Telstra triples 4G speeds in LTE-A test

450Mbps speeds possible but still years away

Telstra says it has managed to hit mobile speeds of 450 megabits per second in a trial of LTE advanced (LTE-A) carrier aggregation.

Carrier aggregation allows greater data download speeds by combining spectrum across multiple, separate spectrum bands. For its most recent test, Telstra combined frequencies on the 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands.

The 450Mbps result is three times faster than theoretical peak network speeds that Telstra offers on 4G today, the telco said. It’s also 150Mbps faster than what Telstra had recorded in a carrier aggregation test last December.

The speeds were achieved in a trial environment, and Telstra cautioned that actual speeds will be lower after real-life conditions are taken into account.

For the test, Telstra and networking partner Ericsson installed equipment for two new 4G Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) channels of 20MHz bandwidth each on the 2600MHz spectrum band. This was aggregated with Telstra’s 20MHz of 4G on the 1800MHz band.

The combination gave Telstra three simultaneous side-by-side paths for data to travel through to the operational core network, it said. Telstra tested the network with an advanced prototype Cat 9 engineering device capable of combining the three channels. Such a device is not available commercially today.

Telstra said commercial deployment of such speeds are still a few years out, and the final implementation will likely incorporate 700MHz spectrum won in the recent Digital Dividend auction.

“This test allows us to see how the technology works ahead of when we make a future investment in it,” said Mike Wright, Telstra group managing director of networks.

“Conducting this type of test is a significant step in the network engineering and development process,” he said.

“It is essential for us to see how this type of technology works in the live network and understand what needs to be done to continue to absorb the exploding demand in mobile broadband and offer an exceptional customer experience.”

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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