China Mobile announced that it has joined forces with Cobham Wireless, a provider of wireless coverage and mobile communications systems, to trial an LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) Dual Connectivity system for 4G and 5G networks at Mobile World Congress 2017. The system demonstrates how throughput and capacity can be improved across a network, by utilising radio resources from multiple mobile cells simultaneously.
Using its TM500 network testing solution, Cobham Wireless, with partner China Mobile, is able to show a real-time working dual connectivity system and demonstrate how dual/multi connectivity can be achieved in a live network environment. The system is being trialled over LTE-A Carrier Aggregation (CA) cells, allowing a mobile phone to receive multiple signals from two different eNodeBs simultaneously, at around three times the speed currently offered by standard LTE. By conducting the trial over LTE-A, Cobham Wireless has proven that its dual connectivity system is ready to be introduced into operator networks today.
“The new system can improve the end-user experience by combining data from more than one base station operating on multi-connectivity modes,” said Evan Gray, VP Business Development, Cobham Wireless. “This will support the demand for data-intensive mobile services and ultra-high capacity, low-latency data delivery.”
As the industry transitions to 5G, some of the 4G LTE cells can be replaced with 5G cells in the dual connectivity set-up. Operators and users stand to benefit from this, taking advantage of both 4G and 5G resources. This will also remove the need for operators to deploy a full 5G network and replace all 4G base stations. Network infrastructure can instead be upgraded gradually and cost effectively, in line with the progression of 5G technology and standards.
“5G may not be fully realised quite yet, but it’s important that we continue to push boundaries in its development,” said Dr. Hayk Manukyan, Market Solutions Director, Cobham Wireless. “Networks are under strain, with more people using data-intensive mobile services. Our work with China Mobile has shown a workable system to ease the current strain on our networks, as well as being 5G-ready for the future.”