Gigabit LTE is becoming a reality today and being strongly hyped at the moment, combining several techniques and frequency bands to achieve headline peak data rates. We review the different alternatives and consider if this is a threat to 5G.
There is a huge range of free OpenSource software and hardware designs for many applications. We looked at whether there’s enough available to build your own LTE small cell and found it wanting. At the moment, you’d be better off buying a professional product unless for lab and experimental purposes. Meanwhile several well-funded projects with substantial support from Facebook and several large operators are planning to change that, ultimately aiming for commercial deployment within major mobile networks.
There are still quite a few areas of the US without any cellular service, even if you ignore Alaska. The FCC has announced a major shift in how $4.5 Billion will be allocated over the next 10 years to address the issue. How will this be used and what are the new rules?
For me, CBRS was undoubtedly the key topic of the MWC Americas event. This lightly regulated 3.5GHz spectrum band using standard TD-LTE cellular service is unique to the US, and will open up a variety of new business models.
A half day seminar by the CBRS Alliance featured several strong supporters and painted a picture of how it will become available and who will use it first.
Three milestones are required before commercial services can commence:
The cellular industry sometimes uses a mantra “Build it and they will come”. It certainly felt that way at the Moscone Centre which was undergoing some serious expansion last week - the noise of piledriving next door was hard to miss. This was the first MWC Americas since the GSMA had taken over organising it from CTIA, and there were many other changes to the format and content apart from the major building work.
Ericsson’s Radio Dot has been the company’s primary medium-sized in-building solution for some years, competing with Enterprise Small Cells and DAS systems. Last week saw four significant additional features being announced, which some would see as catching up with Huawei’s Lampsite 3.0 launch announced some months ago.
Two technologies you are going to hear a lot about this month are CBRS and LAA, sometimes branded as Gigabit LTE. A recent announcement showcased Gigabit speeds purely on CBRS alone. For the medium term, we consider what the potential to combine licenced, CBRS and LAA spectrum are likely to be.
With many new terms and technologies being introduced or becoming mainstream during the past year, I thought it might be helpful to recap on the naming, capability and timescale of significant new developments relating to our industry. Perhaps you are entirely familiar with all of these, but I often find newcomers can be somewhat perplexed or overwhelmed by yet another acronym.
Expect soon to see headline rates for Gigabit LTE, enabled by a combination of standard LTE aggregated by LAA. Commercial service will be launched before the year’s end. But what are the implications for backhaul bandwidth and is our infrastructure ready to take the strain.