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Ericsson demonstrates 160Mbps '4G' mobile broadband

Aiming for 1GBps by 2013

Ericsson has demonstrated wireless broadband technology that can transmit data at 160Mbps - so-called 4G.

The company is pushing LTE or Long Term Evolution as a '4G' successor to the 3G cellular, or HSPA, infrastructures.

But 160Mbps is just the beginning. The target is for LTE to hit 1Gbps by 2013.

The company currently has proof-of-concept products but hopes to deliver on some of these towards the end of next year.

In the demonstration, held in Sydney, Australia, on Thursday, an engineer was able to show how fast it took to transfer files from a base station to a notebook. A 10MB email attachment downloaded almost in the blink of an eye, and 300MB of attachments was download in just over 10 seconds.

However, Colin Goodwin, strategic marketing manager for Ericsson did make clear that it was "cheating gloriously" in the demonstration. The notebook had a dedicated connection to the base station. However, in the real world, where the cell is shared, speeds would be significantly less than the 160MB downlink - and 40MB uplink, which the company also demonstrated.

LTE, which is part of the GSM family, has many improvements over HSPA (3G). It clobbers it in terms of speed - anywhere from 10-20 times faster. However, it also has better latency - 16ms compared to 70ms and even 200ms for 2G GSM.

Although Ericsson is working on LTE technology, deployment won't be happening anytime soon. LTE, unlike HSPA, requires a different spectrum allocation. The goal of the ITU is for it to be harmonised globally and operate in the IMT Extension Band 2.50-2.69GHz so users, among many benefits, can have seamless roaming.

Ericsson is allocating a lot of effort into LTE technology, and with local ramifications. It has just opened an LTE Global Competence Centre (GCC) in Melbourne which is aimed at a playing a bigger role in the global development of LTE.

The progression of LTE is also being helped by big players AT&T and Verizon Wireless in the US who have stated plans to adopt LTE, with major rollouts planned for 2011 or 2012. LTE is a competing technology to WiMax.


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