One of the first carrier aggregation (CA) systems has been deployed in Finland. LTE-A speeds twice as fast as anything available on currently deployed LTE networks are being touted. Broadcom and Finnish carrier Elisa and Nokia Solutions and Networks have demonstrated LTE Advanced carrier aggregation Category 6 data rates of 300 Mb/s on a live commercial network.
The test aggregated two 20 MHz channels in the 1800 MHz band (LTE Band 3) and the 2600 MHz band (LTE Band 7) to reach speeds of 300 Mb/s. “Category 6 is the number one priority LTE feature for operators as they look to deploy the next speed enhancement to their networks,” said Robert Rango, executive VP of Broadcom’s mobile and wireless group. The successful test used Broadcom’s Category 6 LTE-A user equipment with inter-band carrier aggregation, and NSN’s Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station.
The target figure for data throughput in the downlink is 1 Gb/s for 4G LTE Advanced. Even with the improvements in spectral efficiency it is not possible to provide the required headline data throughput rates within the maximum 20 megahertz channel. The only way to achieve the higher data rates is to increase the overall bandwidth used. IMT Advanced sets the upper limit at 100 megahertz, but with an expectation of 40 megahertz being used for minimum performance. For the future it is possible the top limit of 100 megahertz could be extended.
There are basically two flavors of CA, contiguous and non-contiguous. Right out of the box, and most reader assume correctly, contiguous is the easier of the two to implement. It simply aggregates two adjacent channels. Non-contiguous channels are, obviously, not adjacent and not as easy to implement. Simply stated, CA is a very promising technology.
— Ernest Worthman, Executive Editor, Small Cells magazine