Light Reading

Sprint Promises 180Mbit/s 'Peaks' in 2015

Dan Jones
6/18/2014
50%
50%

CHICAGO -- Light Reading's Big Telecom Event 2014 -- Sprint sparked up the morning keynote of Light Reading's largest-ever event with a tale of how it will up its LTE speeds in US cities through 2015.

Jay Bluhm, vice president of network development and engineering for Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), kicked off Day 2 of BTE with a rundown of the carrier's ongoing 3G and 4G updates with Network Vision and Spark. Bonding radio channels with carrier aggregation through LTE Advanced is at the basis of the Spark update, but Sprint takes it further with software upgrades, multiple antennas (MIMO), and updated radio technology at the cellsite, alongside tri-band MIMO rollouts on the device side.

"By 2015 you're going see these peak speeds of 180 Mbit/s, where you're getting peak speeds of 60 Mbit/s today," Bluhm told the audience. (See Sprint's Spark: It's Fast but No Multi-Tasker.)

Bluhm Sparks Up BTE
Sprint's Jay Bluhm talks LTE in Chicago.
Sprint's Jay Bluhm talks LTE in Chicago.

At the very heart of the Spark upgrade is 1,900 MHz, 800 MHz, and 2.5 GHz tri-band LTE support: 1,900 MHz is the workhorse frequency that gives Sprint widespread outdoor coverage; 800 MHz provides better indoor coverage and improved range; while the 2.5 GHz channel is the racehorse, providing peak speeds in urban areas. (See Igniting the Future: Sprint Spark.)

Triple Threat
Sprint's Workhorse, Pony Express, and Racehorse frequencies for LTE depth.
Sprint's Workhorse, Pony Express, and Racehorse frequencies for LTE depth.

8T8R? Come again?
Multiple antenna arrays combined with eight-transmit/eight-receive (8T8R) radios at the cellsite will boost the range and speed of the LTE TDD 2.5 GHz element of Sprint's Spark offering. Sprint has said previously that it will start deploying that technology around the middle of this year. (See Defining 4G: What the Heck Is LTE TDD?)

8T8R is a term that we are all likely to see more of soon. Current cellular design typically uses two transmit and receive paths -- 8T8R has eight. 8T8R enables wide-range "beamforming," which means that the operator can direct a beam to a specific user's device, improving the speed, range, and signal-to-noise characteristics of the transmission. (See Sprint: LTE TDD Speed Boost Coming Soon.)

Long-time readers will remember that these concepts were originally tried out with WiFi, way back in 2002. They were also floated as a WiMax booster, but LTE overtook that specification as the preferred 4G technology. (See Vivato Switches Sides.)

8T8R has become possible for cellular because the technology has shrunk enough that a multi-element antenna array and a remote radio head (RRH) can be installed to support 8T8R at a cellsite. For instance, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) writes that its "RRH on band 41 [2.5 GHz] supports up to 160 W total (8 times 20 W) and up to 120 MHz of aggregated carrier bandwidth to fit with Sprint large TDD bandwidth and capacity needs." (See What the [Bleep] Is Fronthaul? for more on what RRHs are.)

Beamforming and vastly increased transmit and receive paths will likely eventually become part of the 5G specification, too. (See DoCoMo Unveils 5G Trial Plans.)

Don't forget that MIMO and multiple frequencies will also require bigger antenna arrays and tri-band support at the device for best performance. Bluhm notes that Sprint already has a raft of tri-band devices available as it deploys Spark upgrades in major US cities. (See Fanning Sprint's Spark in NYC.)

The Big Picture
The board tech elements that will allow Sprint's speed bump.
The board tech elements that will allow Sprint's speed bump.

Sprint has access to up to 120 MHz of 2.5 GHz TDD spectrum in 100 major markets, Bluhm says. This means that it is planning to hit three-channel radio carrier aggregation on that frequency in 2015.

Now We're Bonding
Three-channel carrier aggregation delights the radio wonks in the crowd in Chicago.
Three-channel carrier aggregation delights the radio wonks in the crowd in Chicago.

Carrier aggregation in the LTE Advanced specification (3GGP Release 10 and beyond) is at the root of Sprint's Spark advance, Bluhm says, but the operator will take it further with software updates and device support. "The infrastructure we're deploying is capable of supporting three carriers, which will get you 180 Mbit/s peaks."

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/24/2014 | 9:38:32 PM
Re: They need this sooner rather than later...
I agree. I've stood in the same spot (maybe moved about a step or 2) & watched my coverage flip-flop between 3G & LTE. One 'works', the other doesn't. It's extremely annoying.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
6/20/2014 | 7:27:52 PM
Re: They need this sooner rather than later...
Its going to take a while whatever, you don't do this big of an upgrade in a few months.
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/20/2014 | 9:02:13 AM
Re: They need this sooner rather than later...
I spend so much time traveling around the country I just can't rely on Sprint or T-Mobile's network just yet since coverage in many places remains abysmal. I'm stuck on Verizon for now (begrudgingly given their closed and locked device policies). Happy to jump to Sprint if they can get the network up to snuff. 180 Mbps isn't as important to me as overall coverage and signal reliability.
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/19/2014 | 10:00:59 PM
Re: They need this sooner rather than later...
So much for the NOW network. I feel like it's the waiting network. I had better speeds when I'm roaming on Verizon's network.
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/19/2014 | 10:54:44 AM
They need this sooner rather than later...
They need this sooner rather than later. The LTE network they have continues to lag in all big four LTE speed and latency tests. With Sprint, it feels like the kind of network everyone wants always feels indefinitely around a bend....
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (1) comment


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (5) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
To keep up with consumers' increasing digital lifestyles, an IT system and operating model overhaul is required using a modern BSS, IES and analytics.
Hot Topics
Eurobites: Nokia Seals HERE Sale
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 8/3/2015
Cable Feuds With Senate Dems Over STBs
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/31/2015
Predictions Are Hard, Especially About the Future
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/31/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
I was pleasantly surprised when Ericsson recently agreed to let me interview its CEO, Hans Vestberg. Traditionally, mega-companies like Ericsson (or Cisco) have kept ...
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Cats with Phones
Comes With Free Phone Stand Click Here
Who says cats don't have any skills?