Company unleashes 'raw power' of Long Term Evolution at Canadian R&D facility
July 1, 2009
MONTREAL -A critical piece of Ericsson’s long-term product strategy, namely the Long Term Evolution or LTE, is quickly moving closer to a full-scale rollout.
At a recent media tour at the company’s sprawling R&D facility in the suburb of Mount Royal, it was put on display as part of a series of demonstrations that showcased the technology.
According to the company, out of the 1.8 billion people who will have broadband by 2012, some two-thirds will be mobile broadband consumers. The majority will be served by HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) and LTE, the 4G technology that will proceed it.
Two days before the demonstrations, which took place adjacent to the R&D facility in a fully loaded trailer named the Ericsson Mobile Experience Tour, the company and Swedish mobile and broadband operator TeliaSonera unveiled the world’s first commercial LTE site in Stockholm. Scheduled to go live next year, Ulf Ewaldsson, vice president and head of Product Area Radio at Ericsson, said the introduction shows that LTE is no longer the story of the future, it is the story of today.
The technology will offer downlink speeds exceeding 100 Mbps in the near term to residents of Stockholm, which the two companies noted is far above what is possible in today’s mobile broadband networks.
“With reduced latency (which is the time it takes for a message to travel from an end-user device to data network and back again) users will enjoy shorter response times for interactive applications such as mobile office and gaming, as well as fast Internet access for audio and video downloads,” a recent Ericsson white paper states.
“Additionally, the faster uplink will improve user experience of mobile broadband services such as video conferencing, uploading user-generated content and sending e-mail with attachments.”
In the technology trailer, which con- tained 3G and 4G technology, fixed broadband, IPTV and end user devices, Keith Shank, the company’s Director of Advanced Technology Labs based in Plano, Tex., demonstrated the speed of LTE through two distinct downloads. The first involved starting up four high-definition movies simultaneously running at 20 Mbps downlink speed. He then added a 100 MB file running at 62 Mpbs.
His next demonstration, which he described as not pretty, but an example of the raw power of LTE, involved the simultaneous download of nine 100 MB files at a downlink speed of 169 Mbps. It took roughly 90 seconds.
“Why are we looking at this type of bandwidth?” he asked. “I believe you are going to see devices built into systems and not necessarily as phones by themselves. You will see them built into homes, built into cars, built into systems, machine-to-machine — a lot of people using a lot of bandwidth.”
The whole message about LTE, he added, is that “we can open up the pipes.”
It could also result in significant spend. In early July, ABI Research projected that wireless operators will invest an estimated US$3.3 billion in LTE base stations in 2011.
“Vendors will be shipping base station equipment in significant quantities in 2010 ahead of limited trials that typically last about a year, followed by full commercial launches,” said Nadine Manjaro, a senior analyst with ABI.
Hampshire, U. K.-based Jupiter Research, meanwhile, estimates that the number of LTE subscribers will exceed 100 million by 2014. A new report from the firm found that market numbers will be “buoyed by the embedding” of broadband capabilities within consumer electronics devices such as MP3 players, Netbooks and digital cameras.
“There is intense activity in the LTE market right now with in excess of 30 network operator commitments,” said Howard Wilcox, author of the report. “Operators and vendors alike are moving rapidly to jump on the road to LTE, attracted by the connectivity-based opportunities that the technology offers.”