Faster mobile uploads on the way, with video apps big winners

Video uploads will get a performance boost with the help of LTE technology tested by Huawei Technologies and China Mobile.

So far, LTE has mainly been used to increase download speeds, but going forward more attention will be paid to letting users send data at higher speeds. A test in China showed that a 180 percent increase in upload bandwidth is possible, according to Huawei. On paper, today’s LTE networks offer upload speeds of up to 50Mbps.

The improvement in LTE uplink speeds will make it possible for consumers and professional users to more quickly upload high-quality video; applications that will benefit include telemedicine and video conferencing. Video surveillance applications will also get a performance boost, though that might not be as welcome.

Increasingly, smartphones can shoot high-resolution video and photos, creating a demand for faster upload speeds.

The technology that will make LTE bandwidth improvement possible is carrier aggregation. The technology is part of LTE-Advanced and lets operators treat multiple radio channels in different or the same frequency bands as if they were one.

Huawei didn’t say when the first networks and devices capable of handling uplink carrier aggregation would become available. For carrier aggregation to work, infrastructure and mobile devices have to be upgraded. Operators also need to have enough spectrum. Still, the test in China brings the technology one step closer toward actual commercialization, Huawei said.

So far, carrier aggregation has only been used to increase download speeds.

At the beginning of January, 49 mobile operators had launched carrier aggregation in 31 countries, with theoretical peak downlink speeds between 110Mbps and 300Mbps. Twenty mobile operators, mainly in Europe and Asia, had upgraded their networks to the highest speed, according to industry organization GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association).

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