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Multi-Gigabit 5G with Carrier Aggregation

Efficiently grow data rates, cell range and capacity

Carrier Aggregation in 5G

Operators across the world are turning to 5G Carrier Aggregation for making the most of their network assets. It enables:

  • Delivering Multi-Gigabit user data speeds
  • Boosting mid-band coverage and capacity
  • Leveraging all spectrum allocations

Nokia 5G networks are increasingly providing broadband speeds exceeding 1 Gbps. The Multi-Gigabit 5G era has started. 5G Carrier Aggregation enables operators to leverage their low and mid-band spectrum to achieve speeds that used to be associated only with large millimeter wave spectrum allocations. The benefits are a larger geographic reach and a larger supporting smartphone ecosystem. 

The benefits of 5G Carrier Aggregation

With the introduction of 5G, many operators are relying on the mid-band frequencies for superior data rates, but they also need a solid coverage foundation provided by low-band spectrum. 5G Carrier Aggregation brings together the benefits of both.

On high-band spectrum, Carrier Aggregation enables a fiber-like wireless experience.

>4.5 Gbps 5G on sub-6 GHz bands

On low and mid-band frequency allocations, three and four component Carrier Aggregation provides plenty of options to deliver Multi-Gigabit data rates.  

The result: Enabling data speeds previously associated only with 5G on millimeter wave frequency bands on more smartphones and in larger areas for enhanced mobile user experience.

Resource and TCO savings

Real-time load balancing across aggregated 5G carriers helps unleash otherwise unused frequency resources.  

The result: More capacity with fewer cells, less infrastructure investments and lower energy consumption.

>30% extended mid-band cell range

Aggregating a low-band FDD carrier (sub-3 GHz) with a mid-band TDD carrier (sub-6 GHz) removes the uplink coverage limit on mid-band.  

The result: Subscribers can benefit from mid-band bandwidth and high data speeds in a larger geographic area.

>2 Gbps in uplink on high-band

On millimeter wave spectrum, four component Carrier Aggregation enables Multi-Gigabit 5G speeds also in uplink, complementing eight component downlink Carrier Aggregation.  

The result: A truly fiber-like wireless experience for pioneering tomorrow’s 5G use cases and beyond already today.

4 Component Carrier Aggregation in the field

Since 2022, Nokia has upgraded 5G sub-6 GHz networks with software to 4 Component Carrier (4CC) 5G Carrier Aggregation.

The aggregation of four component carriers on mid-band (TDD) and low-band (FDD) provides better user experience:

  • Higher data rates from cell center to cell edge
  • A totally new level of user experience deep indoors, where TDD uplink coverage was a limiting factor.
  • The potential to increase smartphone battery life - in particular for data-heavy users.

Read more in Signals Research Group’s study of four component carrier 5G Carrier Aggregation in T-Mobile’s 5G network supplied by Nokia.

5 Component Carrier Aggregation

More options for Multi-Gigabit data rates and boosted coverage on sub-6 GHz TDD and FDD bands.

5 component carriers enable data rates above 4 Gbps, powered by the massive bandwidth of mid-band, and range-extended coverage, powered by propagation properties of low-band.

See our real equipment 5 component carrier 5G Carrier Aggregation demo on Nokia AirScale and the latest 5G modem-RF system.

Multi-Gigabit 5G with Carrier Aggregation

Carrier Aggregation smartphone ecosystem

In 2023, the flagship smartphones are supporting three and four component 5G Carrier Aggregation. The smartphone ecosystem is constantly evolving to supporting more component carriers.

The pool of specified 3GPP 5G multi-band and multi-carrier Carrier Aggregation configurations continues to grow, enabling Multi-Gigabit 5G data rates for the wide variety of sub-6 GHz 5G spectrum allocations of network operators globally.

Carrier Aggregation in 5G Standalone

The evolution of 5G beyond enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) towards machine type and ultra-reliable low latency communications is based on 5G Standalone. It runs on lean and efficient 5G-only air interface in the Radio Access Network (RAN) and connects to a cloud 5G Core network.

An increasing number of mobile network operators are activating 5G Standalone (SA) alongside 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) in the same network. With 5G SA, operators can use multi-carrier 5G Carrier Aggregation with two, three, four and in the future more component carriers. In combination with mid-band spectrum, it enables higher user data rates than were possible in 5G NSA.

Why choose Nokia 5G Carrier Aggregation?

Together with the leading mobile network operators across the world and the user equipment ecosystem, we have commercially introduced two component, three component and four component 5G Carrier Aggregation to enable Multi-Gigabit 5G on sub-6 GHz frequency allocations.

We also have Carrier Aggregation commercially available for high-band. On millimeter wave spectrum, Carrier Aggregation with eight component carriers in downlink and four component carriers in uplink enables reaching even higher data rates.

Nokia 5G Carrier Aggregation:

  • Works in 5G Non-Standalone and 5G Standalone in the same cells for smooth migration from NSA to SA
  • Boosts 5G performance
  • By aggregating low-band carriers for coverage and mid-band carriers for capacity, helps deliver Multi-Gigabit user data speeds already today. 

5G Carrier Aggregation is software running on the baseband unit, easy to activate in Nokia 5G networks. The supported Carrier Aggregation band combinations are following the quarterly 3GPP specification updates. Our quarterly software updates ensure the best possible band combination support, and bring more flexibility for mobile operators to optimize their network coverage and capacity.

Nokia 5G Carrier Aggregation works with massive MIMO and dynamic spectrum sharing, enabling a further capacity boost on mid-band and more flexibility for low-band aggregation.

Nokia AirScale ensures uncompromised RF bandwidth for efficient multi-carrier sub-6 GHz Carrier Aggregation. Additionally, our AirScale baseband is optimized for providing the processing capacity and scalability for multi-carrier, large bandwidth Carrier Aggregation.

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