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As 5G approaches, 3G and 4G are still getting faster

Stephen Lawson | Feb. 4, 2016
Ericsson and Nokia have new tricks to improve the networks we're using now.

Carrier aggregation has already led to demonstrations of gigabit-speed LTE. Ericsson has shown 1Gbps with Australian carrier Telstra using five different bands ganged together. Now the company says it can go even faster and do it with just three bands, partly by using antennas that send out multiple streams of data over multiple paths. Those capabilities will also come out in the second quarter.

Nokia says it will not only tie two frequency bands together but also let mobile devices use bands from different cells. The Finnish company has demonstrated 4.1Gbps speed with China Mobile and Qatar-based carrier Ooredoo. Like Ericsson, it will be at MWC with more advanced forms of carrier aggregation and beamforming.

There will be a twist to one Nokia launch at the show: Most headline-grabbing mobile speeds are for downloads, but Nokia will be combining multiple bands for uplinks. This will let carriers triple the typical speed from the phone up to the network, reaching 150Mbps. High-resolution selfies and cat videos will hit the Internet that much faster.

 

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