Communications Technologies Poise For Breakthroughs At Barcelona MWC

Feb. 18, 2011
At next months GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microwaves & RF will be reporting on trends like LTE, MIMO, and femtocells.

CLOSE TO 1300 companies are expected to exhibit at this year's GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC). Although it is impossible to preview everything at this huge event, certain topics will be essential to its agenda. Among them will be Long Term Evolution (LTE), communications-system testing, femtocells, RF and multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) channel developments, network architectures, systemon- a-chip (SoC) technology, and cloud computing.

To give two examples, Picochip will be debuting developments in femtocell technology, while Agilent Technologies is introducing a fourth-generation (4G) system design library for 3GPP Release 10the W1918 LTE-Advanced library GSMA 2011. Read on to find out more.


PARTLY BECAUSEof the growth in smartphones and their increased capabilities, industry experts are predicting that mobile cloud computing will soon play a significant role in application development and value delivery. For example, Cisco's approach to cloud computing includes helping to build out the data centers required for the cloud network. It also is applying network capabilities to enable intelligent connectivity within and beyond the data center. Considering that global mobile data traffic is growing 3.2 times faster than fixed data traffic, mobile cloud computing likely will play a key role in serving the growing demands of an increasing number of wireless users for mobile data access.

Indeed, Ericsson has forecasted that the global number of mobile broadband subscriptions will pass the 1 billion mark before the end of this yeardoubling the 500 million reached during 2010. According to the company, the greatest number of subscriptions (around 400 million) will be in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by North America and Western Europe, which will boast more than 200 million subscriptions each.


THE PC333 multicore femtocell (baseband) on-a-chip from Picochip was recently named the best wireless chip of 2010 by Microwaves & RF's sister publication, Electronic Design. This chip enables femtocells to be designed into the public-access infrastructure, making metro or rural femtocells a reality. It handles 32 channels (scalable to 64) for simultaneous voice and HSPA+ data. In addition, the PC333 supports MIMO and soft handovers. Notably, it conforms to the local-area-base-station (LABS) standard.


WITH TODAY'S explosion in smartphones, wireless operators are looking to accelerate the deployment of 3GPP Release 8 (LTE or 3.9G) networks. Their goal is to deliver an order of magnitude increase in peak user capacity with improved quality of service via 1 Gb/s maximum download speed. Agilent's W1918 LTE-Advanced library for 3GPP Release 10 is being made available as an option to Agilent's SystemVue 2011.03 release software. Using the LTE-Advanced library, engineers should be able to perform earlier verification of physical-layer (PHY) algorithms and system performance.

Key features of the new library include:
Support for new Rel10 features, such as contiguous and non-contiguous carrier aggregation (CA) and downlink/ uplink enhancements
Support for closed-loop, coded throughput simulations with fading and active HARQ feedback in MIMO configurations as large as 8 input and 8 outputs (8 x 8)
Simulation-based support for proposed MIMO over-the-air (OTA) testing with standards-based fading through an optional W1715 MIMO Channel library
Overlay support for 3GPP Release 8
Integration with Agilent's signal generator/analyzer families, enabling early R&D validation of both algorithms and hardware

See associated figure 1

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