At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month, CommScope will be introducing a full line of 4x4MIMO (4T4R multiple input/multiple output) antenna models that combine multiple data streams with additional spectrum bands, such as 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 1400 MHz (Europe), to assist operators with the gig speeds needed for 4G as well as path to increased data speeds expected for 5G.
CommScope is also bringing 4x4MIMO to its small cell antenna line high gain, small cell antenna line in the 1.7–2.7 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands, plus 2x2MIMO support in the 5 GHz band. With this antenna, operators can use carrier aggregation for License Assisted Access (LAA) to combine unlicensed bands with licensed bands to reach gigabit speeds at small cell sites. This antenna will also help operators be ready for Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS).
CommScope introduced its first 4x4MIMO, ultra-wideband antenna for the 1400 MHz–2700 MHz range in late 2017 and has released an extensive antenna portfolio for FirstNet operating in the 700 MHz band. The company continues to add antennas to its portfolio that support different frequency band combinations in 4-, 8- and 12-port configurations, with 4x4MIMO support on both low and high bands.
The industry, which has evolved from 2X2MIMO to 4X2MIMO, has now fully embraced 4X4MIMO antennas, which support advanced modulation and carrier aggregation of unlicensed frequency bands.
To support the different frequency band frequency of the carriers, a comprehensive line of antennas is needed. At the current time, CommScope has 20 4XMIMO antennas and it will continue to grow.
“The reason we have such as large portfolio is depending on which operator you are talking to, they use different frequency bands,” said Farid Firouzbakht, senior vice president, RF Products, CommScope. “We talk with the operators about their frequency use to find out which of the frequency bands are suitable to put under one radome for an off the shelf product. In other cases, such as FirstNet, we will do a customized design based on a particular need.”
In the future, as spectrum moves up to the higher bands for 5G, antennas will evolve to support 8xMIMO data streams and Massive MIMO configurations of 64 or more antenna array elements.
Huawei to Launch Massive MIMO AAUs at MWC
Huawei will also take the opportunity of the Mobile World Congress to launch a full series of Massive MIMO active antenna units (AAU). The 4G network products are designed to be 5G ready to be used for the next 10 years.
The AAU is a 3D-MIMO product with ultra-large capacity, which provides 200 MHz bandwidth capability. This AAU can achieve a peak rate of 10 Gbps per cell, meeting the large-capacity service demands in the future.
In 2016, Huawei worked with SoftBank to test TDD Massive MIMO and multi-carrier aggregation using the 40 MHz bandwidth on the 3.5 GHz band, achieving a downlink throughput of more than 1 Gbps.
Lab Demo Achieves 2 Gbps Speeds with 4X4 MIMO
4X4MIMO will also figure prominently in a demonstration, involving Telstra, Ericsson, NETGEAR and Qualcomm Technologies, at the Mobile World Congress. The technology recently hit 4G speeds of 2 Gbps in lab demonstration, which used Ericsson’s Baseband 6630, Radio 4415 and Gigabit LTE network software.
Five 20 MHz LTE carriers were aggregated across three different frequency bands with each carrier using 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM technologies. Bands 1, 3 and 7 were aggregated using a NETGEAR Nighthawk mobile router equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE modem, a Category 20 LTE modem.
Ericsson, Telstra, Qualcomm Technologies and NETGEAR demonstrated 1 Gbps speeds in November 2015 and the first commercial Gigabit LTE network launch in January 2017.