wireless towerVerizon aims to boost wireless speeds and capacity with technology upgrades planned for 1,100 markets or more. The company will provide carrier aggregation to subscribers in more than 2,000 markets and will add 4×4 Massive Input, Massive Output (MIMO) and 256 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) in 1,100 markets.

The carrier did not provide details about speed or capacity gains, but in a previous limited Florida deployment, the combination of Verizon 4×4 MIMO, 256 QAM and carrier aggregation supported speeds of nearly a gigabit per second using licensed and unlicensed technology.

Verizon 4×4 MIMO, 256 QAM, Aggregation
In a press release, Verizon described the goal of each technology it will be deploying:

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  • Carrier aggregation combines discreet bands of spectrum so data can flow between the bands more efficiently
  • Verizon 4×4 MIMO uses an increased number of antennas at the cell tower and on customers’ devices to minimize interference when transmitting data.
  • 256 QAM enables customers’ devices and the network to exchange information in larger amounts delivering more bits of data in each transmission.

“Our customers experience the largest LTE coverage in the country, unrivaled service reliability and the most consistently fast speeds in the industry,” Nicola Palmer, Verizon’s Chief Network Engineering Officer and Head of Wireless Networks, said in a press release. “We’ve done this through customer-focused planning, disciplined engineering, and consistent, strategic investment, continuing to deploy LTE Advanced technologies.”

Much of the work on advanced LTE will be useful in 5G as it begins to be deployed. In June, Verizon and Nokia conducted outdoor 5G data session tests using 3GPP New Radio (NR) standards. The tests included boosting of signals using multi-carrier aggregation.

Verizon clearly is undergoing the transition from LTE to advanced forms of LTE and finally to 5G from a strong position. In May, Tutela released rankings of wireless performance. Verizon had the fastest downstream speed at 20.82 Mbps and was the second highest upstream performer at 8.72 Mbps.

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