Infrastructure vendor Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) conducted tests between two mountains in Australia demonstrating that LTE could successfully operate over a distance of 75km and still achieve download speeds of 100Mbps.
Being one of three vendors involved with LTE trials with the Australian operator Telstra--the other suppliers being Ericsson and Huawei--NSN added that average speeds were 88.1 Mbps for download and 29.6 Mbps for upstream data. The tests were conducted in the 2.6 MHz band using NSN's Flexi Multiradio base station and EPC, with pre-commercial LTE USB dongles. However, Telstra exec Mike Wright admitted that the key objective of this particular test was to better understand if the LTE specs could be 'tweaked' to enable it to operate over such distances.
The issue, according to Wright, surrounds latency between base stations to devices, which is affected by distance.
"When they write these standards they don't usually have a country like Australia in mind and it is a question of seeing if we can modify the standards easily to get it working," Wright said. "We had to make some software and configuration changes [in the network, not the device]."
However, Telstra confirmed that it had already modified GSM and CDMA networks to work at extended ranges, but admitted that the technical limit was around 100km.
"All the trials are about understanding LTE capabilities, limitations and performance to feed into our network planning," Wright said, but accepted that a key question was performance under load. "We can model that mathematically, and some of the vendors are able to generate artificial loads on the network."
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