Ericsson accelerates indoor LTE speed to 300Mbps

The company's new base station supports LTE-Advanced and Wi-Fi

Ericsson is pushing the boundaries on equipment for LTE-Advanced, launching a picocell base station capable of delivering download speeds of up to 300Mbps and integration with fast Wi-Fi.

LTE-Advanced is slowly starting to take off around the world, with operators upgrading their networks.

To improve coverage and bandwidth in smaller buildings and venues, customized equipment is needed. With that in mind Ericsson has launched the RBS 6402 picocell, a small base station for indoor environments measuring up to 5,000 square meters (roughly 54,000 square feet) that the company hopes to sell to mobile operators.

The operators can then sign deals with enterprises and owners of malls and sports venues to install the bandwidth-boosting product. The carriers can install it themselves or get help from Ericsson.

LTE-Advanced's speed increase is possible thanks to a technology called carrier aggregation, which sends data over multiple frequency bands at the same time.

At the end of the first quarter, ABI Research estimated there were about 60 LTE-Advanced carrier trials, commitments and commercial deployments worldwide.

Devices that take advantage of the speed increase are also starting to arrive. At last week's IFA trade show in Berlin, Huawei Technologies and Samsung Electronics announced LTE-Advanced versions of the Ascend Mate7 and Galaxy Note 4. Versions of the Galaxy S5 and the G3 from LG Electronics that are compatible with LTE-Advanced are also available in South Korea.

Ericsson and its competitors envision a future where mobile operators still use multiple, but more integrated, network technologies. For example, the RBS 6402 can handle traffic over 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi networks based on the 802.11ac specification at the same time. To accomplish this, it uses four radios in a 2.8 liter chassis.

The technologies are integrated using traffic-steering functionality that moves connections between the different networks in an effort to make the most of the available capacity. The product can also be used by multiple carriers at the same time, which makes sense since it means less equipment needs to be installed, while still allowing for competition.

Ericsson will demonstrate the RBS 6402 at the CTIA Super Mobility Week in Las Vegas, which starts on Tuesday. The company didn't say when the product will start shipping or what it will cost.

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