Hard Numbers and Experts' Insights on Migration to 4G Wireless Technology

As Wireless Network Speeds Increase, OFDM will Edge out CDMA

3G wireless networks are rolling out. Interest in streaming media and other high-speed wireless data applications are growing. To ensure wireless networks can meet future customer demand and remain competitive for years to come, operators and manufacturers are planning now for 4G wireless. Over the next few years OFDM radio technology will play a key role in this migration particularly in the wireless LAN, fixed broadband wireless, and mobile phone segments. These are a few of the conclusions in the new 46-page report, Hard Numbers and Experts’ Insights on Migration to 4G Wireless Technology now available from Alexander Resources, a leading research, consulting and education firm specializing in wireless communications.

“Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing sends data across multiple radio channels, each at a lower rate, combating interference effects that become unmanageable at very high data rates with systems such as CDMA. The advantages of OFDM and particularly MIMO-OFDM in a wide range of applications become more pronounced as the wireless industry moves to higher speeds,” said Peter Rysavy, President of Rysavy Research and the report’s author. “But CDMA, whether CDMA2000 or WCDMA, still has a long way to evolve and it will be several years before vendors must switch to OFDM,” he added.

Panel of Experts Convened
The study is based on Rysavy Research’s own data plus data provided by leading vendors. Additional opinions and insights are provided by a distinguished panel of experts including Dr. Greg Raleigh, CEO of Airgo Networks; Charlie Martin, Director of Advanced Wireless Technologies, Nortel Networks; Dr. Roberto Padovani, Chief Technology Officer, Qualcomm; Dr. Paul Mankiewich, Chief Architect and Chief Technology Officer of Lucent; Dr. Andrew Viterbi, President of Viterbi Group LLC; and Dr. Sayed-Amr (Sisso) El-Hamamsy, CEO of Wi-LAN.

Additional conclusions found in Hard Numbers and Experts’ Insights on Migration to 4G Wireless Technology:

  • OFDM has inherent advantages over CDMA, but the advantages are only sufficient to warrant migration at high data rates. This report identifies and discusses the cross-over point.

  • Though CDMA vendors are continuing to support and evolve CDMA-based solutions, many are also implementing or reselling OFDM-based solutions.

  • The technical designs of evolved CDMA technologies such as wideband CDMA (WCDMA), High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) and 1xEV-DO Rev A are converging. As described in the report, OFDM based systems also use many of the same methods and tools as CDMA-based systems.

  • OFDM and MIMO-OFDM are already key components of advanced and next-generation wireless technologies in the LAN (802.11a, 802.11g and 802.11n), MAN (WiMAX), and mobile (Flarion’s Flash-OFDM) industries. 

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