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Licensed/Unlicensed aggregation

More capacity for your LTE network

As data traffic continues to reach new heights, even LTE networks need some help coping with the flood. Using unlicensed spectrum, operators can add new capacity to their LTE networks, increasing data speeds for users while keeping maintenance bills in check.

Evolving even more unlicensed opportunities

LTE-A Pro evolution will continue to put a focus on unlicensed spectrum, particularly the 5 GHz band. Support for LAA uplink is planned for Release 14 of the 3GPP E-UTRA specifications (eLAA), and support for uplink via Wi-Fi with LWA is also a candidate feature for future 3GPP releases. LAA is also likely to evolve towards support for dual connectivity, which will finally allow use of LAA in non-co-located deployments with licensed spectrum, and with relaxed requirements from the backhaul connections.

In parallel, MulteFire will bring LTE performance with Wi-Fi like simple deployment to unlicensed spectrum without the need for an anchor in licensed spectrum. MulteFire is expected to help Private Enterprises, Building owners, Venue owners and expand the business opportunities for mobile operators, as well as of new service providers with scarce or no access to licensed spectrum

Getting more capacity for your LTE network

With LTE-A Pro, mobile network operators can integrate unlicensed spectrum into their licensed spectrum portfolio.

Two major features make this possible - LTE-WLAN aggregation (LWA/LWIP) and Licensed-Assisted Access (LAA).

  • LWA/LWIP is based on an LTE dual connectivity framework for LWA, with IP for LWIP.
  • Both can be used in situations where licensed spectrum access is not co-located with Wi-Fi Access Points.
  • LWA/LWIP can be used with existing Wi-Fi deployments, while Nokia AirScale Wi-Fi deployments can be upgraded via software to support LWA as well.

LAA based on LTE carrier aggregation only supports co-located deployments, as very tight control is required between the licensed and unlicensed layer.

On the other hand, LAA can benefit from the higher spectral efficiency and interference robustness of LTE, giving increased coverage and a higher multi-user capacity than Wi-Fi.

LAA is also likely to evolve towards support for dual connectivity. This will finally allow the use of LAA in non-co-located deployments with licensed spectrum.