Boaventura, Oi, Brazil: “LTE is one the most impressive frameworks and has brought about several technology innovations.”

Alberto Boaventura, technology consultant for Oi, Brazil

Alberto Boaventura is a technology consultant for Oi, Brazil, with a focus on technology strategy and service integration. He is presenting on Day One of the LTE Latin America 2012 conference taking place on the taking place on the 17-18 April 2012 at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Here he gives his views on FDD and TDD spectrum for LTE, the timelines for VoLTE and the innovations present in the LTE industry.

What are the main milestones you have reached with relation to your LTE deployment?

Although LTE can operate in over 40 band classes (as defined by 3GPP TS 36.104), in Brazil it will require a new frequency. One is band 7 that is expected to be put up for auction in the middle of 2012. The auction draft of the Public Consultation establishes year-by-year obligations that will form the overall milestones for the next few years. All operators who win the new spectrum will have the same agenda.

What are the main challenges you have faced, or expect to face, as you roll out LTE?

LTE is a disruptive technology which concerns the access, core, and transport parts of the network. It can handle a huge amount of data traffic of up to 7-10 times that of existing mobile broadband 3G networks. At the same time, as LTE is IP only it requires synchronisation stages. Therefore new network synchronisation functionality is imperative. There are a few options, such as IEEE 1588, SyncE, or GPS, but each deployment requires its own close study in order to ensure that most appropriate solution is applied.

What’s your view on FDD vs TD-LTE spectrum?

Today, almost all network deployed around the world are based on FDD and this is reflected in the ecosystem in terms of options for network and handset suppliers. Based on this GSA report there are 403 FDD terminals compared to 77 TD-LTE devices. Thus, it should be easier to start LTE operations with FDD, but in the middle and long term TD-LTE will certainly be an interesting option. In regards to technology, TD-LTE requires more synchronisation accuracy against FDD, and it is recommended to have 5MHz guard bands between two non-synchronised networks.

Do you think that VoLTE will have an impact and if so in what time frame?

Thanks to LTE being 20 times more efficient than GSM it potentially offers superior voice spectral efficiency too. However, in order to guarantee the same experience to the user the technology will require improvement, especially in handover situations. Based on ITU-T Y.1541, the total latency requirement for voice service must be below 100ms. Additionally, there are issues concerning the business model for network interconnection such as SLAs, IP transport and QoS.

As happened to NGN and IMS, VoLTE adoption will be faced with some barriers. These will variously be technical and network performance related as well as cost and business model issues. The expected timeframe to have VoLTE preferential solution for voice services is several years from now.

Is there enough innovation occurring in the mobile network industry? Can you provide some examples?

LTE is one the most impressive frameworks and has brought about several technology innovations. One of them is SON (Self Organized Networks) that represents a set of features that automatically configure, maintain, repair and plan the network. It has immediate impact in TCO reduction and O&M productivity. Another is CoMP (Coordination Multi-Point), a determinant technology for interference management and optimisation in heterogeneous networks.

In addition, there is Carrier Aggregation for reaching IMT Advanced spectral efficiency. It is able to combine not only frequencies in the same bands (intra-frequency), but in different bands as well. But further innovation will come about in the Service Layer through a successful marriage of terminal and network APIs.

What do you expect to see in the industry over the next five years?

Mobile broadband will have a rapid and consistent increase due to new types of devices that enable rapid access to social networks, video, and general multimedia consumption through devices such as smartphones and tablets.

In general video applications will soar. Based on Cisco data video will be responsible for much of the growth of mobile traffic by 2015. Video is currently 40 per cent of all Internet traffic and will reach 61 per cent by the end of 2015, not including P2P file sharing.

Another major feature of mobile access will be the increase in machine to machine (M2M) communication. Just as personal computers and recently smartphones have changed the way humans interact with machines, Soon we will arrive at a future where intelligent machines are able to communicate with one another. According to Ericsson, by 2020 there will be 20 billion connected objects, which it calls ‘The Internet Things’. Today, some of the most common applications for M2M include POS, smart home, remote monitoring, energy metering, fleet management, asset tracking, and field data collection, distribution and storage. Eventually, M2M will enable a combination of service utilities such as transportation, health, and security for future Smart Cities.

LTE Latin America 2012 is taking place on the 17-18 April 2012,at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Click here to register your interest.

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