updated 10:39 pm EDT, Tue June 17, 2014
Single radio controller brings improvements in LTE capacity through GSM management
Communications company Huawei and cellular carrier Vodafone have come together to test a technology that could combat the growing congestion in the LTE spectrum. The pair were able to successfully implement what is being called GSM-LTE Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (GL DSS) on Vodafone's network in Spain. Using Huawei's Single Radio Controller (SRC), the companies have found a way for GSM and LTE to share the same frequency.
The sharing is possible by using GL DSS to schedule traffic on spectrum that is under-utilized, or is for older technologies. Huawei's SRC can utilize real-time scheduling interference, which can then prioritize and protect voice traffic from interference over GSM. The SRC controller can give LTE more headway by clearing the allotted spectrum when calls aren't being made. Huawei said this dynamic allocation allows for "better LTE throughput."
When Huawei introduced the SRC in 2013, it stated that would be able to "enhance network capacity and efficiency." By deploying multiple Radio Access Technologies and scheduling, the SRC would allow network builders to utilize larger capacities and provide better mobile broadband experiences. Huawei said that the controller could coordinate scheduling for LTE, GSM, UMTS and Wi-Fi, with a maximum traffic capacity of 120 gigabits per second.
During the testing period at Vodafone Spain's Mobile Access Competence Center, the results showed that there was a 50 percent increase in LTE capacity with GL DSS. Currently, Vodafone has 20 MHz of spectrum on the 1.8 GHz range for customers to use. The effective LTE spectrum would increase to 15 MHz when managed, since the company assigns 10 MHz to LTE operations. Huawei said this was done with "limited impact to GSM services."
By giving a 50 percent boost to the amount of LTE, the carrier will be able to handle higher loads of traffic better during peak hours. It can also mean that a carrier like Vodafone would be able to serve a larger number of customers without having to purchase additional spectrum rights or equipment.
Neither company gave any indication when GL DSS would be used on a larger scale, but the test offered the first large proof of concept. As of this month, Huawei said that it's deployed more than 50 GSM/LTE refarming networks across the globe. The company could in turn install SRC on those networks to manage and extend LTE offerings.