Nokia Siemens Networks has completed the world's first multi-user field trial in an urban environment (in Berlin) using the new Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology that can offer mobile data rates of up to 173Mbit/s.

In recent years the wireless industry has made a series of progressive improvements in performance. However, end users now make increased use of mobile multimedia services and they stay online for longer periods.

This requires 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 160Mbit/s were realised.

This field trial was a world first since it was conducted in a real urban outdoor environment with multiple users using the new 2.6 GHz spectrum. It confirms that LTE performance requirements can be met using 3GPP standardised technologies, and it realised data rates of more than 100Mbit/s 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 optimisation of network capacity, and in combination with scalable flat network architecture, this will provide substantial benefits for operators offering mobile broadband connectivity.

The CTO of Nokia Siemens Networks, Stephan Scholz, said as the world continues to move closer to its 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.

"This field trial is an important initial proof of concept for LTE," Scholz said.

The trial was assisted by the Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI), a worldwide recognised expert centre in the field of intelligent adaptive MIMO/Algorithms.

Professor Holger Boche of the institute said to obtain data about LTE performance in an actual urban deployment environment, an LTE base station was installed at the top of the Heinrich Hertz building in the centre of Berlin.

He said cars with LTE test terminals were driven up to 1km away from the base station to measure the LTE cell's coverage and throughput.

Head of LTE radio at Nokia, Matthias Reiss, said the company now has 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, it is the spectrum in this band that 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) will be commercially available in 2008, and optimises the existing network architecture for data services. LTE availability is planned for a 2010 timeframe.