Verizon pushes LTE to 1.45Gbps speeds

Verizon, Nokia, and Qualcomm have achieved speeds of almost 1.5Gbps on the carrier's live commercial LTE network in New York.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor
(Image: Verizon)

Verizon has announced working with Nokia and Qualcomm to push its live commercial 4G LTE network in New York to speeds of 1.45Gbps by aggregating six channels of spectrum.

According to Verizon VP of Technology Planning and Development Bill Stone, the carrier is continuing to upgrade its LTE network as it is "foundational for our evolution into 5G".

The trial involved aggregating four carriers of licence-assisted access (LTE-LAA) spectrum with licensed PCS and AWS spectrum, and utilised Nokia's AirScale base station and a Qualcomm test device with a Snapdragon X24 LTE modem.

Verizon's demonstration also relied on 256 quadrature amplitude moderation (256 QAM) and 4x4 multiple-input multiple-output (4x4 MIMO) technologies.

Verizon is also working with Ericsson, in July announcing an expansion of their 4G LTE partnership, with the Swedish networking giant to deploy its 4G and 5G-ready radio system across multiple US markets.

The baseband and dual-band radios are software upgradeable to 5G once Verizon launches its new network, with the mobile sites also able to deliver narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and Cat-M IoT device connectivity.

The announcement followed the two companies in August 2017 attaining speeds of 1.07Gbps across Verizon's commercial LTE mobile network using three 20MHz carriers of frequency-division duplex (FDD) spectrum, 12 simultaneous LTE streams, 4x4 MIMO, and 256 QAM per carrier.

In October last year, Ericsson then announced it would be deploying Massive MIMO technology across Verizon's wireless network in Irvine, California.

The carrier additionally announced in April this year that it is working with Ericsson, Qualcomm, Nokia, Google, Corning, and Federated Wireless to test LTE-Advanced technologies using Citizen Band Radio Spectrum (CBRS) frequencies.

These CBRS trials involve end-to-end system testing across 150MHz of the 3.5GHz band -- which is also being used globally for early 5G deployments -- and are being undertaken in Verizon's Irving, Texas, facility.

By combining the new spectrum with LTE-Advanced technologies in addition to carrier aggregation, Verizon said it would increase capacity and therefore throughput speeds on its mobile network.

In terms of 5G, Verizon had earlier this month revealed that it would be launching 5G Home in October across parts of Sacramento, Los Angeles, Houston, and Indianapolis, and later in many more cities, chief network engineering officer and head of wireless networks Nicki Palmer told ZDNet.

Speaking with ZDNet during Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA) in Los Angeles, Palmer added that a 5G mobile service will "follow quickly".

"We said we'd be first and we were first," she said, adding that Verizon's millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum holdings in the 28GHz and 39GHz bands means its network "can deliver the real promise of 5G".

"We've got a lot of spectrum in a lot of places."

The service will provide typical network speeds of 300Mbps and peak speeds of 1Gbps, with no data cap and no annual contract required, making it a viable option over cable.

Verizon 5G Home also comes with free installation and set-up of all Wi-Fi devices; a free router and router software upgrades during 2019; first access to 5G mobile devices as they become available; and a "dedicated 5G expert" to support the service.

Speaking on Verizon's 5G call with Ericsson and Qualcomm, Palmer said it was a "big deal"; while the carrier's 5G Labs will enable academics, innovators, and VCs to come up with more concrete commercial use cases for the new mobile network.

"We have our 5G network there, so it's live ... innovators that have a great idea and they want to be able to use the network, this is the place where they can try it out," she explained to ZDNet.

"We also have good partnerships with Columbia and New York University, so they're there too ... so now you're able to test and try things, and that's the way this is going to go. We're not going to be able to predict all of the use cases."

Verizon's New York City 5G Lab will be focusing on media and finance tech; the Los Angeles lab on augmented reality (AR) and holograms; the Washington DC lab on public safety, first responders, cybersecurity, and hospitality tech; the Palo Alto lab on emerging technologies, education, and big data; and its Waltham, Massachusetts, lab on robotics, healthcare, and real-time enterprise services.

The labs will launch by the end of 2018, and will be kitted out with live 5G networks to help startups, universities, and tech companies to collaborate with Verizon.

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