Clearwire To Test LTE Technology Alongside WiMAX

Now this is how you expand your horizons. Clearwire, a company that has provided 4G WiMAX services to select areas in America for the past years and months, is considering a somewhat different approach in the future. Rather than just sticking with WiMAX, they may actually dip into another form of 4G: LTE.

LTE is generally considered to be the 4G wireless protocol with the most industry support. In the long run, it's likely that more carriers will push LTE than WiMAX, and Verizon Wireless is already promising a huge rollout by next year. The company has just announced quite publicly that they will be conducting 4G LTE technology trials, which should showcase wireless speeds of 20-70 Mbps. That's quite a bit faster than the 5-12 Mbps expected from other U.S. carriers, and it will also test multiple coexistence scenarios between LTE and WiMAX radio technologies.

This sort of dual-4G is a dream come true for mobile road warriors. It's still unclear if we'll ever see a WWAN modem that supports both technologies interchangeably, but these tests may prove if that setup would ever be viable. The tests will be conducted in the fall and throughout early 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona, with three main scenarios to be critiqued (mentioned below). We're pretty excited with what this could mean for the future of mobile broadband.

  • FDD LTE: Clearwire intends to conduct FDD LTE (Frequency Division Duplex) tests using 40 MHz of spectrum, paired in 20 MHz contiguous channels, of its 2.5 GHz spectrum. Clearwire expects to confirm the capability to produce real-world download speeds that range from 20-70 Mbps. This is expected to be significantly faster than the 5-12 Mbps speeds currently envisioned by other LTE deployments in the U.S., which will rely on smaller pairs of 10 Mhz channels or less.
  • TDD LTE: Clearwire will concurrently test TDD LTE (Time Division Duplex), in a 20 MHz configuration, which is twice the channel size currently used in its 4G WiMAX deployments.
  • WiMAX and LTE: Clearwire will also test WiMAX co-existence with both FDD LTE and TDD LTE to confirm the flexibility of its network and spectrum strength to simultaneously support a wide-range of devices across its all-IP network.
 Clearwire Announces New 4G LTE Technology Trials Expected to Yield Unmatched Wireless Speeds in the U.S.

    * Initial Tests Expected to Demonstrate Real-World Download Speeds Ranging from 20-70 Mbps, Significantly Faster than the 5-12 Mbps Expected from Other Operators in the U.S.
    * New Trials to Showcase Unique Advantages of Clearwire’s Vast Spectrum Holdings and Flexibility of Company’s All-IP Network Architecture to Test Multiple Coexistence Scenarios Between LTE and WiMAX
    * Unprecedented Technical Trials to Test Both FDD LTE and TDD LTE Using Commercially Available Equipment on One of World’s Most Widely Used 4G Frequency Band by Global Operators

KIRKLAND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ:CLWR), a leading provider of wireless broadband services and operator of the largest 4G network in the country, today announced plans to conduct 4G LTE technology trials expected to yield unmatched wireless speeds in the U.S., and to test multiple coexistence scenarios between LTE and WiMAX radio technologies. The new tests are designed to showcase the unique capability of Clearwire’s unmatched spectrum holdings and examine a variety of potential future technology combinations that could yield additional benefits to consumers and shareholders.

    “Clearwire’s unmatched spectrum and all-IP network make us the only service provider in the U.S. able to conduct tests of this nature and on this scale”

“Clearwire’s unmatched spectrum and all-IP network make us the only service provider in the U.S. able to conduct tests of this nature and on this scale,” said Dr. John Saw, Clearwire’s chief technology officer. “As we have consistently stated, we remain technology agnostic, but WiMAX provides us with unique advantages to meet the needs of our customers today. Ultimately, consumers don’t care about technical acronyms, but they do care about quality and affordable Internet services that work where and when they want, and that's what we're focused on delivering. Part of our technical due diligence at Clearwire is to be prepared to leverage a number of possible opportunities as we future-proof our network, and that’s the goal of these tests.”

The company expects the technical trials to demonstrate that Clearwire’s 4G network can deliver significantly higher performance using LTE technologies than any other operator. Clearwire plans to conduct the tests in collaboration with Huawei Technologies, the same infrastructure provider which deployed the world’s first commercial LTE network in Europe, using the same spectrum band and flexible base station platform that Clearwire utilizes in the United States. In the same vein, Clearwire will also be testing LTE on Samsung Electronics’ common base station platform which it currently uses for its mobile WiMAX deployments. During the trials, Clearwire will collaborate with Beceem, and other partners, to determine the best methods for enabling end-user devices to take advantage of a potential multi-mode WiMAX/LTE network. Other participating vendors for Clearwire’s technical trials are expected to be named at a later date. In addition, due to the global dominance of the 2.5 GHz - 2.6 GHz spectrum band, a number of large wireless operators are expected to participate with Clearwire on these tests. Additional details about those companies are also expected to be disclosed at a later date. The tests will be conducted in the fall and throughout early 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Dr. Saw continued, “The 2.5 GHz spectrum band is universally allocated for global 4G deployments, so it has the potential to create one of the world’s most robust ecosystem across billions of devices. We believe this commonality will result in a massive diversity of mobile devices and applications, at comparably low costs, due to unmatched economies-of-scale. In a 4G world, wireless coverage is important, but capacity is king. This capacity is a unique and sustainable advantage for Clearwire, thanks to our all-IP network and unmatched spectrum holdings.”