Coming soon: 173Mbps on your mobile

The next generation of mobile broadband has moved closer to reality, following fresh trials by Nokia Siemens Networks.

The next generation of mobile broadband has moved closer to reality, following fresh trials by Nokia Siemens Networks.

Nokia Siemens Network's (NSN's) tests, announced on Wednesday, involved long-term evolution (LTE). Offering a theoretical maximum downlink of up to 173Mbps, LTE is set to eventually take over from 3G networks -- the fastest of which operates at 14.4Mbps.

Both LTE and mobile WiMax use the OFDM modulation scheme and multiple-input multiple-output (MiMo) technology, which is based on the use of multiple antennae. Mobile WiMax's recent inclusion to the 3GPP family of standards has raised the possibility of both technologies becoming part of what will be known as 4G.

NSN said this week it had completed the world's first multi-user field trial of LTE in an urban environment. The trial, which was in Berlin, utilised 20MHz of bandwidth in the 2.6GHz spectrum.

"[The trial confirmed] that LTE performance requirements can be met using 3GPP standardised technologies and it realised data rates of more than 100Mbps over distances of several hundred metres, while maintaining excellent throughput at the edge of typical urban mobile radio cells," NSN's said.

Calling the trial an "important initial proof of concept for LTE", NSN's chief technology officer Stephan Scholz said that the technology will further the company's goal of connecting five billion users by 2015, due to its efficient use of spectrum.

"We can demonstrate that LTE meets the high expectations set for this new technology," said Matthias Reiss, head of LTE at NSN. "Most importantly, we now have evidence that future LTE networks can run on existing base station sites and mobile operators can build LTE networks without requiring new antenna sites."

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