Originally published: November 8, 2011
Last updated: December 20, 2011 - 11:43pm
Using more spectrum and advanced antennas, cellular network vendors and operators plan to increase 4G mobile speeds as that technology rolls out over the next several years. But cellular technology has hit a fundamental wall in the physics of what the radio signals themselves can carry, so researchers are looking at other ways to increase speed and capacity of 4G networks, nearly all of which will use a standard called LTE.
The keys to increasing speeds as researchers look at future networks are to shorten the distance between users and base stations and allowing them to automatically be reconfigured. Historically, a new mobile generation has included two basic components: a mobile standard and spectrum allocation, says Håkan Djuphamma , vice president of architecture and portfolio at radio equipment maker Ericsson. Because LTE is at the limit of what is physically possible, it now makes less sense to develop another standard from the ground up, Djuphammar says, as a new standard couldn't change laws of physics. Another issue that a new technology standard can't really address is that the allocation of spectrum has become increasingly fragmented because the airwaves are so crowded.
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