The next step in carrier aggregation has been achieved, with Telstra and Ericsson driving the evolution of LTE on the inexorable path to 5G technology while preparing Telstra’s network for increased capacity and future technologies.
Naturally, achieving 1Gbps speeds over LTE is an outstanding milestone, which will, in the future, deliver more reliable performance and better user experiences across a wide range of applications - as well as media streaming.
The development also shows the drive for telco network companies like Ericsson and network operators to move towards 5G, despite the spectrum limitations that the current technology faces in actually delivering 1Gbps speeds to individual users, rather than in aggregate.
This is where Nokia Networks and its partnership with Artemis Networks, promising the delivery of 5G speeds over standard 4G LTE spectrum and smartphone modems, which each user able to theoretically receive the maximum amount of bandwidth each piece of spectrum can offer - is very intriguing and competitive - and which is explained by Nokia Networks and Artemis here.
That said, Ericsson is not standing still and has been furiously working on finding its own path to 5G technology, and with today’s world-first 1Gbps achievement with its major Australian partner Telstra, it is making its own strong strides in the 5G direction.
So, how does Ericsson explain that it and Telstra were able to make its instantly famous world-first demonstration of 1 Gbps capability with five carrier LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation integrated on a live end-to-end mobile network?
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Downlink speeds in excess of 950 Mbps were achieved with a UDP (User Datagram Protocol which is used for realtime applications such as voice and video over the internet) speed test application by aggregating 100 MHz of spectrum across Telstra’s spectrum holdings.
Just as importantly, explained Ericsson, “we have also been able to hit download speeds of over 843 Mbps end to end over the Internet to the speedtest.net site Reaching speeds of 1 Gbps was an original goal of the LTE standard, making this demonstration a key milestone in the evolution of LTE-Advanced.
“In the test, downlink speeds were achieved by aggregating 100 MHz of spectrum across the 700 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2600 MHz (2 x 20 MHz) bands and delivered to a Cobham Aeroflex TM500 mobile device.”
Mike Wright, Telstra Group Managing Director, Networks, said: “Demand for a superior user experience is ever increasing as customers are ‘always-on’ and have access to new and advanced technologies. We are thrilled to be able to demonstrate this capability in our network thanks to our ongoing partnership with Ericsson.
“The demonstration of 1 Gbps end to end capability shows the advanced state of these standards and our ability to rapidly bring them into commercial service in order to deliver increased capacity in our network to meet growing demand.
"In addition to Telstra consumer customers, we are preparing our networks for growth in business use, as well as emerging technologies, which rely on our ability to deliver high capacity and low-latency solutions."
Per Narvinger, Head of LTE, Ericsson says: “With the high pace of innovation in the device and application industry, users increasingly expect high-performance coverage and the ability to use their apps anytime, anywhere. Activating new advanced network capabilities provides operators with a more solid and secure network performance.”
The aggregation of 100 MHz of spectrum using five carriers across four separate bands, as achieved in this test, lays the groundwork for the aggregation of higher frequency bands on the road to 5G.
As Ericsson proudly boasts, it has long had cooperation from and with Telstra on a number of key industry milestones, focused on increasing network capacity and delivering better experience for smartphone users.
Currently Telstra customers can access world-leading speeds with devices capable of up to 450 Mbps on compatible handsets and 600 Mbps on a mobile hotspot in selected 4GX coverage areas - more details of that at iTWire’s previous coverage here.
Ericsson explains that ‘LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation enables operators to combine spectrum across different bands, enabling the more efficient use of spectrum to deliver a better user experience to customers throughout the network.’
Ericsson also says ‘it has also been a leader in the use of higher order modulations schemes, including 256 QAM, which enables a higher LTE encoding rate, to deliver higher peak rates within a given cell radius.’
The explanation is that ‘256 QAM is an ideal solution for indoor and outdoor small cell architectures, and with Ericsson’s recently announced Lean Carrier solution, can also be applied in the broader macro cell environment.’
The company proudly notes ‘this is the third world-first capability milestone that Telstra and Ericsson have achieved together this year, following 450 Mbps in February and 600 Mbps in September 2015.’