Recent Tests Advance 4G Technology

LOS ANGELES — A recent series of trials by Nokia Siemens Networks is paving the way for the fourth generation of mobile broadband devices.

The Long Term Evolution (LTE) program, offering data rates of up to 173 megabits per second, is poised as a successor to 3G systems.

LTE is competing for the 4G crown with mobile WiMax, which offers speeds of up to 70Mbps and enjoys more mature technology.

For comparison, HSDPA offers 7.2Mbps mobile broadband speeds; the fastest currently available.

LTE and mobile WiMax both employ OFDM modulation and multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology, which uses multiple antennas to increase speed.

LTE and mobile WiMax are now part of the 3GPP standards family, raising the possibility that both technologies will be used in 4G.

The LTE multi-user field trial was conducted in Berlin, consuming 20MHz of bandwidth from the 2.6GHz spectrum - a space that will be available in a competitive auction to be held next year in the U.K..

According to Nokia Siemens Networks, the recent trial confirmed "that LTE performance requirements can be met using 3GPP standardized technologies and it realized data rates of more than 100Mbps over distances of several hundred meters, while maintaining excellent throughput at the edge of typical urban mobile radio cells."

Stephan Scholz, Nokia Siemens Networks CTO, described the trial as an "important initial proof of concept for LTE" and a milestone in the company's plans to offer service to five billion users by 2015.

"We can demonstrate that LTE meets the high expectations set for this new technology," said Matthias Reiss, Nokia Siemens Networks head of LTE. "Most importantly, we now have evidence that future LTE networks can run on existing base station sites and mobile operators can build LTE networks without requiring new antenna sites."

While LTE offers the much greater speeds that would be welcome by adult mobile multimedia publishers seeking the ultimate user experience, the slower mobile WiMax technology is currently available on a limited number of devices, setting the stage for another replay of the VHS vs. Beta wars.