Ericsson is aiming to make mobile networks better at handling HD video by improving the performance of regular base stations and adding small cells in a coordinated way.
With less than two weeks to go before the telecommunications industry congregates at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Ericsson on Wednesday announced some of the products and technologies it will launch and demonstrate there.
The growing popularity of applications, including streaming video and music, that need a lot of bandwidth to work means operators have to rethink how they build their mobile networks, according to Ericsson.
To improve "app coverage" Ericsson suggests improving the existing network and adding small cells.
One way to improve network performance is to re-use GSM spectrum for use by 3G and LTE networks in a more efficient way, said Sebastian Tolstoy, head of radio strategy and business development at Ericsson.
Using a number of different technologies, Ericsson can carve out spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz band for use by 3G and LTE while not affecting GSM voice quality. For example, a technology called VAMOS (Voice services over Adaptive Multi-user channels on One Slot) allows operators to double GSM's voice capacity without the need for additional transceivers.
To show how downlink bandwidth in HSPA networks can be improved, Ericsson and Qualcomm will demonstrate how an extra amount of bandwidth in the 1500MHz band can be used as a complement to existing frequency bands to improve downlink performance. The concept is called supplemental downlink and the result is up to a 150 percent improvement of data rates at the cell edge, according to Tolstoy.
Vendors trying to show off their technical prowess using demos of what they're working on is a recurring part of Mobile World Congress. This year Ericsson will show how bandwidth can be increased to 1G bps by using eight antennas in a tablet. Sending and receiving data using multiple antennas is possible thanks to a technology called MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output), which is already used in both Wi-Fi and LTE networks.
In addition to MIMO, Ericsson will also use a technology called carrier aggregation, which is part of LTE-Advanced and speeds up networks by combining two or more swaths of bandwidth into one channel in the same or different frequency bands.
The company will also conduct a separate bandwidth aggregation demo using commercial devices and chipsets from Sierra Wireless and Qualcomm. Bandwidth will increase to 150M bps, thanks to the use of two times 10MHz of spectrum for download traffic, according to Ericsson. Today operators like Verizon Wireless in the U.S. and Everything Everywhere in the U.K. today use 10MHz of spectrum for download traffic.
The addition of these technologies over time will still not be enough for networks to handle growing data volumes. Small cells working together with existing base stations are needed for that, according to Ericsson.
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