TECHNOLOGY TRACKER: High-definition cellphones just round the corner
The day when passengers step aboard the aircraft carrying phones able to receive streaming high-definition (HD) video draws ever closer. That’s the kind of bandwidth promised by the emerging Long Term Evolution (LTE) cellular standard, which was demonstrated in the UK for the first time at the beginning of the month.
Offering data rates in excess of 160Mbit/sec, LTE got it first public showing in the UK at the beginning of the month, when cellular manufacturer Motorola launched an LTE trial network and testing lab in Swindon, southern England. The occasion was marked with a live call in which high-speed data services were streamed via Motorola’s LTE infrastructure and a prototype handheld device.
What this means to the phone user can be seen at the Motorola Website business.mototola.com/experiencelte. Simulations show an HD download buffering in seconds, while today’s EV-DO and the emerging HSPA standards are described as having insufficient bandwidth to stream HD. Another simulation shows a 350Mb AVI file – sufficient for a typical television series episode – completing a peer-to-peer download in two minutes. In the same time EV-DO delivers eight per cent of the file and HSPA 33 per cent.
Motorola’s Swindon lab is designed to give mobile operators a base for LTE field trials and equipment testing. “We look forward to working closely with our customers as they transition to LTE this year and beyond,” said Joe Cozzolino, Motorola’s general manager of home and network mobility in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The company is already trialling LTE with operators elsewhere in Europe, as well as in North America and Asia-Pacific.
LTE is based on orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM), a next-generation radio-frequency technology offering a huge increase in capacity and a significantly lower cost per bit.