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Benefits of LTE-A carrier aggregation

Posted: 27 May 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:data traffic? network capacity? LTE? Wi-Fi? carrier aggregation?

The importance of CA for users is more than just greater bandwidth. With the greater bandwidth Better throughput is experienced, especially at the cell edge, as illustrated below. Clearly, an otherwise weak signal at the cell edge is enhanced through CA, an important benefit to users away from city centers.

Two-carrier CA can double capacity for bursty applications while 3-carrier can triple capacity. Increased data rates are gained, while maintaining the same user experience under typical network loading. When carriers are aggregated, there are more resources, and due to trunking efficiency the overall capacity can be more than the sum total of the capacities of the individual carriers. The increased capacity will help operators to address bursty smartphone traffic as well as enable better use of social media applications, instant messaging and more.

Figure 3: Impact for users.

For operators, CA provides higher network efficiency than separate radio channels while providing more capacity at any given user throughput. Moreover, CA provides better user throughput even under network load and supports richer content and services.

There are currently many networks that have 2x20MHz aggregation, approaching 300Mbps throughputs. Networks will evolve in many directions. In the near term, there could be aggregation across more carriersup to five defined in LTE Advancedand more band combinations50 or more being defined in 3GPP; aggregation in the uplink etc. Further, there will be aggregation across FDD/TDD, across cells, and across licensed and unlicensed bands.

With LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation, users will have faster sharing of photos, rapid access to large files in the cloud, quicker loading of complex websites and higher quality video streaming in more locations. This is why it is a must-have for both operators and users.

About the author
Will Strauss is a principal analyst at Forward Concepts, specializing in markets driven by digital signal processing (DSP). Wireless is the biggest market for DSP technology.


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