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Broadband Traffic and Need for Higher Capacity Drive Growth
- The global long-term evolution-advanced (LTE-A) test equipment market witnessed a growth rate of x% in 2013 and generated revenue of $ x million. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is an estimated x% from 2014 to 2021, and the market is likely to generate $ x million by the end of 2021.
- While 4G brought in higher throughputs and lower delays, there are still issues that need to be addressed regarding the following:
oCarrier Aggregation (CA): Better pipe to enhance the end-user QoE
oLeveraging Heterogeneous Networks (HetNets): Beared towards higher capacity via use of small cells, enhanced QoE, and user fairness
oAdvanced multiple antenna techniques with advanced interference management can leverage fiber backhaul installations
oBenefits can extend to unlicensed spectrum: Better network performance, unified LTE network, coexistence with 802.11/Wi-Fi
oNew Frontiers: Making LTE broadcast dynamic and extending to terrestrial TV
- What to expect with LTE-A include:
oFaster Download Speeds: Average throughput should be 2x–3x faster than that of vanilla LTE, so LTE-A could have average download speeds of ~ xMbps (compared to ~ x Mbps for LTE).
oLower Latency (Delay): LTE-A will enhance the QoE via lower latency. Big drops have occurred from 2G/3G (~ x ms) to LTE (~ x ms) already, but LTE-A promises latencies of ~ xms (about ½ of that of LTE).
oSpectrum-friendly Technology: Spectrum efficiency is the key to LTE-A’s success. LTE-A will allow operators to use different spectrum bands on their network service (CA, so previously segregated spectrum is grouped together into broader bands—up to x carriers).
oSupports Spectrum Diversity: LTE-A will operate in the LTE bands as well as new, possible ITU IMT bands (450MHz–470MHz, 2.3GHz–2.4GHz, 3.4GHz–4.2GHz, 4.4GHz–4.99GHz).
oLeverages MIMO: Multiple data streams are setup, boosting throughput.
oLTE-A: A more intelligent network is adaptive to changing environments.
- The LTE test equipment market relies heavily on the wireless telecommunications industry, which consists of service providers (SPs), network equipment manufacturers (NEMs), and handset manufacturers. Ultimately, market sustainability depends on the ability of SPs to cater to consumer expectations.
- With growing demand for faster data speeds, LTE-A networks must ensure proper interoperability and mobility, and meet high quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) levels. Hence, proper testing with LTE test equipment is required.
- The market today is heavily centered in the Asia-Pacific region followed by Europe while North America is yet to make major gains. Most of LTE-A commercial deployments are concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region, while only one SP, AT&T, in the United States has deployed an LTE-A network.
LTE-A offers tremendous opportunities to test equipment vendors as LTE-A deployments are imminent.
Customers are looking for a one-stop-shop investment to get all test deployments from a single source.
LTE-A allows more efficient use of fragmented spectrum, with features such as CA, massive MIMO, and coordinated multi-point.
LTE-A testing requires bigger beds and synchronization of fading on multiple independent links for recreation of complicated real-world situations.
Automation, customer education, and industry-certification programs are helping to address some of the challenges service providers face.
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