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LTE-U tested at 200Mbps in SA

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MTN and Ericsson have successfully trialled LTE-Unlicensed which is designed to enable data speeds of up to 200Mbps.

MTN SA and Ericsson have successfully trialled LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) at MTN’s flagship channel store in Morningside, Johannesburg. LTE-U is a mobile technology innovation that enables higher data speeds, with increased network capacity and a significantly enhanced customer experience.

The first LTE-U trial in Africa, it was completed by aggregating 10MHz of MTN’s licensed 1800MHz spectrum and 20MHz within the unlicensed 5GHz band. The trial achieved a throughput of more than 200Mbps. The aggregation of licensed and unlicensed spectrum in indoor small cells is a key enabler for 5G.

Krishna Chetty, Acting Chief Technology Officer, MTN South Africa says: “This trial supports MTN’s strategy to drive sustainable growth by driving growth in voice, while developing new opportunities in data, enterprise, financial services and content.

“LTE-U is designed to take advantage of the capacity available in the unlicensed 5GHz band spectrum. Through aggregating licenced spectrum with unlicensed spectrum a bigger LTE carrier is created. The ability to aggregate spectrum is one of the primary benefits of LTE. Using this technology, MTN is able to combine its LTE spectrum with portions of the 5GHz spectrum band, to enable LTE- Unlicensed.

“The lack of critical high value spectrum has compelled MTN to combine existing licensed mobile spectrum with unlicensed 5GHz spectrum to cater for the rollout of new generation networks such as LTE-U.”

Chetty says LTE-U will offer MTN’s customers a great network experience because it packs more speed into the same site, which should allow more people to access the network simultaneously, while improving the overall customer experience.

Henrik Linnet, Head of Practice Mobile Broadband, Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa says: “This solution, when fully operational, will allow MTN to boost data speeds and coverage in the cellular network and support the growth of indoor traffic, by using the unlicensed 5 GHz band already populated by Wi-Fi devices.

“This is the first LTE-U trial and first enhanced CSAT (Carrier Sensing Adaptive Transmission) functionality demonstrated in Africa. Through this, we demonstrated that LTE is a good neighbor to Wi-Fi.  We are proud to have teamed up with our longstanding partner to demonstrate this service in South Africa on the way to future 5G deployments.”

This application is currently suitable for in-building LTE deployments, due to the characteristics of unlicensed spectrum in the 5 GHz band, meaning that where there is dedicated in building MTN LTE coverage, one can expect great data speeds.

The tests to demonstrate LTE-U have only been performed using a non-commercial prototype device, but commercial devices that support LTE-U are expected to be available in the market later this year.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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