What is LTE-A?

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Editorial Team - everything RF

Jul 23, 2019

LTE-A or LTE Advanced is the upgraded version of LTE, which increases the stability, bandwidth, and speed of traditional LTE networks. According to 3GPP - "The main new functionalities introduced in LTE-Advanced are Carrier Aggregation (CA), enhanced use of multi-antenna techniques (MIMO) and support for Relay Nodes (RN)".

Carrier Aggregation (CA) is a feature of LTE-Advanced that allows mobile operators to combine two or more LTE carriers into single data channel to increase the capacity of the network and the data rates by exploiting fragmented spectrum allocations. For more information about Carrier Aggregation, click here.

Multi-input Multi-output (MIMO) technology is the use of multiple receive and transmit antennas to establish a communications link between two, or more, communications systems with greater throughput than would be possible with a single antenna system.

Relay Nodes are low powered base stations that increases the coverage and capacity at cell edges. They also provide coverage in the areas where there is no fiber connection.

LTE-Advanced features:

  • Increased peak data rate: Downlink 3 Gbps, Uplink 1.5 Gbps
  • Higher spectral efficiency: Uplink 16bps/Hz, Downlink 30 bps/Hz
  • Increased number of simultaneously active subscribers
  • Improved performance at cell edges, e.g. for Downlink 2x2 MIMO by at least 2.40 bps/Hz/cell

Comparison of LTE-A with other technologies


WCDMA (UMTS)
HSPA+LTE

LTE-A

Downlink speed

384 Kbps

1-28 Mbps

10 – 100 Mbps

1 Gbps

Uplink speed

128 Kbps

11 Mbps

5 – 50 Mbps

500 Mbps

Latency

150 ms

50ms (max)

~10 ms

less than 5 ms
3GPP ReleasesRel 99/4

Rel 7

Rel 8

Rel 10

Access Methodology

CDMACDMAOFDMA / SC-FDMAOFDMA / SC-FDMA