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.
Farid Firouzbakht, senior vice president, RF Products, CommScope, said, “Our speed in developing this antenna reflects the continued, pressing need wireless operators have for increasing capacity in LTE networks while readying for next generation 5G.”
The CommScope ultra-wideband antenna RRZZ-65B can support one or two antenna arrays in high band, 1427-2690 MHz, as well as low-band range of 694-960 MHz. The RRZZ-65B supports 4T4R operation, meaning four beams of transmit and receive signals, in both the low and high band ranges, as well as frequency division duplex (FDD) and time division duplex (TDD). Operators can combine on one antenna the supplemental downlink band of 1400 MHz as well the primary band. It can also be used in conjunction with external filters to separate different licensed bands as needed, such as the 2300 TDD band, making it easier to customize for specific needs.
CommScope also expects to support 3.5 GHz, a likely 5G frequency band, with this antenna platform in the future.
December 1, 2016 — NTT DoCoMo and Samsung achieved data speeds of 2.5 Gbps in a trial that used a mobile device in a vehicle travelling more than 90 miles an hour. The 5G test, which used 28 GHz band frequencies, proved the feasibility of stable connectivity for 5G mobile devices in fast-moving trains.
The trial, which took place on Nov. 7 at the Fuji Speedway, used massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technologies that incorporate beamforming, which adjusts the beam according to the fast-moving mobile device’s location.
Separately, DoCoMo conducted an outdoor trial with Huawei involving 23 simultaneously connected mobile devices that achieved a cumulative 11.29 Gbps of data throughput and latency below 0.5 milliseconds using the 4.5 GHz frequency band.
The trial combined multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) technology with a precoding algorithm that optimizes signals for maximized performance and also limits inter-user interference.
Going forward, DOCOMO will continue research and development collaboration with world-leading vendors in support of its planned launch of a commercial 5G mobile communications system by 2020.
August 23, 2015 (Sidebar to The Race to 5G, New Standard is Being Set Now)
Since 2009, Nicolas Gross has been applications director at Microwave Vision Group (MVG) in Paris, where he leads the company’s software systems and product development for antenna measurement. He began work at MVG in 2005 as an antenna engineer. In 2007, he headed multiple-probe antenna systems measurement development.
For those of you longing for the go-go days of Project VIP, this may not be it. But in the next five years, AT&T will grow its smalls by up to 90 percent, while macrocells will increase by 10 percent, Krish Prabhu, president, AT&T Labs, and chief technology officer, AT&T, told an audience at the Cohen and Company’s Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, June 2, in New York.
“As we go to enhanced mobile with more bandwidth to the device, small cells will be a key element in the architecture,” he said. “We are looking at it pretty aggressively depending on the market and where small cells make sense.”
AT&T’s spend will shift based on demand, whether it is small cells, new spectrum, new antenna technology, carrier aggregation or sophisticated modulation such as 256 QAM, according to Prabhu.
“The wireless network enhancement never stops, whether it is enhanced mobile broadband or low-latency services for autonomous cars, the wireless network needs to continue to evolve,” he said.
With mobile 5G still many years away, the majority of pre-standard 5G deployments will be in fixed-wireless, according to Prabhu. Besides, he noted the 28 GHz band is only currently allowed by the FCC for fixed wireless use today. AT&T currently serves rural areas with fixed LTE wireless and does not own any 28 GHz, 38 GHz and 39 GHz spectrum but will be in the market for it in the future.
Before 5G-type speeds will be introduced — pre-standard, millimeter-wave, fixed-wireless technology must be proven out and the marketplace economics model must make sense.
“Most of what you will see over the next few years will be fixed wireless applications,” he said. “The question is whether market economics will create the demand for the 5G millimeter wave service, which will provide gigabit-type throughput.”
5G fixed wireless has been helped by advances in smart antenna technology, such as massive MIMO and beamforming and beam steering, and smart receivers, according to Prabhu.
“Massive MIMO works very well at higher frequencies, because the wavelengths are so small you can tap into a lot of antenna elements,” he said. “There is the belief some of the early impediments in field propagation can be overcome with smarter receivers that can reconstruct the signal that has been degraded. Time will tell if the technology is there and there is market demand.”
Unlicensed spectrum, carrier aggregation and millimeter wave frequencies will all play well together in small technology, Prabhu said.
“Unlicensed spectrum has power limitations, and millimeter wave propagation gets very bad after several hundred meters, so they both must be close to the user,” he said. “People are talking about using carrier aggregating to combine unlicensed spectrum with licensed spectrum to get more bandwidth.”