Light Reading

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        ADD A COMMENT
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?
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Cable has grown dramatically in the small- and midsized business (SMB) market, hitting the $12 billion mark, and is now heading into the enterprise business market.
Although it's still in the early stages, the Internet of Things (IoT) market is changing and beginning to mature. This is leading to commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) platform usage and falling prices.
Containerization is at last enabling CSPs to cost-effectively serve smaller customers with individualized network features – as early NFV supporters envisaged more than three years ago.
After a two-decade arms race to ever greater bandwidth and speed, 2015 saw a bifurcation in the mobile industry.
COTS platforms and white box switches are at the core of New IP networks, which service providers will use to deliver next-generation cloud and mobile services.
From The Founder
Light Reading sits down at CES with the head of Cisco's service provider video business, Conrad Clemson, to discuss how NFV and cloud security relate to video, the challenge of managing 4K/8K traffic, the global expansion of Netflix and virtual reality.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Level 3's Jack Waters

2|8|16   |   26:15   |   (1) comment


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
LRTV Custom TV
The Composable Telco

2|8|16   |   24:46   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Principal Analyst Caroline Chappell presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
LRTV Custom TV
Join Us at the Digital Operations Transformation Summit

2|4|16   |   03:52   |   (0) comments


The Digital Operations Transformation Summit on February 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Centre will bring together 50 senior executives to engage in a unique debate on the opportunities and challenges presented by the transformative evolving digital landscape. RSVP now at events@lightreading.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Making the Test: ADVA Ensemble Connector vs. Open vSwitch

2|4|16   |   01:28   |   (0) comments


Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, recently tested ADVA's Ensemble Connector, which replaces open vSwitch and offers carrier-grade capability and interoperability. The test results strengthen ADVA's credibility as a provider in the virtualization space.
LRTV Custom TV
Bridging the Gap Between PoCs & Deployment in NFV

2|4|16   |   31:50   |   (0) comments


Charlie Ashton of Wind River presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Dublin.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Mike Aquino

2|3|16   |   17:34   |   (0) comments


The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Shades of Ray
MWC: Buckle Up for 5G & the IIoT

2|2|16   |   02:28   |   (0) comments


This year's Mobile World Congress looks set to be a 5G land grab and a chance to get down and dirty with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – but what will the 5G discussions actually be about?
LRTV Custom TV
Case Study: Building China's Next-Gen TV Networks

2|2|16   |   5:01   |   (0) comments


With over 2 billion viewers worldwide, Shenzhen Media Group is one of China's largest content producers. By partnering with Huawei and Sobey, SZMG was able to modernize media operations with the Converged News Center, a production studio that is a model for next-generation workflows.
LRTV Custom TV
Quad Channel Modulator Driver with 46 Gbaud Capability from MACOM

1|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


MACOM's MAOM-003427 is the industry's first surface-mount modulator driver with 46 Gbaud capability to support next generation 200G and 400G applications.
LRTV Custom TV
Video Infographic: Validating Cisco's NFV Infrastructure

1|26|16   |   02:24   |   (1) comment


We all know that the network of the future will be virtual, but when will virtual become a reality? This video infographic covers the four key areas in which Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, tested Cisco's NFV infrastructure: performance, reliability, multi-service capabilities and single pane of glass management.

For the full report, see

Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Phil McKinney, CableLabs

1|22|16   |   13:36   |   (1) comment


At CES in Las Vegas, we met with Phil McKinney, CEO of CableLabs. Phil provides an update on the rollout of DOCSIS 3.1, his views on the future of open source and how consumer interest in virtual reality could affect network traffic.
Between the CEOs
Ericsson CTO on the Changing Telecom Market

1|21|16   |   10:26   |   (0) comments


At CES 2015, CTO of Ericsson, Ulf Ewaldsson, sits down with CEO of Light Reading, Steve Saunders, to discuss the changing telecom market, the new partnership with Cisco and the future of the telecom industry.
Upcoming Live Events
March 10, 2016, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 5, 2016, The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte, NC
May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Google's 5G Radio Ambitions Are Expanding
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/5/2016
Cincinnati Bell Joins Weight Watchers Club
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/5/2016
Vodafone: Flexible Work Policies Boost Profits
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/8/2016
WiCipedia: Faulty Feminism, Worthy Women & Peculiar Perks
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/5/2016
Yahoo & Verizon Sitting in a Tree...
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 2/8/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Animals with Phones
Happy Groundhogs for Technology Day! Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and G.fast for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.