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Carrier aggregation is one of the key features for LTE-Advanced. By means of CA, users gain access to a total bandwidth of up to 100 MHz in order to meet the IMT-Advanced requirements. The system bandwidth may be contiguous, or composed of several non-contiguous bandwidth chunks that are aggregated. This article presents a summary of the supported CA scenarios as well as an overview of the CA functionality for LTE-Advanced with special emphasis on the basic concept, control mechanisms, and performance aspects. The discussion includes definitions of the new terms primary cell (PCell) and secondary cell (SCell), mechanisms for activation and deactivation of CCs, and the new cross-CC scheduling functionality for improved control channel optimizations. We also demonstrate how CA can be used as an enabler for simple yet effective frequency domain interference management schemes. In particular, interference management is anticipated to provide significant gains in heterogeneous networks, envisioning intrinsically uncoordinated deployments of home base stations.
Date of Publication: June 2011