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Monday, September 12, 2011

Mobile BroadBand Explosion: 3GPP Broadband Evolution to IMT-Advanced

The mobile broadband market has exploded thanks to widespread adoption, powerful new networks, marvelous new handheld devices, and more than half a million mobile applications. Mobile broadband now represents the leading edge in innovation and development for computing, networking, Internet technology, and software. Major developments this past year include not only 3rd Generation (3G) ubiquity, but rapid initial deployment of 4th Generation (4G) networks, deepening smartphone capability; the availability of hundreds of thousands of mobile applications; the maturing of new form factors such as tablets; a better understanding of what the industry needs to do to address exponentially growing data demands; and acknowledgment by industry and government of the need for more spectrum.

Most of the wireless industry has even redefined the meaning and marketing of the term “4G,” allowing 2011 to be the year of widespread 4G deployment through technologies such as High Speed Packet Access Evolved (HSPA+), Long Term Evolution (LTE), and Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX). Through constant innovation, Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) with HSPA technology has established itself as the global, mobile-broadband solution. Building on the phenomenal success of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), the GSM HSPA ecosystem has become the most successful communications technology family ever. Through a process of constant improvement, the GSM/Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) family of technologies has not only matched or exceeded the capabilities of all competing approaches, but has significantly extended the life of each of its member technologies. HSPA remains strongly positioned to be the dominant mobile-data technology for the next five to ten years. To leverage operator investments in HSPA, the 3GPP standards body has developed a series of enhancements to create “HSPA Evolution,” also referred to as “HSPA+.” HSPA+ represents a logical development of the Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) approach, and it is the stepping stone to an entirely new 3GPP radio platform called 3GPP LTE. LTE, which uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), is seeing widening deployment this year. Simultaneously, 3GPP—recognizing the significant worldwide investments in GSM networks—has significantly increased Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) data capabilities through an effort called Evolved EDGE. Combined with these improvements in radio-access technology, 3GPP has also spearheaded the development of major core-network architecture enhancements such as the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), the Evolved Packet Core (EPC), previously called System Architecture Evolution (SAE), and more sophisticated means of integrating non-3GPP networks such as Wi-Fi. These developments will facilitate: increased capacity, new types of services, the integration of legacy and new networks, the convergence of fixed and wireless systems, and the transition to packet-switched voice. The result is a balanced portfolio of complementary technologies that covers both radioaccess and core networks, provides operators maximum flexibility in how they enhance their networks over time, and supports both voice and data services. This paper discusses the evolution of EDGE, HSPA enhancements, LTE, the capabilities of these technologies, and their position relative to other primary competing technologies. It explains how these technologies fit into the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) roadmap that leads to International Mobile Telecommunications-Advanced (IMT Advanced) and beyond. READ ON!!!!!!

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