The race to 5G is underway, and it is initiating a heavy discussion within the industry regarding the technical development and business opportunities that this new network technology will bring. Most national-scale LTE deployments concluded and all infrastructure vendors developed add-on products that enhance these networks to reach higher speeds and better efficiencies. All vendors named their product lines in different ways, but these enhancements are essentially very similar. Ericsson named its LTE enhancements 5G Plug-Ins, Huawei named its enhancements CloudRAN and 4.5G, Nokia named its own version 4.9G, and ZTE calls its enhancements Pre5G. These are enhancements to existing LTE-based basestations, which are mostly Massive MIMO, higher order modulation (256QAM), and three-carrier aggregation, bringing the maximum data rate to more than 1 Gbps. These enhancements also introduce structural developments to the cellular network so that the foundation for 5G is prepared, especially in the transport and core network domains.
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