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November 18, 2015

Ericsson, Vodafone and Qualcomm boost LTE coverage with wi-fi spectrum

News: LTE unlicensed could provide an alternative to wi-fi hotspots.

By Alexander Sword

Ericsson, Vodafone and Qualcomm have tested a technology called LTE Carrier Aggregation (LTE CA), which could make connectivity faster and more seamless.

The successful trial, conducted over Vodafone’s network in the Netherlands, aggregated licensed and unlicensed spectrum to combine the reliability of LTE licensed spectrum with incremental downlink throughput improvements provided by the unlicensed band.

This uses the 5 GHz band, currently used for wi-fi communications, to provide an alternative to carrier-owned wi-fi hotspots and boost the coverage of their networks. The technology has mechanisms for sharing the bandwidth with wi-fi.

Ericsson provided the Ericsson RBS 6402 indoor small cell, while Qualcomm provided an LTE unlicensed band-capable test device.

"The unlicensed 5 GHz band is a shared resource and, as we have seen, it can be aggregated with LTE bands to provide a speed boost for users to improve app coverage, when spectrum is available – of course, the user also maintains their connection to Vodafone’s highly reliable LTE network, so they have a great connection no matter what," said Valter D’Avino, Head of Ericsson’s Region Western and Central Europe.

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