T-Mobile, Ericsson achieve 1.1 Gbps with 12-layer LAA

LAA (Ericsson)
Extending LAA to 12 layers enables speeds exceeding 1 Gbps. (Ericsson)

T-Mobile and Ericsson are celebrating what they describe as a world first: hitting speeds beyond the 1 Gbps mark on unlicensed spectrum by using 12-layer Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology. They achieved 1.1 Gbps in the demo that was done in T-Mobile’s lab using Ericsson radio equipment and test gear from Cobham Wireless.

The demo was conducted at T-Mobile's Bellevue, Washington, lab using Ericsson Radio System and the TM500 network test equipment from Cobham Wireless. The data speeds were achieved by combining several key LTE technologies including 256 QAM, 4x4 MIMO, and LAA by aggregating two licensed carriers and three unlicensed carriers.

“T-Mobile has built the nation’s fastest LTE network by innovating and bringing new technologies to market for our customers,” said T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray in a press release. “This LAA technology builds upon our deployments of 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM and will give customers even greater access to near gigabit speeds in 2018.”

“Breaking the 1 Gbps-mark means that commercial gigabit speeds are not far from reality for many broadband users, with our LAA and MIMO technologies as key enablers,” said Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of Networks at Ericsson. “It is also an example of how innovatively we work with partners to push the boundaries of technology and achieve new milestones.”

LAA has been demonstrated previously on 10 layers, reaching download speeds of up to 1 Gbps; extending to 12 layers enables speeds exceeding 1 Gbps, the release explained.

The Ericsson Radio 2205 gives operators the chance to deploy LTE on the 5 GHz unlicensed band in outdoor microcell environments. Using LAA, the unlicensed carriers on these radios can be aggregated with licensed carriers on the microcells or on nearby macrocells.

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Last month, T-Mobile announced it has more than 920 markets with LTE Advanced and 430 of them are armed with the “trifecta” of Carrier Aggregation, 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM.  

T-Mobile started late last year with LTE-U, which was a more controversial technology than LAA in part because it wasn’t developed through the usual standards process, but both LTE-U and LAA tap into unlicensed spectrum.

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Back in June, T-Mobile boasted about having completed the nation’s first mobile broadband data session live in the field using LAA on its commercial network. That field testing, which began in Los Angeles on June 25, showed 741 Mbps download speeds using 80 MHz of aggregated spectrum.

Other operators, namely Verizon and AT&T, are deploying LAA as well.

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this year, AT&T showed how users could reach speeds up to 1 Gbps by using LAA in tandem with carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM. And Verizon has said it was first to reach 953 Mbps in a real-world environment using LAA when it deployed technology from Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies in Boca Raton, Florida, this past summer.