Operators use carrier aggregation as a differentiator to improve mobile performance. The ability to uplink or downlink data-intensive applications – from mapping, streaming video to cloud computing – with CA provides a major advance in network performance.
CA combines multiple LTE carrier signals to increase data rates and improve network performance. Currently, two-carrier aggregation is widely available throughout the globe. Traditional two- and three-CA configurations use the Frequency-Division Duplex (FDD) LTE bands. However, combining frequencies – Time-Division Duplex (TDD) / FDD CA – is becoming more widely available.
Initial LTE CA deployments aggregated only two Component Carriers (CCs) for a maximum data rate of 300 Mbps, but more CCs are being added each year. Faster speeds require more advanced modems in mobile devices; LTE Category 4 modems are required for 150 Mbps, Category 6 for 300 Mbps, and Category 9 for 450 Mbps. Category 9 will bring 450 Mbps with 60MHz during 2015, with expected rates of 1 Gbps in the future.
Bottom line, CA provides significant benefits for mobile users and operators.
CA can also present challenges such as increased mobile power consumption; interference; and system noise. Addressing these challenges requires high-performance RF front-end designs and technologies. Qorvo is at the forefront, offering products with high linearity, low insertion loss, and the performance needed for CA – maximizing mobile battery life, mitigating signal interference and optimizing network coverage.