Huawei, Vodafone and Qualcomm have worked together on a project in Turkey to create the world's first network ready to use License Assisted Access (LAA) technology, based on the 3GPP Release 13 standard.
The introduction of LAA on mobile networks will help improve the user experience of consumers by enabling faster download speeds. For example, this will help consumers to enjoy a more immersive experience when using virtual reality or augmented reality apps.
LAA only addresses downlink speeds and requires anchor 4G spectrum to be combined with unlicensed spectrum to provide a larger pipe, enabling faster download speeds.
The LAA-ready network was tested using a Huawei Lampsite base station in Vodafone Turkey’s Arena Store in Istanbul. It uses 40 MHz of unlicensed spectrum in 5 GHz and 15 MHz licensed spectrums in 2.6 GHz for three carrier aggregation. The on-site peak download speed of 370 Mbps was achieved using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with X16 LTE mobile test device.
The on-site test also showed that the spectral efficiency of LAA is higher than Wi-Fi when using the same 40 MHz of spectrum.The test also showed that an LAA network can fairly co-exist with Wi-Fi technology by supporting the 3GPP R13 standard for ’listen before talk’ technology. 3GPP's LAA standard was finalised in March 2016.
The current series of Huawei small cell products can fully support LAA. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with X16 LTE is in production now and supports LAA technology. Consumers can expect smartphones with support for LAA this year.
Santiago Tenorio, Head of Networks for Vodafone Group said: “LAA technology will help Vodafone to improve the experience our customers have. The LAA network fully reuses the existing core network, network management system and accounting system we use for 4G, and so will effectively improve our return on investment.”
"For the spectrum, the industry has two main demands. The most important one is to promote continuous innovation in the industrial chain to enhance the overall efficiency of spectrum utilisation, and to provide better experience of connectivity," Ryan Ding, president of Huawei Products and Solutions, said.
"Faced with the large amount of unlicensed spectrum resources which are not fully used, Huawei and industry partners are using LAA technology to extend the LTE system to unlicensed band, which can help operators to improve the resources efficiency of unlicensed spectrum, and to improve network capacity of hotspot, and to ease the shortage of spectrum resources.”
Enrico Salvatori, senior VP and president, Qualcomm EMEA said: “We are very pleased to deliver the first commercial LAA deployment on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with X16 LTE mobile test device. Use of the unlicensed spectrum will become an increasingly important part of technology strategy as we move towards Gigabit LTE and 5G and we have shown that LAA can deliver on those promises today.”
Image: Vodafone Arena, Istanbul, Turkey