The Hunt for Uplink 64-QAM

The Hunt for Uplink 64-QAM

Quantifying the Benefits of Uplink Carrier Aggregation and 64-QAM in a Commercial LTE Network

09/30/2016 | 60 pages
Price: $1,595.00

In this Signals Ahead report we provide the results from the industry’s first and only independent performance analysis of two critical LTE features which can meaningfully impact the uplink performance of an LTE network. For this study we used SK Telecom’s commercial LTE network in Seoul, South Korea where Samsung Networks is the infrastructure supplier.

Highlights of the Report include the following:

  • Our Thanks.  This study could not have been done without the support of Accuver, who provided us with its XCAL-Solo and Harmony drive test tools as well as its XCAP post-processing solution to analyze the data that we collected.
  • Our Approach.  We transferred more than 136 GB during our upload tests which involved a mix of full buffer FTP transfers and more typical user applications, such as web browsing, video telephony (IR.94), and uploading a large video file to Google Drive. We analyzed the incremental impact of the two features on end user data rates and overall network efficiency, not to mention the potential impact on current consumption / battery life.
  • Lofty Expectations Exceeded.  We had high expectations for how frequently we would observe uplink 64-QAM. Needless to say, those expectations were greatly exceeded. Combined with uplink CA, the uplink performance of SKT’s network exceeded the downlink performance of most LTE networks. We note that the downlink to uplink performance ratio of most LTE networks is at least 6:1 if not a 10:1 ratio, suggesting greater attention to the uplink is warranted.
  • The Comparison.  We used a commercial LG G4 and LG G5 smartphone with the LG G5 supporting Category 13 uplink capabilities. Needless to say, we identified significant differences in performance which provide real benefits to consumers and to mobile operators in terms of increased network efficiency (CA) and increased spectral efficiency (64-QAM). We quantify these benefits for the applications that we tested.
  • What about Power?  The knock on these two features is that they are perceived to have a big impact on the current consumption / battery life. Therefore we provide results from several tests which look into the power efficiency of uplink CA and uplink 64-QAM.
  • What about the Downlink?  Thanks to 3-carrier CA, during our drive tests we observed a median speed of 137 Mbps and a peak speed that was well over 300 Mbps.