Nokia Networks and Qualcomm Technologies have completed interoperability testing of LTE-Advanced three-band carrier aggregation (3x CA), allowing more operators to achieve subscriber data rates of up to 300Mbps in their network environments.
The tests utilised the Nokia Flexi Multiradio 10 base station and Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and allows operators, such as SK Telecom, to offer data rates of up to 300Mbps to their subscribers using a network of three frequencies (20MHz + 10MHz + 10MHz).
3x CA provides an alternative option to operators to reach 40Mhz carrier aggregation, as this option was previously available only to the operators with at least two bands of 20MHz bandwidth each.
3x CA is a step towards enabling higher data rates for LTE operators around the world that face fragmented spectrum. This follows the world’s first commercial introduction of two-band carrier aggregation (10MHz + 10MHz) in Korea in 2013 and the bandwidth expansion (20MHz + 10MHz) to offer peak downlink rates of up to 225Mbps on smartphones since June 2014.
“By applying carrier aggregation to more than two bands, we enable operators to turn their investment in 4G frequency spectrum and networks into marketable higher data rates,” said Tero Peltola, head of FDD-LTE business line at Nokia Networks.
“With this interoperability test campaign, we have verified that our Carrier Aggregation implementation works perfectly with user devices based on Snapdragon processors.”
The interoperability tests with Qualcomm Technologies were performed in September at the Nokia Networks laboratory in Ulm, Germany, and involved 3GPP bands 1, 3 and 5 as used by SK Telecom.
Nokia Networks launched its 3x CA capability in February. Although LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation is standardised within 3GPP, interoperability testing is vital to prove the functionality works using each vendor’s software.
“The completion of these 3x CA interoperability tests helps expand the scope of Category 6 LTE and thereby enhances LTE user experience worldwide,” said Serge Willenegger, vice president of product management for Qualcomm Technologies.
“Continuing evolution in networks and user device chipsets together is the fundamental enabler for making mobile broadband faster for more subscribers around the world.”
Nokia Networks is introducing 3x CA to commercial networks later this year. The Snapdragon 810 processor is expected to be available in commercial devices by the first half of 2015.