Ericsson and MediaTek achieved a downlink speed of 4.36 Gbps when they merged four channels – one frequency division duplex (FDD) and three time division duplex (TDD) – in a lab test. They said it’s the highest known speed based on this band combination.

The four-component carrier (4CC) aggregation demonstration was done in Ericsson’s interoperability development testing (IoDT) labs, where the two companies completed a 5G data call using one low-band and three mid-band channels in the sub-7 GHz frequency range.

More specifically, the downlink peak rate of nearly 4.4 Gbps was reached by combining 20 MHz of AWS spectrum, 80 MHz of Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) and 200 MHz of C-band spectrum. The test was carried out using MediaTek M80 5G modem, Ericsson’s Baseband 6648, TDD Massive MIMO radios AIR3268, AIR3239 and TDD Radio 4426.

The higher throughput in this combination will lead to faster downloads and seamless video streaming for smartphone users and fixed wireless access subscribers, Ericsson noted in a press release. A spokesperson said the test was conducted at the end of February into the beginning of March. Since it was an internal lab test, no carrier network was necessary.

“Carrier aggregation is crucial to getting the best possible 5G performance out of scattered spectrum assets,” said Sibel Tombaz, head of Product Line 5G RAN at Ericsson Networks, in a statement. “At Ericsson, we are persistently exploring all possible frequency band combinations to boost capacity and coverage. We have also shown that carrier aggregation is a game changer when it comes to optimizing the combined bandwidth of allocated spectrum assets to deliver higher date rates for a greater number of users.”

Carrier aggregation provides the capability to combine many frequency bands, enabling higher speeds and increased cell coverage that improve capacity and the user experience, Ericsson noted. By combining FDD spectrum with TDD spectrum, more users can benefit from carrier aggregation gains.

5G changes the game

During Mobile World Congress 2023 in Barcelona, T-Mobile President of Technology Neville Ray talked about how T-Mobile was able to combine two FDD and two TDD channels for greater speed and performance. That’s something they could not do with 4G LTE.

Working with Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm Technologies and Samsung, T-Mobile managed to aggregate four channels of mid-band spectrum on its 5G standalone (SA) network. That demo, which used the Samsung Galaxy S23, involved two channels of 2.5 GHz and two channels of 1.9 GHz spectrum, creating an effective 225 MHz-wide 5G channel. They were able to reach speeds topping 3.3 Gbps.

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