A powerful feature of LTE Advanced, carrier aggregation, is the next big step in the evolution of LTE networks. It is being adopted across the globe at a rapid pace as it increases the performance of wireless networks significantly. Wireless operators using carrier aggregation gain the advantages of better peak user throughput, more efficient use of spectrum and greater flexibility in increasing overall cell capacity. Users benefit by getting higher speed data connections consistently and this leads to the overall quality of experience being improved.
Network operators using carrier aggregation can create bigger channels from spectrum blocks that are not adjacent. An operator could for example use 10 MHz from the 2100 MHz band and combine it with 5 MHz from the 700 MHz band to create one 15 MHz LTE channel. Carrier aggregation channels are also not limited to a maximum of 20 MHz, but can be combined up to a single 100 MHz LTE channel.
The industry group 3GPP defining LTE Release 10 led to carrier aggregation being used for the first time. New releases of LTE specify more band combinations for use in various global regions. It is expected that carrier aggregation technology will carry on improving in new LTE releases. New technologies that enable the efficient use of spectrum, including carrier aggregation, will be a major part of 5G.
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