Ericsson, one of the biggest proponents of mobile broadband in general, and LTE in particular, has demoed a new variant of the technology called LTE Advanced, which is ten times faster than today’s commercial LTE networks. Ericsson showed off LTE Advanced using commercial hardware in Kista, Sweden for the Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS). From the Ericsson press release:
The system, based on commercial hardware, was operating on a test frequency provided by the PTS. This enabled Ericsson to demonstrate LTE Advanced functionality such as carrier aggregation of 3 x 20MHz (60MHz aggregated) over the air in a mobile environment for the first time.
The demo system was based on Ericsson’s multi-mode, multi-standard radio base station, RBS 6000. Live traffic was streamed between the RBS and a moving van from which network performance could be monitored. In the demonstration, 60MHz of aggregated bandwidth was used, compared to the 20MHz maximum that is currently possible using LTE. In the downlink, 8×8 MIMO was used.
Ericsson isn’t the first one to show off LTE Advanced. Other carriers and hardware makers are showing off networks with speeds of up to 1 Gbps. Ericsson, however, says the sale of this gear will start in 2013, so theoretically, our current LTE network speeds could get a massive bump in a couple of years, provided we get gobs of spectrum (60 GHz is six times what today’s operators are using) and all-new equipment on both the base station and the device side to support MIMO. Of course, I know that’s wishful thinking, but don’t blame me for getting excited about the idea of finally having real 4G networks.
If you want to know more about LTE Advanced, then check out 10 Things You Need to Know About LTE-Advanced by Stacey Higginbotham.