Explosive wireless data growth is magnifying the need for additional spectrum before the impending crunch when demand exceeds capacity and quality of service is seriously impacted. Worldwide wireless traffic is expected to grow 25 times over the next five years (Source:Bell Labs modeling and forecasts), thus the industry is looking for new innovative techniques to get the most from limited spectrum resources.
Trade association 4G Americas today announced the publication of a white paper titled "HSPA+LTE Carrier Aggregation" to outline a potential new technique for further integrating HSPA and LTE with carrier aggregation. The new feature, called HSPA+LTE carrier aggregation, is being considered at 3GPP for standards development and will build upon existing standards to further integrate HSPA and LTE technologies to utilize limited spectrum to the fullest.
"HSPA is the foundation of mobile broadband today and LTE is the next-generation high speed wireless technology of choice, so the time is now for 3GPP to consider even closer radio integration of these two great mobile broadband technologies," stated Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas. "Building on existing standards, the new carrier aggregation techniques could potentially be worthwhile for operators, vendors and their customers."
LTE networks are being rolled out across the globe at an accelerating rate -- 91 commercial to date -- while at the same time the nearly 500 commercial HSPA networks are expanded and upgraded with more advanced techniques. With the deployments of LTE coupled with the major investments in HSPA+ infrastructure -- there are 227 commercial HSPA+ networks in 109 countries worldwide -- HSPA and LTE networks can be foreseen to coexist in parallel for years to come.
The aggregation of carriers for higher data rates, better load balancing and increased spectrum utilization is already included in the standards work for both HSPA+ and LTE individually and, since the creation of LTE, radio level interworking for HSPA and LTE radios has also been included. The 4G Americas white paper highlights additional key aspects and the potential architecture options available for aggregating both HSPA and LTE carriers together (HSPA+LTE) that will allow data to be transmitted to one user while simultaneously using both HSPA and LTE radios for maximum performance and utilization of available spectrum and deployed equipment. This is considered especially beneficial in the environment where the spectrum is not abundant and needs to be divided between the two radio access technologies.
"The 3GPP ecosystem of leading manufacturers and network operators continues to be fiduciary in their use of valuable spectrum assets, trying their best to technologically seek out every possible method to extend the efficiency and capacity of wireless networks," Pearson added. "HSPA+LTE carrier aggregation is a worthwhile consideration for another potential improvement in the box of tools for traffic mitigation."