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Category Archives: Licensed Assisted Access

PCTEL Launches LTE-LAA Testing

PCTEL now has LTE-LAA (Licensed Assisted Access) testing capabilities on its IBflex scanning receiver. LAA supplements LTE network capacity by enabling carriers to use freely available unlicensed spectrum along with their licensed spectrum holdings. LTE-LAA operates in noisy, uncontrolled environments, where it must share spectrum with services such as Wi-Fi. IBflex scanning receivers accurately measure LTE-LAA coverage and signal quality so that wireless carriers can verify and optimize their LTE-LAA deployments.

“LTE-LAA is another step in the evolution to 5G. It is essential to enabling Gigabit-rate download speeds by leveraging freely available higher band spectrum using small cell infrastructure,” said Jeff Miller, Senior Vice President and General Manager of PCTEL’s RF Solutions group. “PCTEL’s scanning receivers give operators a full view of the RF environment, so that they can successfully deploy LTE-LAA and prepare their infrastructure for 5G,” added Miller.

IBflex scanning receivers support LTE-LAA measurements worldwide, including on 5 GHz and CBRS spectrum. The IBflex enables simultaneous testing of multiple technologies, including LTE MIMO and LTE Advanced Pro features such as LTE-LAA, NB-IoT, and LTE-M. IBflex scanners are designed with low power consumption, a hot-swap battery system, and Bluetooth® connectivity for ease of use indoors or out.

LAA Deployment Comes to Russia

The first commercial Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology has been deployed in Russia, resulting in Gigabit LTE peak download speeds. The LAA commercial rollout was part of an agreement signed by MTS, a Russian operator, and Ericsson in 2017 to upgrade MTS network with Ericsson Radio System and core network solutions and Qualcomm Technologies

Delivering Gigabit LTE speeds, this is the first commercial LAA rollout in the region and is part of the agreement entered by MTS and Ericsson in 2017 to upgrade the MTS network with Ericsson Radio System and core network solutions and prepare for 5G and IoT.

LAA provides access to additional unlicensed frequencies to operators. With this milestone, MTS has surpassed its previous 700 Mbps speed record, enabling the service provider to take the next step in turning its mobile infrastructure into gigabit-capable.

Commercial Deployment Nears Gigabit Wireless Speeds

By the Editors of AGL

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.

FCC Okays Further Testing of LAA Equipment by AT&T

June 11, 2013 –

By J. Sharpe Smith —

Senior Editor, eDigest —

The FCC has approved the request for a Special Temporary Authority (STA) filed by AT&T to test Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) equipment operating at 5 GHz in San Francisco and Indianapolis.

The carrier plans to operate prototype LAA equipment in the 5150-5250 MHz and 5725-5850 MHz bands to evaluate performance and determine customer acceptability, during the development, design and pre-production phases of the equipment, according to the STA request.

Last week, AT&T and Ericsson reached speeds of more than 650 Mbps in an LTE-LAA field trial that took place in San Francisco.

T-Mobile has also completed its first LAA mobile broadband data session in the field in Los Angeles, achieving 741 Mbps download speeds on 80 MHz of aggregated spectrum.

What is License Assisted Access Technology?

License Assisted Access is an LTE feature that combines frequencies in the 5 GHz unlicensed band with licensed spectrum to provide a wider channel.

The radio access technology allows licensed spectrum users to share spectrum, and avoid interference with, with unlicensed users by using a “listen before talk” method. Hence coverage for all users is improved, whether their devices are using LAA, licensed cellular or Wi-Fi, according to Ericsson.

“To improve app coverage indoors in any size or type of commercial building – whether that’s a suburban shopping center, train station or a high-rise office building – Ericsson is adding LAA to its indoor small cell portfolio, RBS 6402 Indoor Pico cell,” according to the Ericsson web site. “LAA introduces the security and performance associated with high-performance LTE networks to spectrum available in the 5 GHz band. To meet the outdoor hot spots challenges, Ericsson LAA is added to the outdoor small cell Micro Radio 2205.”

LAA vs. LTE-U

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.

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.

A Clouded Future for LTE-U?

By Ernest Worthman —

July 9, 2015 — There is still trouble in the unlicensed LTE (LTE-U) camp. So far, LTE-U testing results indicate mixed results as to its ability to co-exist fairly with Wi-Fi. Mixed results may mean different things to different people, but the fact that there is controversy and technical issues is enough to infuse some doubt into the technology.

Granted the tests “favor” the testers — Google, Qualcomm and Broadcom — but the fact remains that there are co-existence issues, even if they are under unique or unusual conditions. Often times such conditions can become the norm as the proliferation of integrated networks proceeds. If LTE-U and Wi-Fi do interfere with each other, even at the edge, not doing something about it is asking for trouble.

And, along with its Wi-Fi issues, the LTE-U specifications developed by the industry consortium LTE-U Forum and the version being standardized by 3GPP, Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), are substantially different, because of requirements that differ from region to region.

The best scenario is that egos get put aside and unbiased tests show the real situation. It shouldn’t be a marketing or market share issue. There is plenty of room for both Wi-Fi and LTE-U.

Next there is LTE Wi-Fi link aggregation, known as LWA, whick is a way for carriers to integrate Wi-Fi and cellular. LWA uses LTE for the uplink and both LTE and Wi-Fi for the downlink. It requires a software update for devices so they can engage their Wi-Fi radios to handle some LTE traffic, which is collected at Wi-Fi access points and then sent to an LTE small cell. It also allows integration of LTE and Wi-Fi in the RAN because the system can optimize the way traffic is split between the two interfaces.

So far, there isn’t a lot of traction for LWA but there should be. Wi-Fi is taking an ever-increasing share of the mobile traffic. Once it expands to include voice calls, operators should integrate Wi-Fi with their core networks, and LWA is an ideal vehicle for this. That opens the possibility that carriers could eventually bill subscribers for time spent on partner Wi-Fi networks. So finally, a business case for Wi-Fi?