Mobile broadband achieves LTE handover

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T-Mobile and Nortel have announced what they claim is the first handover and data transmission between a moving vehicle and a mobile operator base station using the Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband standard.

Nortel's LTE product manager, Bob Smith, explained that the transmission involved a two-cell system with a pre-commercial access gateway operating at a frequency of 2.1GHz.

Smith pointed out that this was expected to be the first step in a series of accomplishments over the next few months.

"Achieving a live air handover between two cells for a single user using LTE is a world first, and happened as the vehicle went over the Bonn Bridge joining T-Mobile's headquarters to Deutsche Telecom's headquarters," he said.

"Before we get 1,000 people using the system, we have to get over a one-user scenario."

Smith added that the test used two prototype LTE user devices around the size of a small pizza box.

"It will be launched with new user experience angles in mind and not just as a 'more bits per second' technology," he said.

Latency for the trial was around 30ms, according to Smith. "The signal made a round trip from device to Enode B to access gateway out to a server and back. So this is not just an air interface latency figure," he explained.

"LTE is the next step in 3G and CDMA. We see all markets converging to LTE and it is the most promising global standard to date."

Smith claimed that there were several public operator announcements " shooting for an early 2010 launch".

A static trial of LTE earlier this year at CeBIT allowed visitors to experience download and upload rates of 170Mbit/s and 50Mbit/s respectively.

Ratification of LTE is expected in December 2008.
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