Intel has partnered with Chinese information and communication technology solutions provider Huawei to develop a lab for interoperability testing based on LTE Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD). Intel is expected to use the lab as a test bed for Medfield Atom smartphones with TD-LTE connectivity in a continued move away from the failed WiMAX standard.
The deal is also expected to help the US chip giant get their hardware into Chinese phones, whether it is in the radio stack or the central processor.
At one point, Intel was a huge advocate of WiMAX, a formal rival to LTE, and rightfully so. The company had several patent holdings in the technology but as we all know, long-term evolution eventually won that battle. Not scorned by the WiMAX failure, Intel recently purchased $75 million worth of LTE patents from Aware Inc and is moving forward with LTE TDD development.
In its simplest terms, traditional LTE uses a technology called Frequency Division Duplexing where separate, equally-sized frequency bands are used for sending and receiving signals. Network operators typically refer to spectrum in paired blocks such as 2x15MHz instead of just saying 30MHz. This works fine for voice as the traffic is roughly equal but as The Register notes, FDD blocks on the data side end up nearly half empty.
Time Division Duplexing uses a single channel asynchronous rate swapped between sending and receiving. This is more sensible for data services but the telecoms of the world are already locked into the idea of separate channels for sending and receiving. China, however, tends to play by their own rules with telecoms already installing LTE TDD networks in the country with Clearwire following suit next year.