Did you think the version of LTE being deployed this year and next (3GPP Release-8) and Mobile WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e-2005) were 4G technologies? They're actually both 3G technologies which are included in ITU-R M.1457-9 Detailed specifications of the terrestrial radio interfaces of International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000).
In reality, it's the ITU-R's IMT Advanced family of recommendations that will actually specify 4G radio access technologies. Some of the key features of IMT-Advanced will be:
- Worldwide functionality & roaming
- Compatibility of services
- Interworking with other radio access systems
- Enhanced peak data rates to support advanced services and applications (100 Mbit/s for high and 1 Gbit/s for low mobility)
LTE Advanced and WiMAX 2.0 on the 4G Standards Track
At it's just completed standards meeting in Chongqing, China, ITU-R Working Party 5D has selected two of six candidate Radio Access Network (RAN) proposals as IMT-Advanced technologies. The two are:
- “LTE-Advanced” developed by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)- Release 10 and
- “WirelessMAN-Advanced”, developed by IEEE 802.16 Working Group (actually the 802.16m Task Force)
In addition, both “LTE-Advanced” and “WirelessMAN-Advanced” were accepted for inclusion in the standardization phase of the IMT-Advanced process. The liaison document also announces the availability of Report ITU-R M.[IMT.RADIO] and information on Step 8 of the IMT-Advanced development process. The "Liaison Statement on IMT-Advanced Development":is available at: http://ieee802.org/16/liaison/docs/L80216-10_0105.pdf
The document notes that:
- the basis for specifying the “LTE-Advanced” technology in Step 8 is Document IMTADV/8, which is technically identical to IMT-ADV/6 and IMT-ADV/9 (except that IMT-ADV/9 contains only the TDD RIT component); and
- the basis for specifying the “WirelessMAN-Advanced” technology in Step 8 is Document IMTADV/4, which is technically identical to IMT-ADV/5 and IMT-ADV/7.
Those that have an ITU TIES account may refer to the document at the ITU-R IMT-Advanced web page. Final ratification of the full IMT-Advanced technology family will occur at the ITU-R Study Group 5 meeting in November 2010.
3GPP and IEEE 802.16
3GPP develops technical specifications on 3G and beyond mobile communication systems. The 3GPP "LTE Advanced"
submission was made jointly in the name of the Partnerships' Organizational Partners: ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TTA and TTC, which represent the North American, European and Asian regions and make 3GPP a truly global initiative. In the final steps of the ITU-R IMT-Advanced process, 3GPP in conjunction with its Organizational Partners will provide the detailed technical specifications and standards to the ITU-R by 2011, for inclusion in the Recommendation ITU-R M.[RSPEC].
In an email today, IEEE 802.16 WG Chair Roger Marks wrote, "The 802.16 WG needs to rapidly move forward with the development of its final submission, due in late March, toward the IMT-Advanced Recommendation. The WG's ITU-R Liaison Group will take the lead on developing the draft. However, it will work closely with TGm as the 802.16m draft is concluded in timely fashion."
Comment: With almost all tier one mobile operators proceeding with LTE and (later) LTE Advanced, we wonder which operators will actually deploy IEEE 802.16m (AKA WiMAX 2.0 and WirelessMAN-Advanced? In the U.S, we need to watch what Sprint and Clearwire do.