Wireless network operator Clearwire plans to conduct tests of its LTE 4G network in Phoenix, where it hopes to confirm the capability to produce real-world download speeds that range from 20 to 70 Mbps.
Clearwire, a provider of wireless broadband services and operator of the
largest 4G network in the country, announced plans to conduct 4G LTE technology
trials in collaboration with Huawei Technologies. Huawei is the same infrastructure
provider that deployed the first commercial LTE network in Europe. They also
plan to test multiple coexistence scenarios between LTE and WiMAX radio
technologies. The tests will be conducted in the fall and throughout early 2011
The company said it expects to conduct tests across three key areas: Conduct
FDD LTE (Frequency Division Duplex) tests using 40 MHz of spectrum-paired in 20
MHz contiguous channels-of its 2.5 GHz spectrum; TDD LTE (Time Division Duplex),
in a 20 MHz configuration, which is twice the channel size currently used in
its 4G WiMAX deployments; and WiMAX co-existence with both FDD LTE and TDD LTE
to confirm the flexibility of its network and spectrum strength to
simultaneously support a wide-range of devices across its all-IP network.
Concerning the FDD LTE tests, Clearwire said it expects to confirm the
capability to produce real-world download speeds that range from 20 to 70 Mbps.
The company said these speeds are expected to be "significantly
faster" than the 5 to 12 Mbps currently envisioned by other LTE
deployments in the U.S., which will rely on smaller pairs of 10 Mhz channels or
The company also restated its commitment to use WiMAX technology for its
current 4G build plan. Since the company expects that a significant number of
LTE devices will be available in coming years, Clearwire is conducting
technical trials to determine how it could potentially add LTE technology to
coexist with WiMAX, according to a company release.
"Clearwire's unmatched spectrum and all-IP network make us the only
service provider in the U.S.
able to conduct tests of this nature and on this scale," said John Saw,
Clearwire's chief technology officer. "As we have consistently stated, we
remain technology agnostic, but WiMAX provides us with unique advantages to
meet the needs of our customers today."
Saw said that, ultimately, consumers don't care about technical acronyms,
but they do care about quality and affordable Internet services that work where
and when they want, and that's what Clearwire is focused on delivering.
"Part of our technical due diligence at Clearwire is to be prepared to
leverage a number of possible opportunities as we future-proof our network, and
that's the goal of these tests," he said.
Clearwire will also be testing LTE on Samsung Electronics' common base-station
platform, which it currently uses for its mobile WiMAX deployments. During the
trials, Clearwire will collaborate with Beceem, and other partners, to determine
the best methods for enabling end-user devices to take advantage of a potential
multi-mode WiMAX/LTE network.
Other participating vendors in Clearwire's technical trials will be named at
a later date, the company said. "In addition, due to the global dominance
of the 2.5 GHz - 2.6 GHz spectrum band, a number of large wireless operators
are expected to participate with Clearwire on these tests," a company
release disclosed. "Additional details about those companies are also expected
to be disclosed at a later date."