4G: Officially it's Wimax2, LTE-Advanced

Caroline Gabriel/Rethink Wireless
22 Oct 2010

AT&T's SVP of network planning, Kristin Rinne, raised a cheer at the 4G World show when she ended a presentation on LTE strategy by looking ahead to LTE-Advanced, and saying the marketing folks would certainly be calling it “5G”.

With T-Mobile even marketing HSPA+ (officially 3.5G) as 4G, it is easy to forget that “true 4G” is still far away. The picture was clarified somewhat this week, though, by the ITU's Radiocomms sector (ITU-R0, which chose LTE-Advanced and Wimax2 (802.16m) as its official platforms for the “real” 4G standard, IMT-Advanced.

The two platforms - officially called 3GPP LTE Release 10 & Beyond, and WirelessMAN-Advanced - will need to achieve 100Mbps download with high mobility and wide area coverage; 1Gbps download when stationary; with low latency of under 10ms round-trip delay; and with wide spectrum bands of up to 100MHz.

Clearly this is a huge step forward from the current “4G” standards, though Clearwire's claim of realizing 100Mbps downloads on an LTE trial indicate that the current systems are progressing rapidly in performance terms.

Wimax2 will appear in commercial equipment from next year, with Samsung likely to be the first supplier, and LTE-Advanced is expected a year later.

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