Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson have completed interoperability tests to enable operators to implement 5G carrier aggregation.
Carrier aggregation combines spectrum channels to boost performance, capacity and coverage. It’s helped boost 4G bandwidth as an LTE-Advanced technology. And 5G carrier aggregation will allow operators to use multiple spectrum channels simultaneously to transfer data between base stations and a 5G mobile device.
The partners completed a 5G standalone (SA) carrier aggregation test at Ericsson’s labs in Beijing, China, which they previously detailed earlier this month. The connection reached 2.5 Gbps peak speeds by aggregating 100 MHz + 60 MHz within the 2.5 GHz (n41) TDD band in a 70% downlink configuration and using 4x4 MIMO.
In addition, the companies conducted a carrier aggregation test in Sweden where they established a successful 5G SA carrier aggregation data call by combining 20 MHz in the 600 MHz (n71) FDD band with 100 MHz of spectrum in the 2.5 GHz (n41) TDD band.
Both achievements used 5G infrastructure equipment from the Ericsson Radio System portfolio and a 5G smartphone form factor test device powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System.
Ericsson’s head of product area networks Per Narvinger said in a statement, “5G carrier aggregation will be a key technology for extending the coverage of mid-band and high-band 5G in addition to enabling faster data speeds and enhanced performance. We expect to see the first deployments of 5G carrier aggregation in late 2020 with a ramp up in 2021.”
Durga Malladi, Qualcomm’s general manager for 4G/5G, said, “We’re proud to collaborate with Ericsson on this 5G carrier aggregation milestone –the world’s first featuring both FDD/TDD and TDD/TDD aggregation.”
Qualcomm Technologies is already shipping samples of its Snapdragon X60, with commercial premium smartphones using the new Modem-RF System expected in early 2021. Ericsson will offer a commercial release of its 5G NR carrier aggregation in the fourth quarter this year.
Verizon and carrier aggregation
Earlier this year, analysts at LightShed Partners speculated that Verizon would use carrier aggregation for 5G.
“The combination of DSS and carrier aggregation might be the best concoction since gin and tonic, as long as you are prepared for the hangover,” wrote LightShed analysts Walter Piecyk and Joe Galone in a blog.
“We expect Verizon to deploy DSS across multiple blocks of spectrum and then carrier aggregate those blocks to deliver materially faster speeds to the end user,” wrote the LightShed analysts. “We believe this combination will produce a robust 5G coverage layer that Verizon will put marketing dollars behind. We expect it to become their big 5G push.”