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Advantages of Carrier Aggregation | Disadvantages of Carrier Aggregation

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of LTE Carrier Aggregation.It mentions carrier aggregation advantages and carrier aggregation disadvantages. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution.

Introduction: The concept of carrier aggregation is introduced in LTE Release-10. Carrier aggregation refers to concatenation of multiple carriers. This will increase the bandwidth proportionate to number of aggregated carriers and bandwidth per carrier. Bandwidth increase will help in achieving higher data rates.

LTE R-10 supports aggregation of up to 5 CCs (Component Carriers). In LTE, five bandwidths are supported which include 1.4, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 20 MHz. Hence maximum total aggregated bandwidth of 100 MHz can be achieved. With LTE R-13, about 32 CCs can be aggregated which will increase bandwidth to the great extent and hence the data rate.

carrier aggregation types fig3

Figure-1 Carrier Aggregation types

Advantages of carrier aggregation

Following are the advantages of carrier aggregation:
➨It helps in increasing bandwidth allocation to the UEs (or mobile subscribers) by combining the CCs. In 3GPP R-10 supports aggregation of 5 CCs while R-13 supports aggregation of 32 CCs. This helps in achieving high downlink and uplink data rates.
➨Network operators have provision to deploy the network in one of the three types viz. Intra band contiguous, intra band non contiguous and Inter band non contiguous.
➨CA helps to enable aggregation of un-licensed and licensed carrier frequency spectrum. Hence it utilizes unlicensed bands.
➨Dynamic flow switching across CCs is possible with CA.
➨Expanded coverage is no more a trouble for telecom carriers as they can scale the carriers as needed.
➨CA can be applied to TDD as well as FDD topologies.
➨CA feature helps in improving network efficiency by network operators with optimized user experience.

Disadvantages of carrier aggregation

Following are the disadvantages of carrier aggregation:
➨Multiplexers are needed at transmit end to combine the component carriers and RF filters are needed at the receive end to separate out component carriers. These extra devices will increase cost for the equipment and device manufacturers. It increases system complexity also. SAW and BAW type of RF filters are used.
➨Power Amplifiers (PAs) and Switches are specially designed to meet the requirement of Carrier Aggregation based RF system. For example, highly linear PAs are used for intra band CA. Switches with higher isolation between ports are used.
➨The testing of this feature requires complex test and measurement hardware and software. This increases cost to smart phone and equipment manufacturers to avail the test service/equipment. Test and measurement companies such as Anritsu, Rohde and Schwarz and Agilent provide T & M solutions to test this feature.
➨It increases cost of smart phone due to extra requirement of hardware components e.g. switches and filters in the RF chain.

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