While standards for 5G are yet to be established, it is clear that the technology will employ ultra-lean design; improving the signaling schemes both to save energy and to enable the dense builds required by the expected new 5G spectrum. Ericsson’s (NASDAQ:ERIC) proprietary Lean Carrier innovation is first to address intercell signaling interference, introducing lean design concepts to 4G LTE to improve data speed and app coverage for users while on the road to 5G.
Ericsson Lean Carrier applies 5G concept to LTE today.
Ericsson Lean Carrier is running live in thousands of cells in SK Telecom’s (SKT) network where Ericsson and SK Telecom have now deployed Ericsson Lean Carrier in urban, suburban and rural areas. In a large-scale deployment, users can enjoy up to a 50 percent increase in downlink data speed with a network average increase of about 10 percent.
Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network R&D Center, SK Telecom, says: “Through this technology commercialization on LTE base stations, we can expect to enhance the performance at cell edge area and user experience. In the future, SK Telecom will continue to adapt new technologies on LTE to support network evolution.”
By reducing interference, Ericsson Lean Carrier enables new 256 QAM higher order modulation to be utilized over a broader area, extending the higher data speed advantage to the outdoor macro environment. Ericsson Lean Carrier increases the use of 256 QAM by up to 280 percent.
Lowering intercell interference while simultaneously improving network performance requires innovation. Leveraging the flexibility and power of the Ericsson LTE baseband hardware combined with Ericsson’s intelligent software scheduling algorithms, the Ericsson Lean Carrier innovation applies the design concepts being developed for future 5G systems to today’s 4G LTE networks. Ericsson Lean Carrier reduces, or makes lean, the level of reference signaling needed for good network performance. This leads to a corresponding improvement of the downlink data speed which applies to all parts of the 4G LTE network, with the highest performance gains occurring in the areas with most cell overlap.
Per Narvinger, Head of LTE, Ericsson, says: “When LTE was created in 2008, it was straightforward, powerful technology, but now we have added significantly more intelligence. Running signaling full-blast limits performance by creating unnecessary intercell interference. Drawing on our experience from high-performance networks and projecting forward to what will be possible with 5G, we were able to innovate a solution that optimizes the signaling in today’s 4G LTE network.
“Networks that employ the Ericsson Lean Carrier software upgrade will provide a better user experience. And with the shift to small cell architectures in 5G, addressing signaling interference now puts us firmly on the path to meet 2020 requirements.”
Operators are beginning to adopt more advanced encoding schemes to efficiently handle demands for improved user experience; however, use of the new 256 QAM higher order modulations require clean radio signals in order to increase the downlink data speed. By reducing interference Ericsson Lean Carrier increases the amount of time during which 64 QAM and 256 QAM encoding schemes can be utilized by the LTE system.
Ericsson Lean Carrier can be implemented within Ericsson’s LTE networks today, and the solution is compatible with all LTE devices.
5G will encompass an evolution of today's LTE technology and the addition of new radio access technologies, often in higher frequencies. These higher frequencies will drive smaller cell sizes, making it increasingly important to minimize unnecessary transmissions. This is the basic principle of 5G ultra-lean design. Ericsson Lean Carrier provides distinct benefits for both users and operators on today’s LTE networks while achieving a critical innovation milestone on the road to 5G.
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