Light Reading
As Release 10 and 11 of the 3GPP's LTE standards are being turned on, operators are seeking features that offer the biggest bang for their buck.

Uncovering More of the LTE-A Smorgasbord

Danny Dicks
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Danny Dicks
7/4/2014
50%
50%

There is a great deal of interest in carrier aggregation (CA) among operators around the world trying to make the most of their spectrum allocations. Our recent research identified more than 40 networks, either commercial, pilots or trials, that are using CA -- in both time division duplex (TDD) and frequency division duplex (FDD) modes, inter-band and intraband -- around the world.

Operators in the US, Europe, Australia and, especially, Asia-Pacific have put their weight behind CA as a quick way to improve the peak speeds of their radio networks, and to reap the benefits that this brings in terms of marketing. CA using TDD and FDD modes together is useful for improving coverage and capacity at the same time, improving the customer experience of the network.

Some operators are also using additional LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) features (those defined in 3GPP Release 10 and above) designed to enable effective deployment of small cells within HetNets, to address both coverage and capacity issues. These features include eICIC interference mitigation and Uplink CoMP (a Release 11 feature) for improved uplink performance.

But a lot of the LTE-A smorgasbord is still covered up. Dual Connectivity -- an enhancement for CA that provides for simultaneous connection to macro- and low-power base stations -- is a Release 12 feature, and R12 won't be frozen by 3GPP until later this year, so it is unlikely to be deployed until 2015.

Further eICIC (FeICIC), which vendors point out delivers significant additional improvements over the earlier eICIC standard-compliant feature, needs compatible user equipment, which is not yet available.

As is quite often the case as network technologies progress through the generations, some features could be switched on in the network, if only there were more powerful devices available with appropriate capabilities built in. For instance, most LTE-A services must rely on Cat 4 devices capable of dealing with 10MHz + 10MHz CA (but no more).

Trials of wider carriers, or three or more carriers, use test or prototype Cat 6+ user equipment; there are a very few Cat 6 devices currently out there. And the diversity of possible combinations of carriers that different operators around the world will want to aggregate makes it difficult for device vendors to introduce smartphones, dongles, personal WiFi hotspots and the like to meet the varied requirements of their customers.

However, there has been rapid progress during 2014. We've found chipsets from multiple providers capable of supporting 40MHz of channel bandwidth (Cat 6 performance), more than 20 different CA combinations, and software upgradability to Release 11 features. While there will be a delay in translating new chipsets into devices, it's clear that the LTE-A ecosystem is growing and developing month by month.

The newest Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, "LTE-A: State of the Market," reviews those features of the 3GPP specifications for Release 10 and beyond, and examines why some of them are being deployed and trialed by operators around the world, while others are likely to remain unrealized for some time. It also looks at the availability of chipsets and devices supporting LTE-A features.

Finally, it gives the perspectives on LTE-A market development of eight leading vendors of LTE-A network infrastructure.

— Danny Dicks, Analyst, Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider


This report, LTE-A: State of the Market, is available as part of an annual subscription (6 issues per year) to Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.heavyreading.com/4glte.

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/5/2014 | 11:54:14 AM
Issue
The issue of increasing speed is seemingly never-ending - maybe aggregation can help that. What I am starting to wonder is if some of these wireless technologies start to converge we will see wireless broadband become faster than that of regular wired broadband.

Any thoughts from anyone?
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
New streamlined methodologies for data processing, analysis and storage are needed for testing virtualized network functions.
Network operators have a unique opportunity to develop and profit from IoT-as-a-service propositions.
Cloud enablement partnerships between traditional communications service providers and cloud specialists are set to proliferate in the coming years.
Communications service providers are looking to play an integral role in the M2M (machine-to-machine) value chain, but it's not easy.
Many US utility companies today are caught in a crisis of identity, progression and even purpose.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
Paul Bunyan's Giant Gigabit Plans

12|22|14   |   03:26   |   (0) comments


Gary Johnson, the CEO and GM of Minnesota rural operator Paul Bunyan Communications, discusses the company's 5,000-square-mile gigabit network rollout.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Building the Case for NFV

12|19|14   |   02:14   |   (0) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit, James Feger, VP, Network Strategy & Development at CenturyLink, talks about how the US operator is approaching virtual network functions from an operational and business case perspective.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/17/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
Comcast Launches 4K Streaming Service
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 12/18/2014
US Carriers, You're Going to Cuba!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/18/2014
Google Steering Android Towards Cars – Report
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/19/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive