SpectrumÂ â€” the invisible infrastructure over which all wireless transmissions travel â€“ is the backbone of the mobile industry.Â Yet, with most of the airwaves for transmitting mobile signals already allocated and licensed and consumers’ data usage on the uptick, the industry is facing a â€śspectrum crunchâ€ť that could lead to quality of service issues, such as dropped calls and slower Internet access.Â Spectrum availability is also a key constraint for developing technologies to support next-generation cellular networks and for delivering the lightning-fast speeds that 4G LTE promises.
That’s where the concept of “carrier aggregation” comes in. To achieve the zippy speeds of 4G LTE, wireless carriers need access to at least 20MHz of contiguous spectrum.Â In many geographies, only small bands of spectrum are available for their use, which â€” when takenÂ aloneÂ â€” can’t support LTE.Â Carrier aggregation enables operators to consolidate multiple spectrum bands and add mobile broadband capacity.Â By knitting together bits and bytes from smaller spectrum bands, carrier aggregation tech can create the equivalent of a 20MHz channel capable of delivering LTE speeds of up to 150 Mbps â€“ fast enough to rival home broadband. Â At such speeds, a two-hour, high-definition movie can download in less than five minutes.
Carrier aggregation is one of the key features of Broadcomâ€™s new 4G LTE-Advanced modem is, enabling operators to make more efficient use ofÂ available spectrum.Â Weâ€™ll be showcasing the capabilities of the BCM21892 this week during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with a live demo showing carrier aggregation in action. Check out the video below, in which Broadcom’s Lars Johnsson, senior director of product marketing for mobile LTE platforms in the Mobile and Wireless Group at Broadcom, shows how the combination of two disparate spectrum channels can be combined to double download speeds from 75 Mbps to peak 4G LTE speeds of 150Mbps.