Enhancing the quality of wireless signal transmission and indoor network performance is high up on the broadband industry's agenda. Showcasing its latest advances in small-cell wireless network technology, Ericsson announced the introduction of License Assisted Access (LAA), or LTE-U, at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last month.
Making use of the 5 GHz frequency band and aggregating spectrum across licensed and unlicensed bands, Ericsson and partner Qualcomm Technologies demonstrated indoor peak-rate LAA performance of up to 450 Mbps. Besides the higher rates of wireless network throughput, LAA enables “fair sharing of spectrum between mobile and Wi-Fi devices,” Ericsson explains in a press release.
“LAA, or LTE-U, extends the benefits of LTE to unlicensed spectrum, providing reliable and predictable performance. The licensed band provides an anchor to ensure a seamless user experience with full mobility while the unlicensed band provides incremental capacity and enables faster data speeds.”
Not Commercially Available…Yet
Live in Ericsson labs, LAA isn't available generally in the marketplace at this point. Ericsson will add LAA to its indoor small cell portfolio starting in 4Q 2015. That includes the Ericsson RBS 6402 Indoor Picocell, for buildings under 50,000 square feet, and later the Ericsson Radio Dot System for medium-sized and larger buildings.
Mobile network operators including Verizon, T-Mobile US, Inc. and SK Telecom “are already investigating the performance benefits that LAA can offer to mobile customers on their networks,” Ericsson said.
Commented T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray: "It is very encouraging to see License Assisted Access live in the Ericsson labs already delivering on the promises of both a better mobile broadband customer experience and the fair sharing and co-existence within the 5 GHz band among wireless and Wi-Fi devices.
“With over 500 MHz of underutilized spectrum in the 5 GHz Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (UNII) band, LAA can provide our customers with superior network performance while effectively co-existing with other Wi-Fi devices to ensure a better experience for all wireless users."
Aggregation of licensed and unlicensed frequency bands and higher frequencies by small-cell architectures are two focal points of 5G research and development, standards for which do not yet exist. “These will be key to operators as they evolve their LTE networks to support increasing mobile broadband demand from consumers, businesses and the Internet of Things (IoT),” Ericsson noted.