When Qualcomm cancelled the 4G roadmap for CDMA, called UMB (Universal Mobile Broadband), it seemed the community would move rapidly to LTE, as flagwaver Verizon Wireless is doing. However, many other operators still want to extend the performance of their CDMA EV-DO networks for as long as possible, and Nokia Siemens says there is life in the technology yet.
The vendor has announced an offering called EV-DO Advanced, which like its equivalents in the HSPA segment will deliver increased data capacity and efficiency before the operator needs to migrate to LTE or new spectrum. It is promising a software upgrade which will be rolled out by a “leading operator” and should boost data capacity by up to 40% in loaded cells. This is compatible with existing Rev A devices.
“We are fully focused on technologies that enable a superior mobile broadband experience, and EV-DO Advanced is one such development. It is a major driver of CDMA evolution and adding this to our portfolio reflects our strong commitment to the technology standard,” said Scott Mottonen, head of NSN's CDMA/LTE business line. “By dynamically adding network capacity where and when it is needed through an incremental, selective and cost-effective upgrade, EV-DO Advanced addresses growing demand for data.”
Since acquiring the network assets of Motorola Solutions last year, NSN has gained a place in the CDMA space – as Ericsson did with its purchase of Nortel divisions. Both companies were primarily motivated by the need to gain a foothold in major CDMA carriers which were planning LTE migrations.
But outside the US, most CDMA cellcos would prefer a gradual upgrade path, which will see their 3G networks enhanced even as they build out LTE in hotzones – the same pattern commonly seen in the GSM world. Even some carriers which had planned a swift move to 4G, notably MetroPCS, are now opting for a parallel EV-DO update.
It is also boosting its HSPA+ range, and says it has demonstrated new features to improve smartphone performance. It is the first vendor to implement a bundle of standards-based features known as Continuous Packet Connectivity (CPC). By reducing network interference, this can provide up to five times more uplink capacity and allow operators to support more smart-phone users on their networks. The result could be a 60% increase in data rate and 15% better device battery life.
Levels of network interference rise as more customers use always-on applications with high amounts of signalling. CPC reduces uplink interference and that enables more users to be supported on the air interface. CPC also reduces downlink interference.
“High network interference levels pose a serious challenge to network capacity, considerably limiting the number of smart-phone users that operators can add to their HSPA+ networks. These challenges are magnified with the ongoing rise in smartphone penetration,” said Keith Sutton, head of the W-CDMA business line at NSN.