Gigabit LTE and beyond

LTE is by far the most popular wireless technology. It is deployed in more than 150 countries across the globe. Consumer base has increased manifold as it (LTE) was the technology to truly provide mobile broadband on the go.The strong support LTE has received from Service providers and OEMs is due to the unique advantages it offers from its predecessors:flat-IP architecture, robust Radio,higher spectral efficiency and lower latency.This enabled the reversal of voice to data usage; with data occupying 70% of the total traffic.

 Gigabit LTE

The evolving mobile devices, applications,services and content is driving LTE technology to improve in capacity and coverage.LTE-A(LTE-Advanced) has improved the capacity with features like Carrier Aggregation (CA),better spectral efficiency and Multiple Input and Multiple Output  (MIMO).LTE-A can deliver cell capacity beyond 500 Mbps. However the capacity improvement is limited to spectrum availability in licensed space.To a large extent the increase in capacity is matched by increase in number of users.Hence the quest for using LTE in unlicensed spectrum.

LTE-U (LTE unlicensed spectrum) extends the benefits of LTE and LTE-A to unlicensed spectrum,enabling mobile operators to offload data traffic onto unlicensed frequencies more efficiently and effectively.

Even with the enhanced capacity of LTE-U,LTE is inadequate to serve the consumers at different coverage areas – e.g. inside buildings,various hot-spots, at crowded events etc. To counter it,MNOs are deploying multiple layers of coverage like outdoor macro cells,indoor small cells (femto access) in buildings and outdoor small cells at specific congested or low coverage areas.LTE has come up with features like Enhanced Inter-cell Interference Coordination (ICIC) which allows macro and small cells to work in tandem and derive benefits from each other.

 Beyond LTE : 5G

The evolution in LTE clearly indicates a trend towards supporting enhanced mobile broadband, massive IoT and mission critical services.LTE-A is the building block or a strong foundation on which the next generation wireless is being built.

5G wireless system is designed to offer multi gigabit capacity and super low latency.It has the potential to enable the augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) in different sectors like education,  health, automobiles, manufacturing etc. 5G trials in millimeter wave frequencies like 28 GHz, 39 GHz has shown positive results in delivering multi-gigabit capacity in countries like South Korea, US and …. .

Posted by: Sanjeev Shankar,Madhukara Putty