More and more we're seeing applications like video being run on smartphones, which is simply fueling the rapid demand for wireless data. LTE (which stands for Long Term Evolution) is the 4G wireless standard that is meeting this demand: 4G wireless is not only deployed in North America, it is currently being used throughout the world.
LTE technology continues to involve, and today we're seeing LTE-A (LTE-Advanced) features being tested and applied to wireless 4G networks.
In areas where LTE is currently being deployed, both LTE and 3G technologies use the same RF channels on every sector; whereas earlier 2G technologies, such as GSM, were able to use different channels on adjacent sectors. Because the same frequencies are being used repeatedly, the interference between sites should be managed with special care, and this includes sectors on the same site.
For LTE to function effectively it is essential for high-performance base station antennas to radiate signal where it is required and to attenuate signal where it is not required. Networks with poorly designed networks or incorrectly deployed antennas will pay the price with reduced data throughput and sub-standard user experience.
CoMP and FeICIC Features.
Interference between sites is currently being managed by some LTE-A features, such as CoMP (Coordinated Multi-Point) transmission/ reception and FeICIC (Further Enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination). These have been purposely designed to manage interference on the cell boundary. An example being that they can simultaneously control which cells use the same time-slot and frequency.
These facilities provide the greatest benefits when there's a light traffic load and when sites are located just a few hundred meters apart. However, benefits decline and there's less freedom to coordinate between sites, when traffic in the system increases to such a level that most timeslots are active.
Because LTE has severe interference issues, and because current interference management features have limited capabilities, it has become even more critical for today's high-performance base station antennas to maximize the performance of 4G wireless networks.
For maximum user experience and to improve data throughput, we need both high-performance antennas and new, innovative features.
Managing LTE-A signal interferences is crucial because we're relying on LTE Advanced heavily to meet the demand for fast wireless data such as that required in videos on smart phones, machine to machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Utilization of features stated above will get us to prepare for even more demand for higher data tranfer speeds, higher bandwidth, and higher capacity that will be needed in the near future.
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