Evolving CDMA

Evolving CDMA

CDMA operators looking beyond the capabilities of their current IS-2000 Release 0 networks now face a crucial fork in the evolutionary roadway. 1xEV-DV is the best route to take.

As the new generation of converged wireless devices is launched ­ supporting applications such as entertainment, imaging, and enterprise ­ consumers will naturally expect their carriers to provide the speed and efficiencies needed to support those services. CDMA operators looking beyond the capabilities of their current IS-2000 Release 0 networks now face a crucial fork in the evolutionary roadway.

The most important considerations at this critical juncture are improved data throughput, a spectrally efficient air interface, deployment, cost efficiency, flexibility, backwards compatibility for legacy handsets, and infrastructure and support for the broadest possible range of applications. How can operators meet these demanding requirements?

One technology seems to be emerging as the consensus choice. A growing chorus of industry observers is now recommending cdma2000 1xEV-DV as the next logical step for incumbent CDMA operators who seek to upgrade their existing cdma2000 1x (IS-2000 Release 0) networks.

To fully understand the implications of this key 1x evolutionary step, let's take a closer look at the requirements and capabilities of the 1xEV-DV technology.

1xEV-DV Basics
cdma2000 1x Evolved Data and Voice (1xEV-DV) is designed to deliver real-time circuit-switched voice services and high data rate packet data services in the same RF carrier. The standard was supported in its development by Sprint, Motorola, Nokia, Texas Instruments, and others, and opens a logical and cost-efficient migration path for cdma2000 1x carriers evolving toward true 3G networks.

Approved in 2002 by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as an official 3G standard, cdma2000 1xEV-DV (data and voice) delivers a peak data rate of 3.09Mbps and a typical sector throughput of 1Mbps in a 1.25MHz frequency channel. 1xEV-DV (IS-2000 Release C) delivers system-wide user data throughput ranging from 420Kbps to 1.7Mbps, depending on traffic and channel conditions, and up to a 451.2 Kbps peak reverse link data rate.

Those are the kinds of speeds needed to support emerging voice, data, and multimedia applications (i.e., video conferencing, real-time gaming) efficiently. In addition, 1xEV-DV provides significant network cost and operational advantages.

Because it supports concurrent voice and data services over existing 1x channels, 1xEV-DV does not require new spectrum or spectrum dedicated for data-only use, a feature that presents operators with a more attractive cost structure than other evolutionary options. Furthermore, 1xEV-DV is not an overlay system, but is in fact a true upgrade from 1x, providing backwards compatibility for RF band and IS-95 and IS-2000 Release 0 mobile devices. cdma2000 1xEV-DV also reuses existing cell sites, and thus maintains current coverage in cdma2000 networks.

It may be helpful to examine the specific advantages 1xEV-DV brings to consumers and network operators.

For Users
While there are numerous operator benefits to be realized by the transition to 1xEV-DV, end users will also appreciate the benefits made possible by cdma 1xEV-DV networks.

By delivering improved overall throughput, and by allowing users to perform simultaneous voice and data tasks on the same device ­ for example, holding a voice conversation while at the same time playing an interactive game ­ this new standard takes consumers an important step forward toward the promise of the 3G future.

The efficiencies supported by 1xEV-DV will allow operators to deliver data-intense services more quickly, more effectively, and at a lower cost. Those capabilities translate directly into better services and lower prices for subscribers. The open standardization and backwards compatibility advantages of 1xEV-DV will foster the creativity of the development community, driving the introduction of popular new features and applications.

For Operators
The most immediate benefits of any 1xEV-DV deployment will be realized by the operators implementing the technology in their networks.

Carriers can deploy cdma2000 1xEV-DV to support voice and data users in the same band, thus more closely aligning their 3G network investments with the true data demands of their marketplace. This emerging standard delivers full support for legacy IS-95 and cdma2000 1x devices, and supports services such as streaming video by providing a real-time packet data connection.

The native flexibility of the 1xEV-DV option means that operators can deploy this technology based directly on market need.

Because 1xEV-DV supports concurrent voice and data sessions, many industry observers expect it to encourage the development of an exciting new generation of video conferencing, interactive online gaming, remote presentations, and other rich multimedia applications. Those are precisely the data-heavy applications consumers the world over now expect and demand.

Market Realities
There is a powerful and proven business case to be made for cdma2000 1xEV-DV. By enabling dynamic allocation of bandwidth on demand, cdma2000 1xEV-DV allows operators to balance their voice and data traffic. This capability supports "dynamic load balancing throughout the business day." Operators can leverage 1xEV-DV's capabilities to support data traffic with unused voice capacity, promoting increased economies of scale to reduce future network investment requirements.

This new technology is particularly well suited to meet the needs of the growing real-time gaming marketplace. Real-time games, such as "Counter Strike" and others, generate a relatively small volume of delay-sensitive traffic that arrives at regular intervals as updates to the game engine state. 1xEV-DV's superior data rates, QoS, and concurrent voice/data capabilities, make it an ideal platform for the emerging gaming model.

As cellular transmission technology relies increasingly on IP connectivity, 1xEV-DV will support the emergence of the All-IP network of the future. cdma2000 1xEV-DV requires a lower end-to-end investment, provides native mixed traffic capabilities, and delivers the QoS performance that will be needed to ensure a reliable VoIP revenue stream. Because voice will remain the most important application for some time to come, 1xEV-DV can deliver both immediate ROI and additional benefits as data applications eventually reach critical mass.

Nokia Progress
To prepare for the data-intense products and applications that are coming soon, Nokia is moving aggressively with the development of key 1xEV-DV technologies. Already well established as a leading worldwide manufacturer of IS-95 and cdma2000 1x handsets built around Nokia chipsets, Nokia will develop and market new terminals based on Nokia-designed cdma2000 1xEV-DV chipsets.

In January of this year, Nokia confirmed that the evolution of its cdma2000 mobile station chipset supporting IS-2000 Release C (also known as 1XEV-DV) was on schedule for field trials with CDMA operators during the second half of 2003.

In the end, 1xEV-DV technology and products will allow CDMA operators to boost their competitive positions and improve Return on Investment by delivering new value-added services.

1xEV-DV does this by enabling operators to extend cdma2000 1x capabilities to drive new services for voice, data, and multimedia. At the same time, 1xEV-DV lets operators leverage their current investments in cdma2000 1x by reusing many 1x network components. As carriers are currently still working to fully utilize the data capacity of their 1x networks, DV deployment will coincide with their need to expand this capability to include higher data rate-oriented applications, making it the right technology at the right time.

The powerful backwards compatibility built into 1xEV-DV greatly reduces the need to replace network elements and subscriber handsets. The 1xEV-DV technology also provides continuity for and greatly enhances current IS-95A/B and 1x services. As such, 1xEV-DV (cdma2000 1x Revision C) is now seen as a natural extension of cdma2000 1x Revisions A and B, and is further enhanced in Revision D.

This technology will enable operators to deliver the new data services consumers expect and demand, while reducing CapEx requirements and preserving operator's current network investments. As carriers reach the critical fork in the CDMA evolutionary pathway, 1xEV-DV looks increasingly like the smart road to take.

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