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LTE-Advanced could be finalized this week

3GPP meets in Taiwan to complete spec for 1Gbps system, as industry interest waxes

LTE-Advanced managed to take a prominent role at last week’s Mobile World Congress, even though its predecessor is only deployed in a dozen places and it is not yet officially a standard. The wireless community aims to put that right this week, though, in a conference in Taiwan aiming to bring the purportedly 1Gbps system to completion. That could see the specs frozen as early as Friday, opening the way for companies to design their first products.

About 800 representatives from all the main mobile vendors – and many more – will attend a 3GPP standards meeting in Taipei, looking to accelerate the progress of the next LTE specification, one that has already been accepted by the ITU as an official IMT-Advanced platform, along with WiMAX2. These technologies are supposed to achieve 1Gbps when stationary and 100Mbps when mobile, though of course it remains to be seen just how ideal the conditions need to be to make that happen in real life. It is clear, however, that the appetite for ‘true 4G’ (as opposed to the various systems now marketed under that banner) may be whetted earlier than expected, given the race to add mobile data and broadband capacity while adopting more affordable and modern network designs – LTE-Advanced is heavily focused on small cells and the kind of deconstructed RANs that Alcatel-Lucent and others were showcasing in Barcelona.

Indeed, the standards setters need to move quickly, since several vendors and institutions are already claiming LTE-Advanced products – Nokia Siemens offered a compelling demonstration of the pre-standard, complete with multicarrier support across non-contiguous bands, at MWC, while Korea’s ETSI research body has carried out several demoes of its own.

Another government sponsored laboratory with significant LTE-Advanced activity, Taiwan’s ITRI, is hosting the 3GPP summit and its wireless communications director, Feng Wen-Sheng, pointed out that LTE-Advanced applications will go far beyond consumer services and handsets or tablets. The technology will be important in giving machines a new way to communicate among themselves, he said, for instance by using temperature sensitive sensors in emergency situations.

“Mobile voice technology is pretty advanced already, so this time it’s all about data transfers,” Feng told IDG News. “We’ve been trying to get LTE-Advanced out there for some time, and in Taipei we expect to confirm a final version.”

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