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Mobile service conglomerate T-Mobile made news when the company announced they shattered the 1-Gbps barrier in a series of lab trials, using commercially available LTE equipment. The devices and applications were provided by companies like Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies. The series of experimental trials transpired at T-Mobile labs, where researchers reportedly reached speeds of 1.75 Gbps.

The primary aim behind these tests is for T-Mobile to help their customers maximize the values of their existing networks by bring their performance levels closer to the rates we’re expected to see in 5G. Not only did using T-Mobile’s network modems from Qualcomm Technologies help break the gigabit and speed barrier, but the tests being conducted surpassed existing performance utilizing Nokia’s 4.9G technology.

As a result, this provided a forward method for higher-quality user experiences and services containing fiber-like speeds over mobile connections. As previously mentioned, Bokia’s 4.9G network was featured in T-Mobile’s LTE test, which was powered by its AirScale Base Station along with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X20 LTE modem supporting Downlink Category 18 and outfitted to provide 1.2 Gbps download speeds. The test setup included 4x4 Multiple In Multiple Out (MIMO) antennas that used 256 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM), along with 12 LTE data-aggregated streams on three carriers that used 60 MHz of downlink spectrum.

T-Mobile’s breakthrough news comes in the wake of companies Verizon, Ericsson, and Qualcomm stating they reached LTE download speeds of 1.07 Gbps. In a similar setup to T-Mobile’s research, certain aspects of Verizon’s tests like Qualcomm’s X20 LTE modem, 4x4 MIMO, and 256 QAM on 12 simultaneous LTE streams, equated the same setup and implementation.

Previous trials used License Assisted Access (LAA) technology, where the same partners achieved speeds of 953 Mbps. These tests used a Micro Radio 2205 from Ericsson, along with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X16 LTE Modem on the Verizon network. The testing and research we’ve seen has strongly demonstrated how gradual the transition between LTE and 5G will be, similar to the transition rate we saw between 3G and LTE. Nonetheless, one of the benefits behind this transitional rate is how carriers, their ecosystems, and end-users will have more choices (and adjustment time) going forward.

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