fixed wirelessA Nokia T-Mobile LAA test achieved speeds of 1.3 Gbps using the licensed assisted access technology at the carrier’s lab in Bellevue, WA.

LAA is an approach to the use of unlicensed spectrum by cellular operators. The tests supported 14-layer transmissions using Nokia’s commercial AirScale platform, which consists of the AirScale Micro RRH connected to a system module, according to the companies.

Nokia T-Mobile LAA Test
“We are working to deploy small cells that support LAA and build on the LTE-Advanced features we’ve deployed across the country, laying a foundation for 5G,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer, in a press release. “Our priority is ensuring customers have the best mobile experience, so we are accelerating LAA and five carrier aggregation to give them even higher speeds and greater network performance.”

The test featured aggregated licensed and unlicensed bands using five-component aggregation, 256 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation, 4×4 Multiple In Multiple Out (MIMO) antenna technology and LAA on 14 antenna layers.

Access to unlicensed spectrum is a potential boon to carriers for two reasons: It is free (because it is unlicensed) and it helps alleviate the bandwidth crunch. Last June, T-Mobile said that it conducted its first live mobile broadband data session field test. The Los Angeles test achieve speeds of 741 Mbps using 80 MHz of aggregated spectrum.

T-Mobile is not the only carrier looking at unlicensed spectrum, of course. In November, AT&T said that it rolled out LTE LAA in parts of Indianapolis and planned to cover the rest of the city by the end of 2017. The system’s theoretical speed is 1 Gbps. It had reached 979 Mbps in a San Francisco trial.

In August, Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm conducted an LAA trial in Boca Raton, FL that achieved speeds of 953 Mbps. The trial used Ericsson’s micro radio 2205, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile platform test device that uses a gigabit-capable LTE Snapdragon X16 LTE modem.

Image courtesy of flickr user Stefano Brivio.