The vision of the Networked Society, where everything that benefits from being connected will be connected, places new requirements on connectivity. LTE is a key component in meeting these demands, and LTE release 13 is the next step in the LTE evolution.

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LTE release 13 will improve and enhance LTE in several aspects, and strengthen its capacity to serve as a platform for the Networked Society. Enhancements in this release include licensed assisted access, which uses the carrier-aggregation framework to exploit unlicensed spectrum as a complement, and multi-antenna enhancements exploiting both the horizontal and vertical domains. These enhancements will improve overall capacity as well as user data rates. Latency reductions in release 13 will also help higher-layer protocols such as TCP to exploit these very high data rates.

At the same time, LTE will expand into new usage scenarios by providing improved support for low-cost and energy-efficient massive machine-type communications through reduced RF bandwidth. Enhancements in direct device-to-device communication will provide improved support for public safety as well as various commercial use cases.

LTE is a very flexible platform that is continuously evolving to address new requirements and additional scenarios. This paper provides an outline of LTE evolution, focusing on the ongoing standardization work for release 13, and shows how LTE will play a vital role in the realization of the Networked Society.

LTE release 13 – expanding the Networked Society

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