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eHRPD 4G Wireless Evolution

Over the past decade there has been an explosion in the demand for mobile internet and of course faster data transfer speeds. This creates a natural evolution of data networks, which helps users run the latest applications they've grown accustomed to with typical hard wired internet connections (cable, DSL, etc). Verizon has recently launched their 4G LTE network in 38 markets, which marks the start of their transition from CDMA 3G to 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) data services, which are capable of delivering speeds of 5-12Mbps down and 2-5Mbps on a fully loaded network. This allows users to do things like full HD video streaming, which wasn't possible over a 3G connection without constant rebuffering.

Unlike GSM/UMTS carriers like AT&T, Verizon's transition to LTE wasn't a natural evolution because they had to change from High Rate Packet Data (HRPD) to LTE. This meant that they needed to choose a migration path factored by radio access strategy, network resource strategy, services enabled, timing and cost. While moving to LTE service their goal was to simplifying interworking with non-3GPP mobile networks, which is essential for CDMA carriers migrating to LTE.   


CDMA upgrade paths to LTE

Verizon has decided to use eHRPD as their upgrade path to 4G, which allows them to update their existing HRPD packet core using SAE/EPC architecture. The primary benefit that eHRPD offers is the handoff between cellular towers - you maintain the same private IP when you move from location to location. With this new protocol operators will be able to optimize cellular handovers, which should reduce dropped sessions and decrease the handover latency.

Verizon has said they don't plan to move their voice services over to 4G until 2020, and using eHRPD will help make VOIP calls more reliable when the move happens. With 3G CDMA services, as you move to a new location you're typically assigned a new IP address, which could cause the internet to hang up on you momentarily. The new eHRPD standard will allow complete network overlay to share common functions such as policy, charging and authentication. This allows Verizon to provide a phased migration as they transition more of their 3G network to the latest 4G LTE technology.      

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 30 December 2010 00:30 )