In a lab demo, T-Mobile and Ericsson achieved download data rates of 1.1 Gbps using 12-layer Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), claiming to be the first in the world to exceed 1 Gbps using unlicensed spectrum.

LAA combines LTE with unlicensed, 5 GHz spectrum to reach gigabit speeds. T-Mobile and Ericsson used 256-QAM and 4 x 4 MIMO LTE, aggregating two licensed carriers and three unlicensed carriers.

LAA was previously demonstrated on 10 layers, reaching download speeds of 1 Gbps. Extending to 12 layers enabled the speeds to surpass 1 Gbps.

The demo, at T-Mobile's Bellevue, Washington lab, used the Ericsson Radio 2205 with Cobham Wireless’ TM500 network test equipment. The Ericsson Radio 2205 enables operators to deploy LTE on the 5 GHz unlicensed band in outdoor micro cell environments. The unlicensed carriers are aggregated with licensed carriers on micro cells or nearby macro cells.

Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile, said, “This LAA technology builds upon our deployments of 4 x 4 MIMO and 256-QAM and will give customers even greater access to near gigabit speeds in 2018.”

Fredrik Jejdling, head of the networks segment at Ericsson, said, “Breaking the 1 Gbps mark means that commercial gigabit speeds are not far from reality for many broadband users, with our LAA and MIMO technologies as key enablers.”