Ericsson, MediaTek claim 5G mmWave milestone

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Comms tech providers Ericsson and MediaTek have announced what they claim is a new speed benchmark for millimetre wave (mmWave) uplink.

The Swedish comms tech giant and Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company said they had successfully deployed carrier aggregation technology to achieve a throughput of nearly 500Mbps, double the current upload speeds and the fastest recorded to date.

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The companies said downlink or download speed has long dominated what mobile users access the internet for, in applications ranging from surfing to streaming. The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted many people across the world to work or study from home, highlighting the importance of uplink or upload speed performance, they added.

The companies said the test they had undertaken, focusing on uplink carrier aggregation, was the first of its kind. It aimed to show how the technology could help communications service providers deliver higher data rates and capacity for uplink applications such as user-initiated streaming (augmented/virtual reality) and content creation.

The result of fast uplink performance – which dictates how quickly data is sent from the computer or handheld device to the internet – is that users or subscribers do not have to be concerned with weak signals when video-conferencing on phones, preserving the image and sound quality. Strong uplink also means fewer frozen screens, or broken audio, when using apps such as Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Similarly, faster uplink improves voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls and online gaming experience.

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In their tests, in June 2020, Ericsson and MediaTek performed a four-component carrier (4CC) uplink aggregation on mmWave – each of 100MHz, in the uplink using non-standalone architecture (aggregating 8x100MHz in the downlink and 4x100MHz in the uplink) – that resulted in a peak throughput rate of 495Mbps – 425Mbps in New Radio (NR) plus 70Mbps in LTE.

The demo 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 mmWave radio using the 39GHz spectrum of NR (400MHz) and combining it with a single carrier of LTE 1900 MHz spectrum (20MHz). The whole bandwidth was then aggregated using the LTE and NR links.

Hannes Ekström, head of product line, 5G RAN at Ericsson, said: “With a peak rate of close to 500Mbps, we have 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.”

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

“5G mmWave connectivity helps boost network coverage and capacity, faster performance, and introduces more diverse use cases,” said JS Pan, general manager of wireless communication system and partnership at MediaTek.

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