This blog is by Arne Schaelicke, LTE Product Marketing at Nokia Solutions and Networks.
With Mobile World Congress 2014 being just a few days away, everybody in our industry has his or her own thoughts about what the dominating topics this year will be.
Over the recent years, LTE has been adopted by more than 200 million subscribers in more than 100 countries. It has become a mainstream technology, and in competitive markets, operators are looking forward to offering the next level of data speeds. Many LTE networks have evolved from single- to dual- or even triple-band LTE networks, providing capacity for a growing subscriber base with growing usage intensity.
In Korea, operators have turned their multi-band LTE networks into faster 4G, launching LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation as a commercial subscriber service with twice the data rates – and that already in the summer of 2013. Will we see a similar development in other markets?
LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation is not a new topic. At NSN, we showed a live demonstration of Carrier Aggregation with 300 Mbps on our Flexi Multiradio Base Station at Mobile World Conress in 2011, the world’s first such demonstration at the time. Back then, we used a test device to demonstrate the capabilities of our base station and the potential of the technology under varying radio link conditions. What is new in Carrier Aggregation now is that chipsets supporting aggregation bandwidths of up to 40 MHz, so-called Category 6 devices, are coming on the market. These chipsets are the basis for commercial user equipment like smartphones, which can support up to 300 Mbps downlink data rates.
For NSN as the specialist in mobile broadband infrastructure and services, we always test our LTE radio networks with the latest chipsets in order to ensure 100% end-to-end performance. This is an important part of our commitment to the operator community as we deliver the best possible network performance.
NSN did the first interoperability development testing (IODT) using our Flexi Multiradio 10 BTS with a Category 6 chipset prototype in November 2013. It was nice to see that even the initial tests showed stable data transmissions at the theoretical peak data rate of 300 Mbps. In early February 2014, we had the opportunity to demonstrate the technology with Broadcom Category 6 technology on the live commercial LTE network of Elisa, Finland. In the same month, we successfully concluded an initial round of interoperability testing on various frequency band combinations with Qualcomm’s Category 6 Gobi 9×30 chipset.
The Category 6 LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation interoperability tests with three chipset companies on various band combinations and aggregation bandwidths of 30 MHz and 40 MHz have proven NSN’s and the chipset companies’ readiness for the next step in 4G data speeds. So for me personally, the evolution of LTE networks to larger bandwidth LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation networks is going to be high on the list of hot topics at Mobile World Congress 2014. Let’s see if I predict right!
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