ZTE reports it has completed the first round of IoT tests based on long term evolution (LTE) and Wi-Fi link aggregation (LWA) architecture as defined by 3GPP Release 13, in partnership with MediaTek.
During the tests, ZTE and MediaTek achieved bandwidth aggregation for both the unlicensed band wireless local area network (WLAN) and licensed band LTE. The test throughput was close to the theoretical peak, with both functional and performance test results achieving the expected targets.
The test environment followed the LWA standard architecture as defined by 3GPP R13, and the test used an X20 custom terminal provided by MediaTek. The evolved NodeB (eNB) software was upgraded to support the LWA function, and standard control plane and bearer plane connections were set up between the eNB network element (NE) and WLAN terminal (WT).
The test version supported two bearer distribution modes - split bearer and switch bearer - for flexible configuration of LTE and WLAN.
LWA is the latest feature incorporated in 3GPP release 13 (LTE-Advanced Pro), integrating Wi-Fi and LTE with a new service architecture that couples non-licensed spectrum WLANs to LTE systems at a low cost, greatly improving LTE performance and the value of WLAN.
Base stations and smart phones can use the LWA feature to split data traffic, so that part of the LTE traffic can be tunnelled through the WLAN. For operators with both LTE and WLAN, LWA can help improve customer experience, by integrating network resources and aggregating bandwidth through software upgrades.
ZTE reckons this is the first end-to-end LWA IoT test based on the standard 3GPP R13 architecture. This marks a step on the road towards the commercial launch of the technology, which will allow operators to connect more devices to the 4G network at a lower cost, as well as bringing a high quality user experience.
After the test, ZTE said it will release scenario-specific LWA solutions including high-density indoor coverage and home blind-spot covering based on QCell, Femto and other product platforms.
As part of the Pre5G solution, LWA will help operators achieve integration and optimisation of LTE and WLAN network resources, eliminate network blind spots and implement indoor coverage, in order to facilitate small cell development.