Industry heavyweights show off gigabit LTE using LAA

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AT&T, Ericsson, Orange and Qualcomm have teamed up for the first live demonstration of gigabit LTE using License Assisted Access (LAA) technology, where licensed and unlicensed spectrum is combined to maximise LTE speeds and capacity.

The showcase determines that 1GBps speeds are achievable by aggregating up to 80MHz in licensed and unlicensed bands.

The experiment, which uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and an X16 LTE mobile test device, adheres to the ‘listen before talk’ mechanism, which supports co-existence of the two systems, as defined in ETSI.

Arnaud Vamparys, Vice President of Radio Networks at Orange, said: “LAA offers the reliability and seamless mobility of LTE in licensed spectrum supplemented with a throughput boost through the use of unlicensed spectrum.”

Ericsson reckons smartphones will be using 11GB of data per month by 2022, while licensed spectrum is costly and limited.

Per Narvinger, Head of Product Line Radio Access Network at Ericsson, said: “With LAA, subscribers will be able to enjoy an even better LTE experience as unlicensed spectrum is used to boost data speeds.”

In a parallel collaboration, Qualcomm has joined with Nokia and GE to demonstrate a private LTE network for the industrial internet of things (IIoT) market.

The demo utilises LTE-TDD in the US 3.5GHz shared spectrum band, also known as the Citizens Broadband Radio Service.

Qualcomm is providing the wireless technology and chipsets, Nokia is providing base stations and cloud services, and GE is making use of its open-source Predix operating system, designed for IIoT services. A trial private LTE network will be established at GE Digital’s headquarters in California.

Stephan Litjens, General Manager for Digital Automation at Nokia, said the trio are “accelerating the promise of automated industry by supporting a ‘plug n play’ private LTE ecosystem.”

The companies will conduct research and field trials throughout 2017, designed to advance the digitisation of industrial processes.

Qualcomm introduced a 5G spectrum sharing prototype system and trial platform last October, which allows service providers to operate 5G technologies in licensed, unlicensed and shared spectrum.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm is to integrate its Snapdragon 820 Automotive (820A) processor into PSA Group’s infotainment systems, for its Peugeot, Citroën and DS car brands.

The Snapdragon 820A is designed to allow infotainment systems to be upgradable through software updates, allowing vehicles to be upgraded with the latest differentiation. 

Qualcomm said it would enable PSA Group to deliver immersive in-car experiences, with music and video streaming, 3-D navigation, support for multiple high-resolution displays, and superior GPU performance.

The Snapdragon 820A processor will appear in select PSA vehicles from 2020.

Qualcomm snapped up semiconductor rival NXP for $47 billion last year, as it looks to expand further into automotive, IoT, security and networking connectivity.