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Upgrade to WiMAX 2 uncertain as TD-LTE gains in momentum!

June 30, 2010

Here’s the concluding part of the Maravedis seminar on Mobile WiMAX Deployment and Migration/Upgrade Strategies.

Robert Syputa of Maravedis focused on the evolving technology and market landscape. He said, the landscape features skyrocketing wireless broadband demand, such as the iPhone. That’s also translating into fixed broadband networks. ‘Hot’web devices would drive the industry growth. Also, the WiMAX IC vendors were the first to market with LTE.

Some other features of this landscape include multiple-mode WiMAX/LTE: extend or transition? Also, the WiMAX operators have been indicating a shift to LTE. Finally, the upgrade to WiMAX 2 was uncertain as TD-LTE was gaining in momentum. It is still early to tell what the commitments to WiMAX 2.0 would be.

Definitely, the early 4G adoption trend is exceeding many operator’s expectations due to broadband traffic demand.

Commenting on the deployment considerations, he said the fit of wireless technologies would be according to the market needs. This would take into consideration factors such as degree of mobility and roaming, build or migration to flat IP, and response to competition with 3G/LTE.

Some points to consider for device and network upgrades and migration include: how to migrate devices from WiMAX to LTE, changes in core networks, and impact of SONs, femtocell. The degree selected market is driven by mobile web devices. Maravedis also listed various candidate bands identified for IMT.

Who will follow WiMAX?
So, who will likely follow the WiMAX path? According to Syputa, these would be many of the greenfield operators, operators with local industry requirements, vertical applications, and semi-licensed deployments.

The 3GPP(2) operators will likely follow the LTE path! There will be a lower probability to adopt WiMAX 2.0, but there may be a need for some WiMAX collaboration. Also, there could be an availability of heterogenous networks, and some symbiosis with LTE. the caveat: the market is in a state of flux as LTE looms!

Avait Networks happens to be the no. 1 as the WiMAX infrastructure market share leader in India ((>42 percent), besides being a global leader in wireless backhaul network evolution. It has installed over 500,000 systems globally.

Jonathan Jaeger, WiMAX Solutions Marketing, at Aviat Networks discussed the mobile WiMAX deployment and migration/upgrade strategies and highlighted the critical elements of migration/upgrade. Note that ALL elements are necessary for success. These are: Spectrum/technology — frequency, channel size, bandwidth, and WiMAX release 2 (802.16m) or TD-LTE; mobile/subscriber stations/base stations — baseband and radio/antenna, and ASN-GW/network elements.

Migration/upgrade decisions
According to him, 16m/TD-LTE migrations/upgrades are not viable options for all operators. All elements listed by him are said to be necessary for success. Operators also need to focus on the frequency, amount of spectrum, services, installed base of devices, system architectures. There is a need to also focus on 16e ‘Enhanced.’

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