Apr 10 2014
What is LTE Advanced?
LTE Advanced, the upgrade of the LTE technology, will soon be available. Check about this new mobile broadband internet access and what this means for you. The main reasons for the launch of the LTE Advanced are higher speeds, efficiency, increased number of the active simultaneous users and improved performance.
Before proceeding with this post, consider to check the following articles.
Read more about the LTE, LTE technology and LTE features in the post What is LTE, 4G Technology and LTE Advanced.
Check the interesting article about the 4G in the post What is 4G and what is the 4G Speed.
What is new in LTE Advanced Comparing to the LTE Technology?
LTE Advanced, by the 3GPP definition, brings the following improvements compared to the old LTE technology:
- Higher speed – peak downlink speed is 3 Gbps and peak upload speed is 1.5 Gbps.
- Increased number of the active simultaneous users.
- Better spectrum efficiency – up to 30 bps/Hz.
- Better behavior at the cell edges.
The New LTE Advanced Functionalities
All these improvements of LTE Advanced technology are accomplished with the following features:
- Carrier Aggregation
- MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) – Spatial multiplexing
- Relay Nodes
Carrier Aggregation is a key functionality in the LTE Advanced technology that increases the speeds of the wireless transfers. This is accomplished by using multiple sources at the same time.
The most efficient way to increase the speed and capacity is using more bandwidth. Your Smartphone that supports the LTE-Advanced will not connect to the best signal, like it is now with the LTE. Instead your phone will use up to five signals at the same time. The maximum LTE bandwidth of 20 MHz now by using 5 multiple sources is aggregated to 100 MHz.
The number of multiple sources (aggregated carriers) can be different for downlink and uplink, but the number of aggregated carriers for uplink cannot be higher than for downlink.
Also, individual carriers aggregated in one bundle can have different bandwidths. Since LTE supports six different bandwidths (1.4, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 MHz), carrier aggregation can be formed from five different carriers 1.4, 3, 5, 10 and 15 MHz which forms an aggregation of 34.4 MHz.
The easiest way to form the carrier aggregation is with the contiguous carriers from the same frequency band (intra band contiguous). This will not always be possible, so sometimes carrier aggregation will be formed from different frequency bands (inter-band).
MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) – Spatial Multiplexing
MIMO or Multiple Input Multiple Output is increasing the speed and capacity by using of multiple different antennas. LTE Advanced supports up to 8X8 MIMO in downlink and 4X4 in the uplink direction. It is important to mention that this MIMO needs to be supported on both sides – on the eNodeB on the operator side and on your smartphone.
Relay nodes are low power eNodeBs that will provide better coverage and capacity at the cell edges. Relay Node eNodeB and main eNodeB (Donor eNodeB) are connected with the wireless connection.
What do You Need?
If you already have an LTE terminal device, will you need to buy a new one for the LTE Advanced? The great news is that new LTE technology is compatible with older LTE. To be more precise, LTE-Advanced is backward and forward compatible. This means that older LTE phones can work in the LTE-Advanced, but also that LTE-Advanced phones will work with even newer version of the LTE technology.
Your old LTE phone will work on the new LTE mobile network, but it will not support the new functionalities and improvements.
Where can you use the LTE Advanced?
The first LTE Advanced network has been launched by Korean mobile operator called SK Telecom. Soon after the new Samsung Galaxy S4, the first phone that supports new LTE standard, hit the market, SK has introduced LTE Advanced. They are using Carrier aggregation technology.
The first mobile operator in America that has LTE-Advanced network is AT&T. The new service is available in Chicago. AT&T is also using the most important functionality in LTE Advanced – Carrier aggregation.
Learn more about this topic in the article LTE-Advanced.