ZTE uses laptops to optimize LTE performance

Operators can now test indoor performance with a PC

ZTE has launched the first PC-based capacity planning tool for LTE, which will make it easier for operators to optimize the performance of their networks and offer users better performance.

As the number users grow in LTE it will become increasingly important for operators to optimize their network to handle growing traffic volumes.

"Mobile networks are often built in two steps. First the network is built to get coverage and during a second phase the network is optimized," said Magnus Isaksson, ZTE CTO in the Nordic countries.

ZTE's new tool tells operators what network parameters -- which can, for example, include the antenna inclination -- they need to change to improve network speeds for users, according to Isaksson. No big antennas are needed, the tool will work fine with just an ordinary LTE dongle, he said.

The small format makes it a good fit for testing indoor coverage and testing performance where a lot of users are accessing the network, including train stations, sports arenas and shopping malls.

Good indoor coverage can be a challenge when LTE is used in combination with higher frequencies, including the 2.6GHz spectrum band.

Also, not all hotspots are obvious when a network is launched, so the testing tool can also help to detect them, according to Isaksson.

LTE usage is expected to grow exponentially in the next couple of years. The number of subscribers will increase from 9 million last year to over 560 million in 2016, Parks Associates has predicted. But that will still only account for 8.8 percent of worldwide mobile subscriptions,.

Also, the number of commercial networks has grown to 105, and a further 194 network deployments are in progress, according to industry organization GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association).

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