Nokia and MediaTek today announced that they have achieved a world’s first by successfully aggregating 5G Standalone (5G SA) spectrum using 3 Components Carrier (3CC) aggregation. This increases the sub-6Ghz 5G spectrum utilization by combining 210MHz of FDD and TDD spectrum more efficiently to reach 3.2Gbps peak downlink throughput. The move will enable communication service providers to deliver higher throughputs and better coverage to more customers.
- Successful validation test achieves first 3 Component Carriers sub-6GHz carrier aggregation combining FDD and TDD spectrum; Utilizes Nokia’s AirScale 5G Standalone Carrier Aggregation solution with commercial hardware and software
- The test combined 210MHz of spectrum from three component carriers to achieve 3.2Gbps downlink speeds
To achieve this performance, Nokia supplied its latest AirScale equipment including its AirScale 5G SA architecture powered by its energy-efficient ReefShark System-on-Chip (SoC) technology as well as its cloud-native 5G core. MediaTek provided its new M80 5G modem which combines mmWave and sub-6 GHz capabilities onto a single chip as well as the user equipment testing platform.
Carrier Aggregation (1st specified in LTE Advanced) combines frequency bands for higher rates and increased coverage, delivering superior network capacity by maximizing the spectral efficiency of 5G networks. Frequency division duplex (FDD) in 600MHz (n71) is a lower frequency band that provides a wide coverage area, improving cell edge performance. Time-division duplex (TDD) in 2600MHz (n41) has higher bandwidth and capacity. The combination of these spectrum bands supports a range of 5G deployment scenarios including indoor as well enhanced outdoor coverage. The high-band sub-6Ghz spectrum bands support high-capacity and extreme mobile broadband capabilities.
While claiming a ‘world first,’ the press release is a bit light on specifics. We’re told at least one of the carriers was in the 600 MHz band, using FDD technology, while at least one other was in the 2600 MHz band using TDD. A total of 210 MHz of spectrum were used but we’re not told the split. Our guess would be 10 MHz of the 600 band and 2×100 MHz of the 2600 band. The idea seems to be that this combo offers capacity when the higher frequency is available but can still fall back to a minimal level of coverage when it’s not.
JS Pan, General Manager, Wireless Communication System, and Partnerships at MediaTek, said: “This test demonstrates the importance of carrier aggregation in enabling mobile operators around the world to deliver best-in-class speed and capacity to their subscribers. The combination of Nokia’s AirScale portfolio and our technology boosts the possibilities of spectrum assets and 5G networks. We look forward to continuing to partner with Nokia to advance the 5G ecosystem.”
Mark Atkinson, SVP, Radio Access Networks PLM at Nokia, said: “Nokia continues to drive the 5G ecosystem by delivering new and important innovations. This validation test demonstrates how mobile operators can maximize their spectrum allocations and deliver enhanced coverage and capacity to subscribers. Nokia is committed to pushing the boundaries of 5G and delivering industry-leading performance. High-capacity Carrier Aggregation combinations can be achieved in both 5G Standalone (SA) and Non-Standalone (NSA) based on our scalable Airscale Baseband architecture.”
Mr. Bicheno commented:
It’s still not clear what the ‘world first’ claim refers to. Is it the aggregation of three carriers? Is it the combination of FDD and TDD in one transmission? Is it the total bandwidth achieved? It’s as if they’re trying to provoke journalists by failing to substantiate hyperbolic claims made in the headline. After all, that’s our job.
Yes, it is your job Scott and we are all grateful for that. Sadly, few other journalists (except a few like yours truly) hardly ever scrutinize a press release or news announcement.