Ericsson, MediaTek set uplink speed record on mmWave using CA

Digital Network SD-WAN

With enhanced user experience top of mind, Ericsson and MediaTek continue to harness the potential of 5G with a new milestone – a successful carrier aggregation on millimeter wave to achieve an uplink throughput of nearly 500 megabits per second – double the current upload speeds and the fastest recorded to date.

Ericsson and MediaTek performed a four-component carrier (4CC) uplink aggregation on millimeter wave (mmWave) that resulted in a peak throughput rate of 495 Mbps – 425 Mbps in New Radio (NR) plus 70 Mbps in LTE. The demo performed in June used pre-commercial software on a device containing a MediaTek M80 5G chipset. The lab test used Ericsson RAN Compute baseband 6648 with the AIR 5331 millimeter wave radio.

The test, which focused on uplink carrier aggregation, is the first of its kind. It showed how this solution can help communications service providers deliver higher data rates and capacity for uplink applications such as user-initiated streaming (AR/VR) and content creation. Fast uplink performance means the user or subscriber does not have to be concerned with weak signals when video-conferencing on phones, for example.

Downlink or download speed has long dominated what we use the internet for – from surfing to streaming. The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted many across the world to work or study from home, highlighting the importance of uplink or upload speed performance.

Upload speed dictates how quickly data is sent from the computer or handheld device to the internet. This includes uploading files, such as photos and videos to social media or collaborative worksites. Upload speeds are also crucial to the image and sound quality of video conferencing. Strong uplink means less or even none of those frozen screens, or broken audio, when using apps like Skype or Microsoft Teams. Similarly, faster uplink improves voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls and online gaming experience.

Hannes Ekström, Head of Product Line 5G RAN at Ericsson, says: “We continue to build on our previous successes, breaking our own record in upload speed. With a peak rate of close to 500 Mbps, we’ve demonstrated in this latest milestone with MediaTek how unprecedented data speeds can be delivered in uplink using mmWave and carrier aggregation. This means our customers can enhance their 5G offerings with higher uplink data rates, vastly improving user experience.”

JS Pan, General Manager of Wireless Communication System and Partnership at MediaTek, says: “This world’s first demonstration of an industry-leading mmWave uplink technology in partnership with Ericsson, shows MediaTek is again establishing 5G milestones and pushing the envelope of its capabilities. 5G mmWave connectivity helps boost network coverage and capacity, faster performance, and introduces more diverse use cases.”

This latest technology milestone follows a single user multiple input multiple output (SU-MIMO demo in April 2021 when Ericsson delivered a single user uplink data rate of 315 Mbps, 15-20 times faster than current typical uplink speed.

Tech details

Ericsson and MediaTek integrated four component carrier, each of 100 MHz, in the uplink using non-standalone architecture (aggregating 8x100MHz in the downlink and 4×100 MHz in the uplink). The integration carried out in a lab setting resulted in a throughput of 495 Mbps (425 Mbps in 5G plus 70 Mbps in 4G), doubling the current uplink speed on the market.

The test was done using the 39 GHz spectrum of NR (400 MHz) and combining it with a single carrier of LTE 1900 MHz spectrum (20 MHz). The whole bandwidth was then aggregated using the LTE and NR links, realizing a total throughput of close to 500 Mbps.