The arrival of 5G may not be expected until 2020 but the wait is not quelling the excitement around the service for this years mobile World Congress. With that said the existence of this new speed boost is no deterrent to vendors who are planning to show off new ways to speed up the networks already in use.
When looking at the figures, it is no real surprise that manufacturers are still maintaining a focus on 4G and 3G services. For mobile subscriptions 51% are for a 2G service only, almost a third only make use of 3G and just 15% of subscriptions are for 4G. Predictions for 2020 show that 4G subscriptions will likely reach 48% of the global market.
As the 4G market continues to grow many users could do with a boost before 2020. Two companies that are addressing the issue are Ericsson and Nokia, two of the largest network equipment makers.
Ericsson says the performance of 3G WCNDMA networks can be doubled - with no need to replace equipment at cell sites - with a software enhancement. The upgrade that Ericsson has called 'Flow of Users' will result in a more efficient sharing of a site's capacity meaning a better division of resources. It is expected that Flow of Users will speed up the service by 50% so the typical average for 3G of 2Mbps could be as high as 4Mbps.
Nokia, as well as Ericsson, are looking to boost the capacity of 4G LTE networks with a new antenna technology combining frequency bands used for a connection. Both companies have their own approach to the use of this technology. Ericsson has reached 1Gbps and plan to push faster by using an antenna to send out multiple streams of data. Nokia meanwhile has demonstrated 4.1Gbps by tying together two frequency bands and allowing mobiles to uses bands from different cells.