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Press Release

Signals Research Group Benchmarks Data Throughput Performance of LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation

Sunnyvale, Calif.– (March 26, 2015) — Spirent Communications, the leader in testing networks, services and devices, announced today that it has collaborated with Signals Research Group (SRG) to benchmark the data throughput performance of LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation technology in Cat 4 devices (capable of theoretical downlink data rates of up to 150Mbps). The study consisted of three pre-commercial solutions from Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung.

In addition to testing pre-commercial solutions, the study included similar tests with commercial devices tested over a single 20 MHz FDD carrier instead of in carrier aggregation mode. The testing showed that the performance was comparable with that of the pre-commercial solutions, with the commercial devices having a slight edge in most of the test scenarios. The key conclusions of this study are:

  • The results for the three vendor-supplied solutions were largely the same for many of the test scenarios, which were based on the fixed reference channel defined in the 3GPP standard

  • With more challenging conditions, such as low signal strength and high interference, the Samsung platform delivered modestly higher throughput

“Although carrier aggregation has been deployed since mid-2013, we are now just starting to witness a larger number of chipset suppliers that support the capability. It will be interesting to see how the results are impacted with the use of dynamic scheduling, which will introduce a more challenging and realistic set of conditions,” said Michael Thelander, President and Founder of Signals Research Group. “Spirent’s expertise combined with the use of their 8100 test system allowed us to create a variety of realistic challenges for evaluation of device data throughput performance, a very important KPI for carrier aggregation. While the pre-commercial platforms produced largely comparable results in this study, it will be interesting to see how carrier aggregation-enabled commercial devices perform in the next round which may include field testing, over-the-air testing and dynamic scheduling in the lab.”

Spirent’s 8100 mobile device test system was used for this study, executing approximately 40 different test cases, corresponding to varying channel conditions, including fading and different levels of interference from the two component carriers. Transmission Mode 3 (open loop spatial multiplexing) was used for all tests. The study focused on Cat 4 devices, capable of a theoretical maximum data rate of approximately 150 Mbps in a 20 MHz channel, or in this case two 10 MHz radio channels.

“We are pleased to partner with Signals Research Group on this first ever benchmarking study of Carrier Aggregation executed in a lab environment,” said Saul Einbinder, vice president of marketing for wireless at Spirent Communications. “Carriers are currently deploying Cat 4 solutions and making plans for even higher data rates beyond 150 Mbps that will bring new testing complexities. This latest chapter in Spirent’s long-standing partnership with Signals Research provides the industry with real-world results that show the progress of carrier aggregation deployment and give insights into its testing challenges.”

For a preview of the report in Signals Ahead, “Chips and Salsa XIX: LTE Chipset Performance Benchmark Results: You take the high band and I’ll take the low band”, please visit www.signalsresearch.com.

For more information on Spirent’s 8100 Mobile Device Test system, please visit http://www.spirent.com/Products/8100_LTE .

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