4 WAYS OPERATORS CAN INCREASE NETWORK CAPACITY

Article Author: D’Andre Ladson, VP of Marketing, BEC Technologies

 

The demand for wireless data connectivity continues to grow and at a much faster rate than carriers can currently keep up with. Given that some carriers have spent many millions of dollars in constructing their LTE networks, building more capacity by adding more cell sites is not an option. Instead, carriers need to explore other methods to increase network capacity to meet demand.

Here are four ways carriers can increase network capacity:

1. Carrier Aggregation

Carrier Aggregation (CA), which allows mobile network operators to combine a number of separate LTE carriers. CA enables them to increase the peak user data rates and overall capacity of their networks and to exploit fragmented spectrum allocations. It is possible to combine carriers in the same frequency band (intra-band, contiguous). It is also possible to combine two or more non-contiguous channels within the same band (intra-band, non-contiguous) or different frequency bands (intra-band; non-contiguous).

Carrier Aggregation support has been implemented in BEC user equipment’s for some time now. Two-channel carrier aggregation (2CA) is relatively common today.  We introduced solutions supporting 3CA DL this quarter and carriers can expect solutions that support 3CA DL and 2CA UL later this year with 5CA DL and 2CA UL across both FDD/TDD the first half of 2019.

2. MIMO Antenna Technology

Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) is an integral part of LTE.  MIMO leverages multiple antennas on the receiver and transmitter to utilize the multi-path effects that always exist to transmit additional data, rather than causing interference. Most LTE deployments today are still 2×2 MIMO based. In theory, implementations of 4×4 MIMO potentially can potentially double the downlink throughput and system capacity. The base station transmits four different signals (or streams) via four transmit antennas to one user equipment (UE). To take full advantage, however, the UE must be equipped with four receive antennas as well.

BEC has 4×4 MIMO antenna options (2T4R and 4T4R) for both indoor and outdoor solutions depending on the specific band combinations. When compared to 2×2 MIMO systems, 4×4 MIMO provides better SINR and significant downlink throughput gains.

3. Shared Spectrum – CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio System) LTE Band 48

CBRS Spectrum is a 150 MHz broadcast band of the 3.5 GHz band (3550 MHz to 3700 MHz) for shared wireless access, opening up previously protected spectrum used by the US Navy and other DoD members. It combines spectrum sharing using a three-tiered hierarchy (Tier 1-Incumbents, Tier 2-Priority Access Licenses, and Tier 3-General Authorized Access). This shared spectrum is perfect for rural and regional service providers looking to extend coverage and capacity.

While CBRS certification and regulatory timelines still lack clarity BEC is committed to pushing forward with CBRS commercialization efforts. Today, our CAT 6 based CBRS solutions are available for approved customer evaluations. Later this year, higher category devices such as CAT 12 CBRS will be available.

4. Unlicensed Spectrum – LAA (Licensed Assisted Access)

LAA uses carrier aggregation in the downlink to combine LTE in unlicensed spectrum (5 GHz) with LTE in the licensed band (Anchor band). This aggregation of spectrum provides a fatter pipe with faster data rates, increasing indoor connectivity and network capacity. LAA is defined as LTE Band 46 (5150 to 5925MHz) TDD.

From an LTE evolution standpoint, LAA has become a critical component for future-proofing our upcoming LTE devices. The benefits of LAA extend to both the end user and the carrier. Increasing network capacity without significantly increasing your costs is a reality. Carriers can leverage one or all of the techniques shown above. With the addition of higher modulation schemes such as 256 QAM carriers will increase network capacity, extend coverage while blazing a path towards Gigabit LTE.

 

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With over 40 years of innovation, BEC Technologies is a global solution provider focus on 4G/LTE Connectivity solutions. We believe in the power of partnership and the value of feedbacks. Contact us if you want to share your thoughts or discuss any related ideas, please call 972- 422- 0877 ext 1 or email our team at sales@bectechnologies.net

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