The world of LTE 4G wireless is upon us. Here, Knowledge Center mobile and wireless analyst J. Gerry Purdy shares the challenges that modem manufacturers face in order to bring entirely new LTE 4G wireless modems to market.
recently announced that they had turned on their Long Term Evolution (LTE) version of 4G in a few cities, with plans (along with AT&T) to roll
out LTE nationwide over the next two years. In March 2011, the Global Mobile
Suppliers Association estimated that
196 operators in 75 countries are currently investing in LTE
well-known phrase "it takes two to tango" is really appropriate here. If you
stop and think for a minute, it takes more than the wireless operator to turn
on their network. It also takes radio transceivers (that can both receive LTE
signals and broadcast back to the wireless network towers). What if a radio or
TV station announced a new service but there weren't any radios or TVs that
could receive the broadcast?
infrastructure companies such as Nokia Siemens
make the "backhaul" equipment that powers the broadcast of LTE signals from
cell towers. They have tons of electrical power available in which to send out
their signals. On the other hand, notebook computers (and some handhelds such
as Verizon's new HTC Thunderbolt
have to receive and then transmit LTE signals on battery power.
recently talked with Andrew Green, Vice President of Marketing for the Mobile
Computing Business Unit at Sierra Wireless
, about the
challenges to bring LTE wireless modems to market at the same time the wireless
operator announces their network. While a number of firms plan to manufacture
LTE modems for notebook PCs, Sierra Wireless was one of the first to deliver
LTE products to the market and decided to introduce models that would be
"backward-compatible" so they could "fall back" on 3G technology if the user
was not in an area covered by the new LTE network.