Australia's Optus has exceeded a downlink rate of 2.3 Gbps from a live mobile tower by combining its various spectrum bands.
The company's two "Gigasite" towers were built by Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) and Huawei. One site has been built at St Marys in Sydney’s western suburbs, and the other built at Lambton in Newcastle, approximately 160 km north of Sydney. To measure performance, Optus and its vendor partners mobilised a total of 16 test drive vehicles, 21 engineers, 58 devices (smartphones and dongles) and 31 laptops in order to load up the two sites with data traffic.
- Highest total throughput (capacity) achieved on a live network site: a total of 1.65 to 2.32 Gbps^.
- Most spectrum ever on a live network site: a total of 286.8 MHz, across seven spectrum bands.
- Greatest number of LTE (4G) layers on a single site: five.
- The Gigasites also represent Australia’s first LTE 3500 network trial.
- Two Gigasites built, each consisting of three sectors.
- One Gigasite comprised seven spectrum layers and eight band/technology combinations: 4G (FDD) 700 MHz, 2G 900 MHz, 3G 900 MHz, 4G (FDD) 1800 MHz, 3G 2100 MHz, 4G (TDD) 2300 MHz, 4G (FDD) 2600 MHz, 4G (TDD) 3500 MHz. The other gigasite excluded 3500 MHz.
- The total capacity measured ranged from 1.65 Gbps total site throughput over six spectrum bands (226.8 MHz total spectrum), to 2.32 Gbps over seven spectrum bands (286.8 MHz total spectrum).
- The highest site throughput achieved on a single spectrum layer was 1.11 Gbps for 4G (TDD) on the 2300 MHz layer.
- The highest speed achieved to any single user device was 165 Mbps for 4G (TDD) on 3500 MHz.
- The Gigasites were connected to the live Optus mobile core network, as used by all Optus mobile customers.
- Multi-band 10 and 12 port antennas were used on the Gigasites, spanning 700 to 2600 MHz. Separate antennas were used for 3500 MHz.
- Optus owns licences to all the spectrum layers used. 700 MHz and 2600 MHz spectrum was acquired at auction in 2013, however trial licences were obtained for 700 and 2600 MHz for the Gigasites ahead of the spectrum licences being issued in these bands.
- The radio equipment for each Gigasite comprised up to 26 radio modules, weighing up to 400kg in total.
- The most spectrum used for any single layer was 80 MHz, for 4G (TDD) 2300 MHz.
- 16 test drive vehicles, 21 engineers, 58 devices and 31 laptops were used to load the Gigasites in the field.
- Total site throughput was measured at a dedicated content server connected to the Optus live core network, and represents the aggregate of all data throughput across all network layers at a ‘gigasite’ at a given instant in time.
- 1.65 Gbps was achieved using 226.8 MHz spectrum, 2.32 Gbps was achieved using 286.8 MHz spectrum.
Andrew Smith, Optus Vice President of Mobile Engineering, said, “Our Gigasite project is about demonstrating our network of the future, and how Optus will be able to provide our customers with unparalleled capacity to meet their ever increasing appetite for data, and deliver a faster, more consistent network experience. As 4G continues to evolve, being able to optimally leverage a multi-band network strategy is increasingly important. Optus, in partnership with our vendors, expects to lead the world in its ability to plan, design,optimise and manage mobile network data traffic across multiple spectrum layers.”
“The beauty of this trial with Optus is that it uses equipment and technologies already deployed in today’s commercial networks,” said Stephen McFeeley, head of Australia and New Zealand at NSN. “This is an important step because we foresee that networks will need to be readied to profitably deliver 1 Gigabyte of data per user per day on average by 2020.”