What is LTE-Advanced Pro?
LTE-Advanced Pro (LTE-A Pro) is the latest version of the LTW standard, and is also known as "4.5G". Deliveringsignificnt data speed increases, plus improved network efficiency and capacity, it is a step-up again from LTE-Advcanced. We describe LTE-A Pro as a "data superhighway", achieving speeds of 1 Gbps by combining carrier aggregation, use of unlicensed bands, a 4x4 Mimo antenna scheme, and increased 256 QAM modulation scheme.
The main technologies underpinning this advancement are:
- Carrier Aggregation: Available for up to five carriers with 20MHz bandwidth with LTE-Advanced, carrier aggregation enables combined frequencies to be transmitted in parellel - delivering higher throughput. LTE-Advanced Pro however increases this to 32 carriers, each with a bandwidth of 640 MHz
- Increased Network Capacity and Efficiency: LTE- Advanced Pro roughly doubles the network capacity without the need for any additional spectrum or base stations. As well ass supporting Time-Divison Duplex (TDD) and Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) LTE, LTE - A Pro supports Licensed Assist Access (LAA), enhanced LAA and LTE WiFi Aggregation (LWA), meaning additional bandwidth can be made available by aggregating data together from regular LT bands, the 5GHz LTE-unlicensed spectrum and common Wifi networks. Furthermore, the use of 4x4 MiMo antennas increases capacity by allowing multiple transmit and receive signals simultaneously. Finally, a 256 QAM modulation scheme (an increase from 64) makes it possible to carry more bits of data per symbol, increasing throughput and making better use of the spectrum.
- Other benefits delivered by LTE- Advanced Pro over earlier technologies include longer battery life (up to 10x) and a closer alignment with 5G for improved network future-proofing. It also allows private organizations to take advantage of the spectrum sharing to establish private LTE networks, without having to buy a spectrum license.
What is LTE-Advanced Pro suited for?
- Offering faster data speeds and greatly improved network efficiency and capacity, LTE-Advanced Pro is ideal for data intensive, critical applications - but how does this translate to the Internet of Things?
- Many iot applications don't typically require high data rates and so upgrading o LTE-Advanced Pro may not be seen as necessary in the short-medium term. This said, many IoT applications have a long lifespan and evolve constantly - meaning applications with lower data requirements today could easily extend beyond this in the future - and so, LTE-Advanced Pro may be considered a strong option for network future-proofing.
- Though not available for commercial devices today, LTE- Advanced Pro is clearly set to deliver further enhancements in the journey of Long Term Evolution (LTE).