Technology leaders Ericsson and Swisscom demonstrate 256 QAM in a combined three-carrier aggregation LTE FDD/TDD live commercial network New 256 QAM modulation scheme enhances the data rate of existing frequency spectrum by up to 30 percent Swisscom uses upcoming Ericsson Networks Software 16A to achieve 426 Mbps in downlink

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and Swiss operator Swisscom have on September 17th, 2015 achieved another LTE-Advanced world-first in a live demonstration in Swisscom’s commercial mobile network.

By introducing 256 QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) in a combined three-carrier aggregation LTE FDD/TDD network, the partners achieved peak downlink speeds of over 426 Mbps, compared with 335 Mbps recently achieved with the same set-up in Swisscom’s commercial network with current 64 QAM technology for downlink.

Ericsson and Swisscom have previously demonstrated Europe's first fully commercial LTE-Advanced three-carrier aggregation solution combining LTE in both FDD and TDD modes.

Patrick Weibel, Senior Architect Wireless Strategy, Swisscom, says: “At Swisscom, it is always our ambition to innovate to offer our customers the best network at all times. 256 QAM will add an important feature to the modernization of our LTE-Advanced network by increasing data speeds up to 30 percent without using any additional spectrum.”

For the demonstration, held in Zurich, Switzerland, 256 QAM was introduced using software from the recently announced Ericsson Networks Software 16A, which will become commercially available later in 2015. The three-carrier aggregation solution in Swisscom’s live commercial network makes use of two LTE TDD carriers, each with 20MHz bandwidth in the 2.6 GHz frequency band (B41), and one LTE FDD carrier with 15 MHz in the 2.1 GHz band (B1).

Per Narvinger, Head of LTE, Ericsson, says: “Ericsson Networks Software 16A introduces numerous features that help operators take important steps towards improved app coverage in the Networked Society. One of these features, 256 QAM modulation, significantly improves data throughput in any given LTE spectrum. We are proud to provide our partner Swisscom with another world-first innovation.”

About carrier aggregation and 256 QAM:

Carrier aggregation and 256 QAM are two features of LTE-Advanced. With carrier aggregation, several carriers in non-contiguous frequency bands can be combined and treated as one. The current Ericsson Networks Software 15B can achieve up to 450Mbps in downlink by combining three 20MHz carriers in LTE. 256 QAM, part of the new Ericsson Networks Software 16A, improves the data throughput in a given spectrum by up to 30 percent, meaning that a three-carrier LTE-Advanced network can achieve up to 600 Mbps downlink.

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