Vol 34: Up - a benchmark study of uplink carrier aggregation

08/07/2023 | 32 pages
Price: $750.00

SRG just completed its 34th 5G benchmark study. For this endeavor we collaborated with Accuver Americas and Spirent Communications to conduct an independent benchmark study of 5G uplink carrier aggregation (CA), using T-Mobile’s commercial 5G network in Seattle, WA, where Nokia is the RAN infrastructure supplier.

Highlights of the Report include the following:

Our Thanks.  We did this study in collaboration with Accuver Americas (XCAL-M and XCAP) and Spirent Communications (Umetrix Data). SRG is responsible for the data collection and all analysis and commentary provided in this report.

Our Methodology.  We used two MediaTek M80 test platforms (provided by T-Mobile) with the M80 5G modem to test the uplink feature, which T-Mobile enabled for our benefit on a few cells within its commercial network. We did stationary and drive tests while doing full buffer uplink data transfers. In addition to testing with a single test phone, we did additional testing in which we locked each phone to an individual band to determine the incremental benefits of uplink CA versus other device/network configurations.

The Timeline.  Uplink CA is most likely in 2024 at which point it will be limited to one layer per band. In 2025, there will be support for uplink CA plus 3 layers, including 2 layers in the mid-band channel (n41 in the case of Tmo). With our test methodology, we were able to show both the expected results for the 2024 CA functionality as well as what we can expect in 2025.

The Results are In.  Uplink CA with two layers (one per band) will always outperform a single component carrier without uplink MIMO and almost always outperform a single component carrier with uplink MIMO. Almost all 5G networks and most 5G smartphones do not support uplink MIMO, which we view as a critical mistep by the industry. With uplink CA and 3 layers the performance will always be better than uplink MIMO and substantially better than 1 component carrier with a single layer. We provide the hard numbers in the full report.

Around the Corner.  Future topics include 4 component carrier downlink and Open RAN (multiple studies, including scheduler efficiency).