Posted: January 5, 2014

Huawei recently announced it had help Australian mobile operator Optus launch the world’s first deployment of Carrier Aggregation (CA) technology on a live commercial LTE TDD (Long Term Evolution Time-Division) network with speeds hitting more than 160 Mb/s. The live deployment has been rolled out across a number Optus’ “4G Plus” sites in Melbourne, and follows an earlier trial of CA and other advanced technologies which saw speeds hit over 500 Mb/s on LTE TDD.

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“Carrier Aggregation is an LTE-Advanced technology which combines multiple spectrum bands – it’s the technological equivalent adding extra lanes to a highway, allowing for higher-speed data traffic,” said Huawei Australia CTO Peter Rossi. “This project adds to Huawei’s long list of world-first technology breakthroughs. By combining two or more channels or ‘carriers’ on existing live commercial LTE spectrum bands, Optus can dramatically increase throughput on its mobile data network.”

The CA deployment combines two 20MHz carriers on Optus’ 2300 MHz 4G Plus spectrum. Initial tests have already shown speeds of above 160 Mb/s on a single device.

“Introducing LTE carrier aggregation into a live, commercial TD-LTE network is a world first and an exciting technology innovation for us,” said Vic McClelland, Managing Director of Optus Networks.

“What’s more exciting is that Optus customers will soon be able to experience the faster speeds and greater capacity our 4G Plus network and carrier aggregation can provide. With Australians becoming increasingly mobile data hungry, this innovation puts Optus in a great position to provide the network capacity needed to handle this growing data demand.”

Additional CA tests have been conducted by Huawei and Optus in St Marys, west of Sydney, combining four 20MHz carriers for a total of 80MHz on the 2300MHz band to deliver mobile broadband speeds of over 520 Mb/s.

The same trial also demonstrated a number of additional LTE technologies including:

  • 4×4 MIMO (multi-input-multi-output), which delivered 125 Mb/s speeds on a single 20MHz carrier
  • Beamforming, where the network intelligently forms radio signals to deliver the best experience to users as they move around a cell coverage area. Beamforming tests showed a 67% improvement in data speeds at the edge of a cell, from 18 Mb/s to 30 Mb/s.
  • Circuit-Switched (CS) Fallback, which allows Packet-Switched LTE 4G connections to revert to CS GSM/UMTS 3G networks for voice calls

Huawei expects to launch mobile broadband devices compatible with CA (known as Cat-6 TD-LTE) in 2014.

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