced high-speed multimedia services and applications, an IP-centric simplified network architecture is essential to reduce the infrastructure cost. IP networking is also fundamental to provide seamless connectivity in heterogeneous networks. In Korea, the IEEE-802.16e-based WiBro service is already operation. It can be considered that 3GPP and 3GPP2 evolution as well as IEEE 802.16e evolution paths towards 4G as a short-term development. In addition, already started parallel developments targeting very high data throughputs for nomadic and mobile environments (e.g., 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps, respectively) based on multicarrier modulation techniques (e.g., OFDM, MC-CDMA) and using a yet-to-be-defined frequency spectrum are seen as the long-term vision of 4G.the illustration below illustrates the evolution of 3G standards towards 4G.




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