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Contents

1. Basics of WiMax
2. Basics of LTE
3. Analysis of WiMax & LTE

Author
Mario Eguiluz Alebicto
02-12-2010

Analysis of WiMax & LTE

02-12-2010

Index
1. Basics of WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability Microwave Access)..........................3
2. Basics of LTE (Long Term Evolution) ..................................................................................4
3. Analysis of LTE & WiMax .........................................................................................................5
Sources ............................................................................................................................................ 11

Mario Eguiluz Alebicto

Basics of WiMax

02-12-2010

1. Basics of WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability Microwave Access)


WiMax is a broadband wireless technology. It was developed by the
WiMax Forum in the last years and It is based on the 802.16 standard which
has the objective of provide high speed data transfers over the air. Some of the
possible uses of WiMax are:
As an alternative to DSL at the last mile.
As an alternative to the backhaul and access of 2G, 3G, 4G
infrastructure.
As an alternative option to connect rural areas to Internet where there
are not any telecom infrastructure or when It is not easy to deploy it (For
example in rural or disaster areas).
Technical specs of WiMax
Frequency Range:
o 2-11 GHz (Non Line-Of-Sight)
o 10-66 GHz (Line-Of-Sight)
Signal Range:
o 5 miles (Non Line-Of-Sight)
o 30 miles (Line-Of-Sight)
Bandwidth: 70 Mbps.
Physical layer: OFDM SOFDM MIMO
Duplex scheme: TDD (Mobile WiMax)
Download: 144 Mbit/s (updating to 1Gbit/s in Fixed WiMax and 100Mbit/s
Mobile WiMax)
Upload: 35 Mbit/s
There are 2 main types of WiMax developments:
Fixed WiMax: Up to 30miles 50km of broadband wireless access
(802.16d) for fixed stations in ideal conditions.
Mobile WiMax: Up to 5 10 miles (15km) of broadband wireless access
to mobile users (802.16e) in ideal conditions.
Between them, there are some remarkable differences apart from the
fact of the fixed or mobile capabilities: Mobile WiMax has some advantages
over Fixed WiMax:
Multicast services
The use of OFDM in the physical layer provides advantages in terms of
scalability to providers.
Mobile WiMax implements higher performing coding schemes.
Subchannelisation allows better user scheduling.
Lower power consumption.
Better QoS by implementing Extended Real-Time Polling Service.

Mario Eguiluz Alebicto

Basics of LTE

02-12-2010

2. Basics of LTE (Long Term Evolution)


LTE is the new standard of the 3GPP for the next generation of mobile
telecommunications; It is the evolution of GSM/WCDMA. The key features of
LTE are:

OFDM in Download link, DFTS-OFDM (Single-Carrier FDMA) in Uplink.

IP flat architecture with the SAE architecture.

Low latency (10ms for User-plane, 100ms for Control-plane).

MIMO antennas.

Building on current investments in the GSM/UMTS.

Flexible carrier bandwidths: 1.4MHz -20MHz. (1.4, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 20


MHz).

FDD TDD.

LTE can do handover and roaming to existing networks.

DL-peak: max 326,4 Mbit/s with 4x4 antennas, 172,8 Mbit/s with 2x2
antennas.

UL-peak: Max 86,4 Mbit/s.

Up to 200 users at the same time in a 5 MHz cell.

Average optimum cell distance 5km. Cell of 30km still works good, with a
little degradation. Cell of 100km is still acceptable.

Increased spectrum flexibility, It supports spectrum slices of 1.5 MHz (up


to 20 MHz).

Mario Eguiluz Alebicto

Analysis of WiMax & LTE

02-12-2010

3. Analysis of LTE & WiMax


This article tries to describe some comparative points of LTE and WiMax
to show their advantages and disadvantages.
3.1 Time advantage
WiMax is in the market while Long Term Evolution is still in the labs...So,
in this point, WiMax has a clear time advantage over LTE: WiMax is present
nowadays in numerous countries around the world.
There are already a lot of deployments, and WiMax is growing step by
step in different markets, not only in urban zones, also in rural and/or
emerging markets. On the other hand, LTE is still in the labs, and forecasts
say that until 2011-2012 (end of 2010 maybe) it is not going to be in the real
market.

Availability of WiMax, HSPA and LTE

This fact can be an advantage for WiMax, because when LTE has
arrived to the telecom market, WiMax will have already a solid market using it's
hardware. However, other technologies, like HSPA+, could decrease that
advantage. HSPA+ could compete with WiMax meanwhile LTE arrives...

BPS/Hz

S
Spectrum efficiency of HSPA, WiMax and LTE

Mario Eguiluz Alebicto

Analysis of WiMax & LTE

02-12-2010

As it can be seen in the figure above, HSPA R7 can compete with WiMax
R3 TDD in terms of BPS/Hz either in the download link or upload link.

3.2 Latency

Latency: LTE 10ms WiMax 50ms

There is a good difference in the latency of WiMax and LTE, and some
"real time" multimedia services will get benefit of this. Latency is a key point in
some online services, and if one wants to deliver these services in a good way,
he will need to pay attention to the Latency parameter. In some cases the signal
must arrive at its destination as soon as possible, in order to maintain a "real
time" sensation during the data exchange over the net.

Online gaming and videoconference. Online gamers always


complain about the "ping". In competitive gaming there is a huge
difference between players whether one of them has 40ms less
than others.

The videoconferences will have better performance, without


delays in the conversation. There is a solution to a high latency:
the use of buffers, thats true. But there is a point here for LTE,
because it do not need special improvements. Also, WiMax uses a
bigger overhead in the packets, and that is worse for services like
VoIP

3.3 3GPP Evolution: GSM, HSPA...now LTE


Today, there is an important infrastructure around the entire world that
allows users to enjoy mobile coverage. This coverage is possible thank to the
deployment of different generations of mobile technologies: 1G, 2G and 3G.
This infrastructure follows the 3GGP standards, in terms of nodes and
protocols. The money invested in all of these nodes is huge, and operators
must maximize the use of these facilities.

Mario Eguiluz Alebicto

Analysis of WiMax & LTE

02-12-2010

Now, 3GGP has researched the next step of the net evolution: LTE. By
this reason, LTE seems to be the natural path to GSM and HSPA+. The
compatibility between LTE and the other 3GGP's predecessors will result in a
easy re-farming potential and in a easy upgrade possibilities. LTE is fully
integrated with 3GGP, so it is fully integrated with previous infrastructure and
protocols.

3GPP Standard Evolution

Furthermore, LTE provides FULL mobility. While WiMax needs a mobile


target with a speed lower than 120 km/h, LTE still operates with a target up to
350 km/h.
Summarizing this point, the easy re-farming possibilities, the easy
upgrade potential and the full mobility, convert LTE in a natural evolution
from 3G to 3,9G 4G

3.4 Handover and Roaming


LTE supports handover and roaming with the 3GGP mobile networks.
However, these services are not easy to achieve with WiMax.
This fact is an important point because the roaming service generates
numerous benefits for operators: it extends their coverage of the operator
using the network of other carriers, it generates more benefits of visitors from
other carriers and it provides to users an important service: One can travel far
away from the coverage of his operator and the mobile phone is still functional.

Roaming advantages

Mario Eguiluz Alebicto

Analysis of WiMax & LTE

02-12-2010

3.5 WiMax, by default with Intel

It seems that Intel will integrate WIMAX in their new


devices...It ensures a good number of WiMax devices in
the market by default, which is very good to expand the
potential market of WiMax.

3.6 Use of a SIM card


LTE, like GSM, needs a SIM card to operate. The use of a SIM card has
its advantages and also its disadvantages.
On the one hand, with LTE, the use of a SIM card is mandatory for the
users and that is a requirement for them, which is not good because the users
want things easy, so the fewer requirements needed the better.
On the other hand, the use of SIM card makes easier to provide some
services like roaming, which is a key service nowadays. Identifying subscribers
with a SIM makes things easier to the carrier.
3.7 A lot of big carriers seem to prefer LTE
According to nokiasiemensnetworks.com, there are plenty of telecom
carriers around the world that are going for LTE instead of WiMax. Most of them
have a GSM structure already deployed, so it is a logic step in their evolution to
the next 4G (or 3,9G). Some examples of this are:

Biggest carriers in the USA: AT&T, Verizon.

Vodafone.

China Mobile.

DoCoMo (2010-2011).

Others: KDDI, Telstra, Telecom Italia, China Telecom, Orange, and


T-Mobile.

If biggest carriers go for LTE, It will produce a lower price of LTE


products in terms of fabrication: higher volume of production, lower prices. It
could be an important point for LTE.

Mario Eguiluz Alebicto

Analysis of WiMax & LTE

02-12-2010

Different carriers with LTE worldwide

4.8 Developing countries


When developing nations face the problem of deploying a new telecom
infrastructure in the country, they usually have 2 important preconditions:
1. They dont have any GSM inheritance.
2. They need an available technology.
So with these terms, a lot of developing countries (East Asia and Africa
have examples of this) are already deploying WiMax.
The initial costs of WiMax are lower when the operators do not have any
2G 3G equipment, so WiMax could be a good option because the CAPEX of
WiMax are lower than the CAPEX of LTE, and the initial investment is a key
point in developing countries.

4.9 Power consumption


LTE needs lower power consumption than WiMax. One of the reasons of
this is the use of SC-FDMA modulation in uplink channels.
A low power consumption results in a longer battery life in mobile
devices. So LTE has an advantage here, when talking about mobility, the
battery life is a main feature of any mobile device like a mobile phone. Talking
about bigger devices, like laptops, the battery is not an important issue because
batteries of these devices last longer.

Mario Eguiluz Alebicto

Analysis of WiMax & LTE

02-12-2010

4.10 Different carrier, different situations


All points detailed above are important, but the conditions or the
characteristics of the carrier/operator will override sometimes those points. Lets
see some different scenarios:
a) Incumbent 3G operators: Upgrading to HSPA, then LTE.
b) New 3G operators: If they want to be a full operator (not only access):
Invest in HSPA/UMTS network, then LTE. If they only want to focus on
the access: WiMax BWA license.
c) New operators without licenses: WiMax in urban areas and WLAN in
certain hotspots, for example.

Mario Eguiluz Alebicto

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Analysis of WiMax & LTE

02-12-2010

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Mario Eguiluz Alebicto

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