Armed with the knowledge that by 2020, mobile networks will need to serve 1,000 times the traffic served in 2010, Nokia Networks (NYSE:NOK) is rolling out the red carpet for a smorgasbord of network technologies designed to help operators meet the challenge.
The company plans next week to demonstrate a bevy of products at Mobile World Congress 2015 that are designed to help operators prepare for ultra-dense networks and the huge projected traffic demands. MWC takes place in Barcelona, March 2-5.
Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), also called LTE-U, is among the hot topics expected to be at MWC, and Nokia, which is developing a pre-standards version of the technology with T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS), will be demonstrating LAA capabilities during the show.
Currently, there are no LAA deployments, as the standards have yet to be defined. LAA is planned for 3GPP industry standardization in mid-2016.
Still, "we are looking at the pre-standard development now together with T-Mobile," said Kai Sahala, head of Mobile Broadband Marketing at Nokia Networks, in an interview with FierceWirelessTech. "That should be available in our products toward the end of this year." Nokia's mission is to show it's got the small cell expertise to roll out new technologies like this.
Part of the demo will showcase Nokia Flexi Zone small cells technology, which T-Mobile is deploying to enhance LTE capacity. The demo will include carrier aggregation between LTE in licensed and unlicensed spectrum and promises to show how the technology can coexist with Wi-Fi.
Of course, as 2020 inches ever closer, the vendor will be showing more products for and holding discussions about 5G, Sahala said. Expect to see an emphasis on the move to the cloud, network functions virtualization (NFV), and support for all that legacy equipment as operators make the transition to the cloud.
Nokia says it is launching more than 20 products and services for its Single RAN Advanced portfolio at MWC. These will help operators achieve up to a 70 percent reduction in energy consumption.
Nokia raised the topic of reduced energy consumption some years back, saying operators could reduce energy consumption with its Flexi base station--no air conditioning needed--and it is raising the issue again as the use of renewable energy becomes more viable, Sahala said. The cost of solar energy systems has fallen by more than 80 percent during the last 10 years.
A "Zero Emission" demo will be conducted at the Nokia stand.
Nokia's portfolio enhancements include everything from improving spectral efficiency with enhancements in both LTE- and TD-LTE Advanced, including MIMO 4x4 and downlink Coordinated Multipoint (CoMP), all the way to a new Multi-layer Optimization service that promises to reduce unnecessary handovers by up to 20 percent.
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Confirmed: T-Mobile to launch unlicensed LTE at 5 GHz, possibly next year