Let the rivalry games begin, or continue in this case. Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies are claiming a network first, clocking 953 Mbps in a joint commercial network deployment in Boca Raton, Florida—the fastest announced wireless network speed achieved in a real-world, dynamic network environment using LAA.
This follows Verizon rival T-Mobile’s claim back in June when said it had notched a network first by completing the nation’s first mobile broadband data session live in the field using LAA on its commercial network. Its field testing began in Los Angeles, where it showed download speeds of 741 Mbps using 80 MHz of aggregated spectrum. T-Mobile at the time also said it was the first to make LTE-U available to customers.
But make no mind, Verizon is boasting that it reached these kind of gigabit-class speeds by using a combination of licensed and unlicensed spectrum and four carrier aggregation to combine its spectrum holdings with unlicensed spectrum. The Boca Raton demonstration used all commercially available Verizon network components, including a cell site, hardware, software and backhaul.
“Today’s milestone is a great example of our approach to new technology—we deploy the latest capabilities reliably and in real-world environments, not just in a lab,” said Nicola Palmer, chief wireless network officer for Verizon, in a news release. “By continuing to deploy the latest technologies on our 4G LTE Advanced network, we pave the way for better and faster performance for the things our customers do now, and provide the groundwork for our future advancements.”
Ericsson provided the remote radio head; the micro Radio 2205 for LAA is a component of the Ericsson Radio System, an end-to-end modular radio network portfolio of hardware and software. Qualcomm Technologies provided a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile platform test device, with Gigabit LTE capability thanks to the integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem.
In addition to four channel carrier aggregation, other technological advancements for gigabit class speeds include:
- 4x4 MIMO (multiple in, multiple out) which uses multiple antennae at the cell tower and on consumers’ devices to optimize data speeds
- 256 QAM, which enables customer devices and the network to exchange information in large amounts, delivering more bits of data in each transmission, significantly enhancing data speeds
Verizon has always taken pride in its network firsts, including being the first national wireless provider to introduce 4G LTE speeds in 2010, and it has consistently earned awards over the years for its network performance. So the increasing claims by T-Mobile not only about network prowess but technology “firsts” are particularly piercing.
Late last year, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray promised that T-Mobile US would be first with gigabit LTE and at that same time he noted that T-Mobile achieved nearly 1 Gbps (979 Mbps) in the lab thanks to three-carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM.
T-Mobile executives have been all over Twitter touting its network strengths after OpenSignal determined T-Mobile operated the top-performing network in the nation from March 31 through June 29, beating its rivals across the board in categories including LTE download speed, LTE latency and LTE availability.
Of course, that led to some tweets by Verizon representatives who claimed T-Mobile has nothing to crow about.