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4G Standards War: LTE vs WiMAX

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Not my best paper but a pretty good look at the standards and the possible outcome.

Publicada em: Tecnologia, Negócios
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4G Standards War: LTE vs WiMAX

  1. 1. SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY4th Generation Mobile Communication Standards Competition Manan Kakkar 4/9/2012
  2. 2. Manan Kakkar 1IST 755Table of Contents4G and 4G LTE........................................................................................................................... 2Network Effects......................................................................................................................... 2Complementary Assets and Ecosystem ......................................................................................... 2Competing Standards ................................................................................................................. 3Outcome .................................................................................................................................. 4Bibliography.............................................................................................................................. 5
  3. 3. Manan Kakkar 2IST 7554G and 4G LTEThe rapid proliferation of smartphones, 47.3% growth in 2011 over 2010 (Gartner, 2012), has led to theneed for faster Internet speeds. The Internet usage has increased in proportion with the growth inmobile users (eMarketer Digital Intelligence, 2011). The Internet speeds on the phones have improved.The evolution has been from GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), EDGE, to 3rd Generation (3G) andnow the industry buzzword 4th Generation (4G).The term 4G is being distorted by the telecom companies. According to the InternationalTelecommunications Union (ITU), a United Nations body, ratifies standards has not defined what is 4G.As of now, there are two popular standards that are under the International Telecommunications UnionRadiocommunication Sector’s (ITU-R) consideration—Long Term Evolution Advanced (LTE-Advanced)and WiMAX. According to ITU-R, IMT-Advanced is the 4G technical term (ITU Newsroom, 2010). The twostandards have technical differences and different groups backing the two standards. LTE has severaloperators adopting the technology with more OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers).LTE is being backed by 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project). LTE Release 8 by the 3GPP meets theITU-R’s IMT-Advanced requirements. The technical specifications of LTE are mentioned further in thearticle.Network EffectsIn the US, Sprint started with WiMAX but now has moved to LTE (Bonnington, 2011). In addition toSprint, AT&T and Verizon have deployed LTE (AT&T, 2012) and (Verizon Wireless). This has led LTEhaving an edge over WiMAX when it comes to mobile phone Internet. The carriers have the leadingphone manufacturers (HTC, Samsung, Motorola and Nokia) developing LTE devices.As more carriers adopt LTE and sell more LTE compatible 4G devices, the standard will have a networkeffect resulting in other carriers opting for LTE.The network effects due to the standard war will be moderate to high.Complementary Assets and EcosystemAs Internet on mobile devices gets faster, there is growing emphasis on battery needed to power thedevices. Additional phone batteries, battery packs and mobile chargers are going to play an importantrole. Phone devices being designed to house bigger batteries is another option for the ecosystemplayers. New phone designs and better battery life leads to newer phone accessories, more contentconsumption which leads to more game and music sales; faster speeds compound to the possibility ofmore content consumption.As for the carriers, deploying LTE equipment and upgrading their existing infrastructure.
  4. 4. Manan Kakkar 3IST 755Competing StandardsWiMAX is the biggest competitor to LTE. WiMAX is based on the IEEE 802.16 standard and the currentimplementation is IEEE 802.16m. Sprint’s subsidiary—Clearwire has been the biggest WiMAX player inthe US. IEEE 802.16m meets the ITU-R’s IMT-Advanced requirements, however, the equipmentdeployed is IEEE 802.16e—predecessor to 802.18m (Abichar, Chang, & Hsu, 2010). LTE uses OFDMA fordownlink (downloading content to the phone from the network) and SC-FDMA for uplink (uploadingfrom the phone to the network). WiMAX, on the other hand, uses OFDMA for uplink and downlink. Notgoing into the technical details about the two, both standards use similar basic principles. The coredifference is in the frames (2 to 20 ms frames for WiMAX and 10ms for LTE). Besides, the frames, thetechnical difference is in how data is uploaded. As phones run on battery, they have little power toamplify signals. Extensive battery power being utilized for uploading content is harmful for deviceperformance. OFDMA as a technology needs signal amplification more than SC-FDMA, hence WiMAXhas a shortcoming. Since base stations have their own power source, use of OFDMA for downlink doesnot affect mobile device battery consumption (Abichar, Chang, & Hsu, 2010).While, both LTE and WiMAX, consume more battery, engineers have put in mechanisms to conservebattery. In WiMAX, the deployment is called “Sleep Mode.” The implementation has three types: 1, 2and 3. LTE Discontinued Transmission and Discontinued Reception (DTX and DRX). In LTE, the transceiverradio module is turned ON or OFF. WiMAX has been commercially available since 2004 hence has aconsiderable user base in industries other than mobile telephony.Figure 1 LTE and WiMAX technical specifications (Abichar, Chang, & Hsu, 2010)In the US, carriers are promoting HSPA+ as 4G. AT&T and Apple are displaying HSPA+ as 4G on the newiPhone 4S devices (Kovach, 2012). T-Mobile, is promoting their 42Mbps HSPA+ (Release 8)
  5. 5. Manan Kakkar 4IST 755implementation as 4G. According to a presentation by Qualcomm, HSPA+ Release 10 will offer LTEspeeds (Qualcomm).OutcomeSome existing WiMAX equipment can be made LTE compatible with software updates (Wireless, 2011);this is a huge advantage for LTE over WiMAX. As a result, operators who deploy or have deployedWiMAX, can update their infrastructure to LTE eventually. In addition to some hardware beingupgradeable, there are other technical solutions that bring LTE and WiMAX on the same chip.Demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress 2010, Beceem Communications’ BCS500 supports WiMAXstandards 802.16e and 802.16m, and LTE Release 8 (Kassner, 2010).WiMAX is gaining some adoption in countries like India for wireless broadband Internet (Kakkar, 2011).The two standards can co-exist. With LTE and LTE-Advanced being deployed for mobile Internetsolutions and WiMAX being used for wireless broadband Internet connectivity.
  6. 6. Manan Kakkar 5IST 755BibliographyAbichar, Z., Chang, J. M., & Hsu, C.-Y. (2010). WiMAX vs. LTE: Who Will Lead the Broadband Mobile Internet? ITPro.AT&T. (2012, February 15). 4G LTE From AT&T Available in Tampa-St. Petersburg Area. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from AT&T: http://www.att.com/gen/press- room?pid=22391&cdvn=news&newsarticleid=33862&mapcode=wireless-networks- general|consumerBonnington, C. (2011, October 7). So Long, WiMax: Sprint Confirms LTE Rollout by 2013. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from Wired Gadget Blog: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/10/sprint-lte-rollout- 2013/eMarketer Digital Intelligence. (2011, August 4). Two in Five Mobile Owners Use Internet on the Go. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from eMarkerter Digital Intelligence: http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008553Gartner. (2012, February 15). Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales Soared in Fourth Quarter of 2011 With 47 Percent Growth. Retrieved APril 9, 2012, from Gartner: http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1924314ITU Newsroom. (2010, October 12). ITU-R IMT-Advanced 4G standards to usher new era of mobile broadband communications. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from International Telecommunication Union Newsroom: http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2010/40.aspxKakkar, M. (2011, January 20). Wired and wireless broadband in India, the next big thing. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from ZDNet: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/india/wired-and-wireless-broadband-in-india- the-next-big-thing/331Kassner, M. (2010, February 19). LTE or WiMAX: Why not both? Retrieved April 9, 2012, from Tech Republic: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/networking/lte-or-wimax-why-not-both/2653Kovach, S. (2012, March 8). The Ridiculous Trick AT&T And Apple Are Playing On iPhone 4S Owners. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from Business Insider: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03- 08/tech/31135146_1_4g-lte-network-hspa-networkQualcomm. (n.d.). HSPA+ is Everywhere. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from Qaulcomm: http://www.qualcomm.com/solutions/wireless-networks/technologies/hspa-plusVerizon Wireless. (n.d.). LTE Information Center. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from Verizon Wireless: http://news.verizonwireless.com/LTE/Overview.htmlWireless. (2011, January 27). LTE vs WiMAX. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from Wireless - Wireless Communications For Public Services And Private Enterprises : http://www.wireless- mag.com/Features/10714/The_future_of_4G__LTE_vs_WiMAX.aspx

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