5G LTE LTE Advanced

Ericsson and Vodafone claim Europe’s fastest LTE uplink

Uplink speeds are slower than downlink in cellular networks, but they have also improved more gradually, according to Qualcomm, creating problems for operators as users generate more and more upload traffic, much of it video and images on social media.

The 3GPP community is starting to rise to the challenge, and last week Ericsson and Vodafone Ireland claimed Europe’s fastest uplink speeds in a commercial network, demonstrating 136Mbps peak rates.

The companies used Uplink Carrier Aggregation (CA) and 64QAM modulation to boost upload rates by 200%, which will be valuable in supporting enterprise cloud services such as videoconferencing as well as consumer uploads.

Ericsson’s latest Network Software release, which promises smooth upgrades to LTE-Advanced Pro features such as Uplink CA, was implemented in two 20 MHz FDD-LTE carriers on the Vodafone network in Irish capital Dublin. The demonstration also featured the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with X12 LTE.

Per Narvinger, Ericsson’s head of RAN, said in a statement: “Ericsson is able to quickly apply our software-based performance enhancements, like Uplink Carrier Aggregation, in commercial networks, to ensure fast time to market. Operators increasingly differentiate themselves by improving the app coverage experience for their customers, so gaining the first-mover advantage on new features is critical.”

Qualcomm recently unveiled the Snapdragon 820 with X12 LTE, citing faster uplink as a key driver for companies to adopt it. Sherif Hanna, manager for technical marketing at Qualcomm, said the processor combines three technologies – Uplink CA, 64QAM and uplink data compression – contained in the company’s Snapdragon Upload+ technology. This can boost the peak upload speed in an LTE network from 50Mbps to 150Mbps in FDD networks.
The challenges are even greater in TDD networks, which share the same LTE carrier for both uplink and downlink. South Korea’s operators have been early movers in boosting uplink rates for their demanding customer base, and they report peak speeds on a TD-LTE network rising from 11Mbps to 33Mbps in trials using the Qualcomm technology. The solution is also being trialled by other carriers such as China Mobile. The best known handset to support it is the LG G5.

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