Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies continue to push the LTE speed envelope breaking the Gigabit speed barrier. The companies achieved an industry first with commercial silicon and network infrastructure with 1.07 Gbps download speeds using the Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE Modem during an Ericsson lab trial.
This 1.07 Gbps achievement builds on Verizon’s recent announcement about Gigabit LTE with support for License Assisted Access (LAA). Also of significance, the 1.07 Gbps speed was achieved using only three 20 megahertz carriers of (Frequency Division Duplex using separate transmit and receive frequencies) spectrum, achieving new levels of spectral efficiency for commercial networks and devices. These efficiencies will enable the delivery of the Gigabit class experience to more customers and lead to new wireless innovations.
The companies achieved the 1.07 Gbps industry milestone by using 12 simultaneous LTE streams, which allow for up to 20 percent increase in peak data rates and capacity with a corresponding improvement in average speeds. Ericsson’s Radio System and LTE software, in concert with a mobile test device based on the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, enabled these high speeds.
The lab tests also used 4×4 MIMO per carrier, 256 QAM per carrier, which enables customer devices and the network to exchange information in large amounts, delivering more bits of data in each transmission.
Verizon, Ericsson, and Qualcomm Technologies have reached 953 Mbps (just under 1 gigabit in a joint commercial network deployment in Boca Raton, Florida. While lab tests have shown comparable speeds in recent months, this speed was achieved in a real-world network environment using Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology.
The demonstration used all commercially available Verizon network components including a cell site, hardware, software, and backhaul. Riding on Verizon’s network infrastructure, Ericsson provided a remote radio head, the micro Radio 2205 for LAA, designed for unlicensed spectrum use. Qualcomm Technologies provided a Snapdragon 835 mobile platform test device and the integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem.
To reach gigabit class speeds, the deployment used a combination of licensed and unlicensed spectrum for the first time. This four-carrier aggregation used LAA to combine Verizon’s spectrum holdings with unlicensed spectrum, which takes advantage of spectrum where home and commercial Wi-Fi technologies exist.
In addition to four-channel carrier aggregation, other technologies used included 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM.
July 13, 2017 —
While Verizon was performing its Cat-M1 Voice over LTE (VoLTE) trials, China Unicom, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies demonstrated the use cases for the new technology early in July at Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2017.
The demonstrations appear to use much of the same technology as Verizon’s Cat-M1 VoLTE call: Ericsson’s IoT and VoLTE capable network infrastructure and Qualcomm’s MDM9206 global multimode LTE IoT modems.
The Cat-M1 VoLTE use cases demonstrated a fire alarm trigger panel and a GPS emergency tracking device.
Fire alarm trigger panels can be configured so that a single press of a button notifies multiple first responders and stakeholders, such as the fire department, the hospital, and the building’s property management office. Using VoLTE capabilities, the person who triggered the alarm can describe the situation to rescuers and get immediate guidance.
The improved coverage and longer battery life offered by Cat-M1 technology can be used to create more reliable GPS emergency tracking devices. Such devices can use data services to send GPS location data while enabling VoLTE calls for coordinated emergency response.
During MWC Shanghai, China Unicom, Ericsson and Qualcomm engineers established a point-to-point Cat-M1 VoLTE call using Meitrack P99 GPS tracking devices powered by Qualcomm MDM9206 global multimode LTE IoT modems. Ericsson products used in the demonstration included an LTE Radio Access Network, Evolved Packet Core, IP Multimedia Subsystem and Unified Data Management.
June 29, 2017 —
T-Mobile and AT&T are moving forward aggressively using License Assisted Access (LAA) and LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U).
T-Mobile completed its first mobile broadband data session live in the field using License Assisted Access (LAA) on its commercial network in Los Angeles recording 741 Mbps download speeds using 80 MHz of aggregated spectrum.
Meanwhile, in a separate LTE-LAA field trial, AT&T and Ericsson reached speeds of more than 650 Mbps in San Francisco.
“It’s a positive for the wireless infrastructure industry,” Ted Abrams, founder and principal of Abrams Wireless, said. “It will enjoy additional revenues because of LAA and LTE-U because at each fixed site new radio transceivers need to be installed to carry the signal.”
LAA and LTE-U aggregate unlicensed and licensed spectrum to create a better link between the base facility at the tower or small cell node and the user’s handset. Both technologies also had to be designed to coexist with unlicensed technologies to guard against interference.
Earlier this year, the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology authorized the first LTE-U devices in the 5 GHz band.
LAA vs. LTE-U
On the same day that T-Mobile announced its LAA achievement, it reported that it is live with LTE-U, which requires a specialized proprietary chipset developed by Qualcomm, in select locations in its commercial networks in Bellevue, Washington; Brooklyn, New York; Dearborn, Michigan; Las Vegas, Nevada; Richardson, Texas; and Simi Valley, California. More LTE-U capable sites will be rolled out later this year.
Both LTE-U and LAA extend LTE into unlicensed. LTE-U was introduced by 3GPP in Release 12 of its LTE standard and LAA was included in Release 13 of the LTE standard.
A mobile operator using LAA can support Gigabit Class LTE with as little as 20 megahertz of licensed spectrum, according to Qualcomm. LAA enables greater carrier aggregation than LTE-U, so mobile operators can combine larger amounts of unlicensed and licensed spectrum, according to T-Mobile.
AT&T called the testing of LTE-LAA technology a milestone on its way to 5G technology. The carrier’s initial LTE-LAA rollout is planned by the end of the year, when it hopes to reach gigabit speeds.
“LTE-LAA technology is expected to play a key role as we aim to reach theoretical peak speeds of up to 1 Gbps at some small cell sites by the end of the year. It’s also one of the technologies we’re using to enhance the network and boost speeds in our 5G Evolution markets,” Marachel Knight, senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design, said.
Verizon, which began the LTE-U Forum in 2014 with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Qualcomm Technologies, has been quiet on this front. In mid April it asked the FCC for permission to extend its LTE-U testing, according to RCR Wireless News.
Other LTE-U, LAA News
May 11, 2017 —
Working with Qualcomm Technologies and SoftBank, Sprint is developing 5G technologies in the 2.5 GHz band, including the 3GPP New Radio (NR) standard.
“Today 2.5 GHz TDD-LTE is one of the largest global wireless ecosystems used by some of the most influential operators in the world such as SoftBank and all of China’s operators, including China Mobile,” John Saw, Sprint CTO, wrote in a blog today.
The agreement includes developing a 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) on the 2.5 GHz spectrum, which Sprint expects to deploy in late 2019.
“As one of the first proponents of 2.5 GHz and TDD-LTE for 4G, we understand the value of building a strong global ecosystem early on. This is why we are working with Qualcomm and SoftBank to develop the 3GPP 5G NR capabilities for 2.5 GHz,” Saw wrote.
Sprint has more than 160 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum in the top 100 U.S. markets, more mobile-ready 5G spectrum than any other U.S. carrier.
“Today we’re using this advantage to densify our network with more cell sites and antennas to build a strong foundation for 5G,” Saw wrote. “We are ensuring that Sprint’s deep 2.5 GHz spectrum is an early first-mover in the 5G ecosystem. Not all spectrum bands have this kind of global support and economy of scale.”
Last December, Sprint announced that it had developed technology that will increase 2.5 GHz network coverage by up to 30 percent to nearly match 1.9 GHz spectrum performance, while penetrating buildings at a rate of be 90 percent of what is achieved at 1.9 GHz spectrum.
The carrier demonstrated the advanced technology, known as High Performance User Equipment (HPUE), which a new power class – Power Class 2 – for end-user devices such as smartphones. In development for two years, HPUE was designed to improve the performance of TDD-LTE Band 41 networks, John Saw, wrote in a blog.
“In 2015, we began working on a solution to improve our 2.5 GHz coverage by increasing the uplink coverage of Band 41 devices,” Saw wrote.
Sprint said that its network is ready for the initial rollout of HPUE in its 250 LTE Plus markets. Samsung, one of Sprint’s most important ecosystem partners, is expected to support HPUE in devices slated for commercial launch sometime this year.