Mobile operators are faced with the scarcity of licensed frequency bands to meet the boom in demand for 4G mobile services and the different players are thinking about alternatives and optimizations.
One of the tracks envisaged concerns the occasional use of frequencies that can be used without a license, such as WiFi for example, in order to provide support for 4G mobile networks threatened by congestion.
The other problem that arises concerns the quality of the 4G signal in homes. If the frequencies transferred from the audiovisual sector to the telecoms provide an early solution, they will not be sufficient to meet the growing use of data-intensive mobile services.
It is possible to answer this double problem by exploiting part of the frequencies of the unlicensed spectrum to boost indoor 4G + LTE-Advanced.
The equipment supplier Ericsson demonstrates at CES 2015 LAA small cells ((License Assisted Access) which use a fraction of the frequencies in the 5 GHz band used for WiFi in order to improve the 4G speeds of mobile terminals.
The system is based on the premise that there is about 550 MHz of underutilized bandwidth in the 5 GHz band which can be used from time to time by operators to improve the 4G + signal. This means applying the 4G standards to this resource to guarantee continuity and high quality of service.
Ericsson reports that the use of 4% of the 5 GHz band in LAA provides flow rates of 150 Mbps mobile users, even indoors, with the ability to further improve them in 4% increments.
At the same time, the equipment manufacturer emphasizes that its LAA small cell solution incorporates a fair sharing system for the 5 GHz band so as not to penalize WiFi connectivity users, with equal access to the resource.
Ericsson will conduct tests with the operator T-Mobile US in 2015 and will then offer its LAA small cells in the last quarter of 2015. These will be able to ensure aggregation between the frequencies licensed by operators and those of spectrum accessible without license.
Note that this possibility prefigures the development of future 5G mobile networks which will aggregate different technologies in multiple frequency bands to achieve very high mobile speeds.