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Telstra, Ericsson, Qualcomm attain 1Gbps aggregate speeds in live 4G network test

Telstra is seeking the 'ultimate data experience' with the Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 modem, Ericsson Baseband 5216 hardware, carrier aggregation, and QAM and MIMO technologies.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra, Ericsson, and Qualcomm have announced attaining download speeds of 979Mbps and upload speeds of 129Mbps during live 4G LTE network testing.

The tests were conducted using carrier aggregation, 64 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) uplink, 256 QAM downlink, and 4x4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) technologies; Ericsson's Baseband 5216 hardware, which "supercharges" radio signal digital processing; Qualcomm's Snapdragon X16 LTE modem test device; and Telstra's live network.

According to Telstra Networks group managing director Mike Wright, the telecommunications provider is aiming to attain 1Gbps download speeds across its commercial network in order to improve speed and capacity outdoors and deepen penetration indoors.

"The pairing of higher data speeds on the downlink and the uplink is a key milestone in the ongoing delivery of the ultimate data experience," Wright said.

"Our tests also highlight the joint engineering capability we bring to such a complex blend of new software and hardware technologies in real-world end-to-end conditions."

The use of 4x4 MIMO increases peak rates twofold without needing additional spectrum, with QAM also increasing the peak data rates.

"Leading operators such as Telstra continue to push boundaries of the LTE standard, utilising LTE Advanced carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, and higher-order modulation with 64 and 256 QAM to ensure their networks are ready to meet continuing growth in data traffic and high-performance expectations of customers," Ericsson Head of Radio Product Management Thomas Norén said.

Telstra and Ericsson last year also attained 1Gbps 4G mobile speeds during live commercial mobile trials by aggregating five spectrum bands.

During that test, 100MHz of spectrum was aggregated across the 700MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, and 2600MHz (2x 20MHz) bands, and delivered to a Cobham Aeroflex TM500 mobile device.

Telstra then announced a demonstration in partnership with Ericsson and Qualcomm of 4x4 spatial MIMO combined with 256 QAM, which it claimed had established the foundation for commercial network download speeds of up to 1Gbps.

The companies noted that 4x4 MIMO with 256 QAM should be supported on smartphones from 2016.

Telstra and Ericsson are also slated to conduct 5G field tests this month in order to examine 5G capabilities in a real-world network environment.

Specifically, Telstra will use Ericsson's 5G radio test bed to trial network speeds, latency, Multi-User MIMO, and beam-steering technology.

"The demonstration will also test beam-steering technology, where the beam-steering antenna array tracks your location and directs a mobile signal straight to your device rather than sending it out in all directions or to a particular sector as it does today," Wright said at the time.

"The advantage of beam steering is that the mobile signal to each user is optimised with less interference resulting in better network performance and more capacity."

Recent tests in Ericsson's 5G lab have seen Telstra attain download speeds of more than 20Gbps.

Telstra and Ericsson in February announced that they will conduct a trial run of Telstra's 5G network during the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, with planning for the trial already under way.

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