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NTT Docomo & Huawei increase LTE networks with WiFi spectrum

Researchers have broadcast LTE service on unlicensed spectrum
August 22, 2014

Engadget alerts us to researchers at NTT Docomo and Huawei who have just announced that they have been successfully in broadcasting LTE service on unlicensed 5GHz spectrum, a frequency typically used for WiFi.

The indoor test found that LAA can work in 5GHz bandwidth, leading to cell capacity of approximately 1.6 times greater than that of IEEE 802.11n, a standard specification for WLAN. This significant result was a positive indication that LAA can be utilized as an enhancement of LTE, and also LTE-Advanced, which DOCOMO plans to launch by March 2015. For example, higher-speed data communications and a higher cell capacity in dense traffic areas should be achievable by utilizing the 5GHz spectrum for LTE and LTE-Advanced on a complementary basis in coexistence with wireless LAN. – NTTDocomo

The use of this spectrum would increase LTE service in heavy-using areas by offloading wireless data in congested areas. LTE-U is expected to provide more security, better coverage and lower deployment costs.

The pair have been researching LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U), what they call “Licensed-Assisted Access (LAA),” since February and vow to continue experimenting with how licensed and unlicensed spectrum can work together. For now, they’ve demonstrated on multiple-cell pre-commercial networks that LTE works in 5GHz unlicensed spectrum, achieving better coverage and capacity than WiFi alone. – LightReading

Licensed spectrum is now used by mobile operators who are given access to the licensed spectrum by telecom authorities for a price.