Ericsson and T-Mobile US breach gigabit barrier on unlicensed spectrum

Ericsson and T-Mobile US have announced they have done it. The gigabit barrier is seemingly symbolic for telcos, and now T-Mobile US can start congratulating itself.

The test took place at T-Mobile’s Bellevue, Washington lab using the Ericsson Radio System and test equipment from Cobham Wireless, with the top speed hitting 1.1 Gbps. Who knows what this means now, but perhaps with this mission completed, CEO John Legere can get back to doing what he does best; insulting AT&T and Verizon on YouTube.

“T-Mobile has built the nation’s fastest LTE network by innovating and bringing new technologies to market for our customers,” said Neville Ray, CTO for T-Mobile. “This LAA technology builds upon our deployments of 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM and will give customers even greater access to near gigabit speeds in 2018.”

“Breaking the 1 Gbps-mark means that commercial gigabit speeds are not far from reality for many broadband users, with our LAA and MIMO technologies as key enablers,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Head of Networks at Ericsson. “It is also an example of how innovatively we work with partners to push the boundaries of technology and achieve new milestones.”

This is not the first example of getting past the gigabit speed barrier, Verizon and Ericsson teamed up in August to give a successful demonstration, but T-Mobile believes it is the first to do so by combining licensed and unlicensed spectrum. Using unlicensed spectrum is a notable step forward as it does make it more feasible to achieve these speeds in a real-world environment.

The data speeds were achieved by combining several LTE technologies including 256 QAM, 4×4 MIMO, and 12-layer Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), aggregating two licensed carriers and three unlicensed carriers. LAA has been demonstrated previously on 10 layers, falling short of the milestone, but those extra two layers seemed to have done it for the Swedes and the magenta army.

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