Carrier Aggregation | What Is Carrier Aggregation means?

The ability to combine two or more carriers in one data channel to boost data capacity is known as Carrier Aggregation. Carriers may be combined in the same or different frequency bands. Carrier Aggregation supports both the FDD and TDD modes. TDD LTE is capable of meeting the very high data throughput requirements imposed on it because of this. The use of just five component carriers was allowed, nevertheless. This pack contains cables that have a maximum bandwidth of 20 MHz each, for a total transmission bandwidth of 100 MHz. 

Carrier Aggregation is a fantastic technology, becoming even better. It will continue to evolve to further enhance mobile networks in the future. You’ll also experience the greatest LTE networks that are available now and Qualcomm and Mediatek drive the devices which support the best LTE network today and will continuously evolve in the future.

The simplest approach to aggregate carriers is to use two or more contiguous channels inside the same frequency band, which is referred to as intra-band, contiguous. Multiple non-contiguous channels may be linked together, called intra-band, non-contiguous. Aggregating carriers from multiple frequency bands is the most difficult challenge (intra-band; non-contiguous).

LTE and WiMax use carrier aggregation technology to extend their coverage. Combining two adjacent channels into one large data channel is possible in IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi). Channel bonding in IEEE 802.11 terminology is referred to as this. When you combine different frequency bands to provide you with additional bandwidth, your data speed increases, resulting in faster speeds.

Bands are frequency spectrums used in wireless communication to communicate between devices. Previously, with just one band to transmit and receive data, the procedure took a long time to complete. However, if you can combine several frequencies, you can concurrently communicate and send data in a rapid and effective way.

In this article, we are going to learn about the basics of Carrier Aggregation (CA) and its benefits. Find out how it works. Everything You Need to Know:

How does it work?

Carrier Aggregation provides multiple frequency bands to a single device. They are component carriers with six distinct frequency ranges. These are the following frequencies: 1.4 MHz, 3 MHz, 5 MHz, 10 MHz, 15 MHz, and 20 MHz. At most, five of these component carriers can be used to transmit an aggregated bandwidth of up to 100 MHz. If two component carriers are combined, the result is 2CA. whereas, if there are three or four carriers, it is referred to as 3CA or 4CA. The more component carriers, the faster the data transfer.

Wireless communication is the most prevalent one, though. When two or more component carriers share the same frequency band, they combine. This configuration is referred to as intra-band contiguous carrier aggregation. Secondly, when the carrier frequencies of the component carriers are the same. If, however, they are separated by a spectrum gap, intra-band non-contiguous carrier aggregation is used. Finally, when the component carriers operate in distinct frequency bands, they are separated into distinct frequency blocks. This is referred to as inter-band carrier aggregation.

What are the benefits of Carrier Aggregation?

It allows faster speeds, multiplying the number of LTE links between the phone and the cellular network.

In this scenario, having only one LTE connection between the network and your phone is not enough; instead, an LTE modem that enables carrier aggregation is needed when connected with a suitable network. It may increase internet speeds by a factor of two or three.

In a nutshell, it is like expanding the highway by adding more lanes. Creating additional room for more vehicles to go on the highway at the same time is like trying to fit more vehicles into the same amount of space.

LTE carriers may be aggregated in a variety of ways:

Intra-band: A single band is used for this kind of carrier aggregation. For this sort of carrier aggregation, there are two major formats:

Contiguous: The most straightforward way to implement LTE carrier aggregation is the Intra-band contiguous carrier aggregation. The carriers here are neighboring one another. The added channel may be perceived from the RF point of view by the terminal as one extended channel. In this case, just one transceiver in the terminal or UE is necessary. However, more are needed if the channels are not contiguous. However, with the increased RF bandwidth, it is vital to guarantee that the UE can function over such a large bandwidth without any performance degradation. Although the performance demands of the base station are the same, space, power consumption, and cost requirements are much lower so that the design is flexible. Moreover, in many circumstances, the multi-carrier functioning of the base station, while not aggregated, requires little or no changes to RF design features. Software updates are, of course, needed to accommodate extra capabilities.

Non-contiguous: The case of non-contiguous intra-band carrier aggregation is a little more problematic than the case of contiguous carriers. Two transceivers are necessary since the multi-carrier signal can no longer be handled as a single transmission. This will significantly increase the complexity, especially for the UE, which is sensitive to space, power, and cost.

Inter-band non-contiguous: This method of carrier aggregation utilizes several bands. Because of the fragmentation of bands, some of which are just 10 MHz broad, it will be very useful. It necessitates the usage of numerous transceivers inside a single item for the UE, which has the normal cost, performance, and power implications. Additional difficulties arise from the need to eliminate intermodulation and cross-modulation between the two transceivers.

In fact, however, there are two or three significant drawbacks to be added to five 20 MHz carriers under the present regulations. These combined carriers may be transmitted from or to the same terminal, allowing for substantially larger throughput.

LTE aggregated carriers

When carriers are aggregated, they are all called component carriers. Two categories are available:

Primary component carrier: this is the main carrier in any group. There is a main downlink carrier and a principal components carrier for the uplink.

Secondary component carrier: one or more secondary component carriers may be available.

There is no specification of the carrier as a primary carrier component-various terminals may employ various carriers. The loading on the different carriers as well as other important criteria will decide the design of the major component carrier.

The connection between the main carrier of the downlink and the matching uplink carrier is also cell-specific. Again, no concept of how this should be organized is available. In the entire signalization between the terminal and base station, the information is sent to the user equipment device.

Carrier Aggregation Support

It depends on your phone and network provider, whether or not your phone supports carrier aggregation. CA was adopted in the majority of its circles by Indian telecoms, including Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone Idea. For all bands, Jio has been able to support (bands 3, 5 & 40, and Airtel 3 and 40).

Carrier Aggregation is supported by the hardware in phones powered by Qualcomm chipsets with an X5 modem or later. For Indian telecom networks, some phones featuring Mediatek, Kirin, and Exynos chipsets allow aggregation.

Despite having hardware support for CA, some smartphone manufacturers may opt not to activate it at the software level. For example, while having supported SoCs, some Realme phones do not support CA.

Carrier Aggregation Phones Supported In India

Jio: Band 3,5 & 40– Jio has Carrier Aggregation activated in its All Bandwidths.

Airtel: 1,3,5,8,40– Airtel has enabled carrier aggregation in Band 3, 40 only. Vodafone Idea: 1,3,8,40,41– Vodafone Idea has enabled carrier aggregation in their 20mhz network.

What are all the SOC chip-sets that support CA?

Yes, Qualcomm supports the CA of the X5 modem. MediaTek-P-series supports the CA of the P20, A-series supports the CA of the A20, X-series supports the CA of the X30, G-series supports the G70, Mid-range supports the CA of the MT 6750, and Entry 4G chips support the CA of the MT 6738.

Advantages of Carrier Aggregation

More consistent and higher internet speeds.

Avoid micro latency in online gaming with lower ping.

Reduce buffering while video streaming.

Avoid over-drain of the battery due to buffers and network oscillation problems.

Wrapping Up

In the comments below, let me know if your phone supports CA. Do Share if your phone supports 4G+ or LTE+ and if you find differences in speed or overall connectivity. Stay tuned for posts like this.

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