Part Two – LTE: Serendipity?

Editor’s note: This is part two of a blog that was inspired by the recent Wireless Watch column by Caroline Gabriel of Rethink Wireless (as seen on TelecomsEurope).

In my last blog, I laid the groundwork for my argument that the emergence of LTE TDD technology was a serendipitous occurrence, rising beyond our expectations to meet modern network challenges. I also ended with a bit of a cliff-hanger…

So what IS the key advantage of TDD? It’s the ability to allocate an uneven number of subframes in UL and DL/ Flexible allocation for UL/DL, which makes TDD LTE suitable for today’s downlink-heavy traffic pattern. Operators are realizing, put side by side to FDD, this can be a clever way for offloading video downloads and even newer areas like m2m traffic. As MBMS like broadcast services pick up traction, it makes even more sense to effectively deliver this broadcast info in DL using the unpaired TDD 1:9 config without impacting the user services delivered on FDD in parallel.Vodafone showed another innovative use case, LTE TDD being used as a backhaul for small cell deployments.

Dual mode roll out is the way for some already. LTE TDD is now mainstream. There’s no dearth of TDD devices either; Qualcomm, the dominating player in handset chipset market of the U.S., is ready to launch a multi-mode LTE FDD/LTE TDD chipset along with backward compatibility to 3G services. So is ZTE and many others, ensuring that devices will be available with FDD and TDD support at no extra cost.

Don’t get me wrong, FDD is still where most of the spectrum allocation is done. But more and more launches in Europe and Asia are including TDD into their network roll out plans.

TDD will not disappoint us. In fact, it has rewarded us with its potential in overcoming the challenges wireless networks are facing today. Affordable, cheaper spectrum, which will also become a respite in congested area, adds capacity in the form of small cells, FDD for macro and TDD for femtos. The spectrum is selling off like beachfront property and the unpaired bands are still available and are not as expensive. The operator community, who tried to stop additional TDD allocations to stall the progress of WiMAX players in their markets, is now seeing a new market in it with TDD LTE.

The global TDD LTE initiative launched by China Mobile is seeing momentum in Asia and Europe already, Softbank from JPN being the latest to join. With two of the largest markets (China and India) selecting LTE TDD deployments, we are sure other countries will also be seen vying for their share in this market. As I mentioned in my last blog, Clearwire and Sprint has taken this into the Americas.

Last but not least, the addition of TDD into LTE also brings the technology evolution full circle with the introduction of TDD to other markets such as public safety, health care and so on.

This is a new beginning, the beginning of hybrid LTE TDD/FDD deployment model opening up a new way of capacity addition and data offload. Serendipity? Indeed.

Want to check out how Radisys fits into this market trend? Click here to see how we offer best in class LTE TDD solutions, along with complete end-to-end LTE solutions.

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