Ericsson and Qualcomm demo LTE-U in China

Ericsson and Qualcomm have paved one part of the road to 5G with a breakthrough in one enabling technology. The system involves making taking unlicensed spectrum used by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and using it for 5G in indoor networks.

This week the equipment vendor and chip market jointly demonstrated that LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) can harness both licensed and unlicensed parts of the 5 GHz spectrum to support a data throughput 300 Mbps.

The demonstration took place in China using a second-generation multi-standard, multi-band indoor picocell base station, Wi-Fi support and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with X12 LTE.

The breakthrough brought forward the commercial launch of LTE-U, an LTE-Advanced technology that can improve mobile data speeds and reduce congestion through a unified network.

The LTE-U will allow carriers to aggregate licensed and unlicensed bands, which could empower mobile telcos to cater for growing volumes of indoor data traffic.

Today, unlicensed spectrum is generally utilized by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies. The LTE-U will colonise this unlicensed band to give 5G networks incremental capacity and could improve indoor coverage, giving smartphone users better app experiences.

Ericsson says the LTE-U will also incorporate spectrum fair sharing within the 5 GHz band to accommodate traditional Wi-Fi users. It achieves this through LTE-U’s dynamic secondary cell feature, which senses interference (with for example Wi-Fi traffic) in the neighbouring environment and aims to provide fair access to the unlicensed spectrum.

In the demo at PT/Expo Comm China 2015, the companies combined one 20 MHz licensed component carrier (CC) with one 20 MHz CC running on 5 GHz unlicensed spectrum over the air. This was one of few public showings for Ericsson’s LTE-U small cells, which were first unveiled at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).The demonstration showed how the system can work in buildings up to 5000 square meters in size.

Ericsson claims it can install and go live in minutes with tablet-sized footprints. The LTE-U aggregator will be available in Ericsson’s small cell portfolio at the start of the fourth quarter 2015.

Discover the latest developments on the road to 5G at 5G World in London 28-30 June 2016


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