August 4, 2016 — At eDigest, we regularly discuss the hazards of calling improvements in existing technologies “near next generation” technologies. This has been particularly true in the 5G arena where keeping traction on the 5G front, or fearing that if 5G falls too far of the radar screen, there may be some concern that the excitement, interest, and resulting dollars may dwindle. So vendors sometimes try to manipulate the technology by calling it 4.5G or 5G-like, or 5G compatible, or some other marketing scheme to make it sound like they are ahead of the curve.
Another such claim came from Huawei recently when they and Vodafone conducted a “4.5G trial. It consisted of LTE TDD+ technology as is said to have resulted in a significant increase in the capacity and efficiency of Vodafone UK’s existing 4G network. OK, so Huawei’s CTO Jorge Fernandes noted that “TDD+ technology will also deliver more short-term benefits in the form of “continually improving our 4G performance for customers.”
The trial was around a new 4 x 4 MIMO technique and eight-way transmit and receive (8T8R) with beam forming.
That’s cool. These are all existing technologies and putting them together to “offer a significant improvement in the performance of LTE networks in heavily built up areas by combining the signals from multiple angles and collocated antennas to reduce interference and improve throughput.” Again, cool, but hardly earth-shattering. Incremental improvement have been happening since 1G, and just part of the march of technology. Huawei claims “the collaboration with Vodafone UK has proved that 4.5G (TDD+) is a good solution to realize the potential of TDD spectrum.”
Well, if you say so Huawei, but let’s see some numbers and the real-world simulation environment.