Nokia Siemens Networks has completed the world’s first multi-user field trial in an urban environment using the new Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology that offers mobile data rates up to 173 Mbps. 

In recent years the wireless industry has made a series of progressive improvements in the performance. However, end users now make increased use of mobile multimedia services and they stay online for longer periods. They therefore require faster data rates, quicker response times and longer battery life in order to enjoy the benefits of services such as voice over IP, mobile video, sharing and collaboration and rich multimedia telephony.
One year ago Nokia Siemens Networks conducted the world’s first LTE demonstration in conjunction with MIMO (Multiple Input / Multiple Output) antenna technology. In this demonstration peak data rates of 160Mbps were realised.
The now performed field trial was a world first since it was conducted in a real urban outdoor environment with multiple users using the new 2,6GHz spectrum. It confirms that LTE performance requirements can be met using 3GPP standardised technologies and it realized data rates of more than 100Mbps over distances of several hundred meters, while maintaining excellent throughput at the edge of typical urban mobile radio cells.
It also proves that LTE makes optimum use of the OFDM (orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing) and adaptive multi antenna technologies, as well as the intelligent algorithms used to schedule user traffic to the radio resources in multi-user environments. This enables substantial optimization of network capacity and, in combination with a scalable flat network architecture, this will provide substantial benefits for operators offering mobile broadband connectivity.
”As the world continues to move closer to our vision of 5-billion people connected by 2015, mobile operators will need to use all of the available spectrum with minimum network complexity and maximum cost efficiency to handle a 100 fold increase in traffic,” says Stephan Scholz, CTO of Nokia Siemens Networks. “This field trial is an important initial proof of concept for LTE.”
This field trial was assisted by the Heinrich Hertz Institut (HHI), a world-wide recognized expert centre in the field of intelligent adaptive MIMO/Algorithms.
"We understand the complexity of the LTE and MIMO technology, and it is really amazing how far Nokia Siemens Networks has developed the LTE base station in such a short time," says Professor Holger Boche from Heinrich Hertz Institut.
To obtain data about LTE performance in an actual urban deployment environment, an LTE base station was installed at a typical base station site: the top of the Heinrich Hertz Institut building in the center of Berlin. Cars with LTE test terminals were driven up to 1km away from the base station to measure the LTE cell’s coverage and throughput.
“We can demonstrate that LTE meets the high expectations set for this new technology,” adds Matthias Reiss, head of LTE Radio at Nokia Siemens Networks. “Most importantly, we now have evidence that future LTE networks can run on existing base station sites and mobile operators can build LTE networks without requiring new antenna sites.”
The base station, supporting LTE with a 2 by 2 MIMO (Multiple Input / Multiple Output) antenna system having 120 degree sectors, has been installed to support continuous testing activities over the next year. It transmits with 20MHz bandwidth in the 2.6GHz band, for which Nokia Siemens Networks has acquired test licenses in major cities throughout Germany. The spectrum in this band will be awarded to mobile operators in the next few years.
Nokia Siemens Networks is providing an optimal evolution path for operators that currently have GSM/EDGE, WCDMA or CDMA cellular networks. End to end HSPA is currently available, Internet-HSPA (I-HSPA), commercially available in 2008, optimises the existing network architecture for data services and LTE availability is planned for a 2010 timeframe.