Verizon, Qualcomm, and Ericsson collaborate on successful Massive MIMO Trial

Verizon said in a press release that it completed the first successful FDD (Frequency Division Duplexing) massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) trial with a fully compatible customer device thanks to its collaboration with Ericsson and Qualcomm.   The trial included the use of the latest Ericsson massive MIMO software and hardware along with a mobile test device powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with an X20 LTE modem.

According to the aforementioned press release:

Massive MIMO is a key technology component in the evolution towards 5G. It has the potential of greatly improving network capacity and the customer’s experience. To realize the gains, both the network and devices need to support new TM9 [1] functionality which leverages advanced beam forming schemes between the network equipment and the mobile device. This will raise network spectral efficiency and customer speeds.

Note 1.  In 3GPP Release-10 (LTE-Advanced) Transmission Mode 9 (TM9) was introduced.  TM9 is designed to help reduce interference between base stations to maximise signal stability and boost performance. The new TM-9 enables the enhancement of network capabilities and performance with minimum addition of overhead. More information on TM9 is here.

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Qualcomm introduced the 845 Mobile Platform at the Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii in early December.   The trial comes after Verizon and Ericsson deployed massive MIMO on the wireless carrier’s Irvine, Ca network in late October.

“We don’t wait for the future, we build it. And this is another great example of moving the industry forward,” Verizon Chief Network Engineer and Head of Wireless Networks Nicola Palmer said in the release. “Massive MIMO is a critical component of our 4G LTE Advancements and will play an important role in 5G technology that will result in single digit latency and scalability in the billions of connections,” he added.

Joe Glynn, vice president, business development at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. said: “This milestone further demonstrates Qualcomm Technologies’ leadership and commitment to continually bring innovative technologies to consumers to improve their mobile experiences. We look forward to continuing our work with Verizon and Ericsson to push the limits of LTE while ushering in a world of 5G.”

Massive MIMO is an LTE Advanced (4G) technology which has been described as being akin to a set of focused flashlights targeting users rather than a single floodlight. The high number of transmitters enables more possible signal paths and beam forming, which directs the beam from the cell site directly to where the customer is located, dramatically cutting down on interference.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Massive MIMO exploits large antenna arrays to spatially multiplex many terminals.

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Image result for images for massive MIMO

Figure 2. Active Phased Array Antenna (APAA) shown above right in 5G base stations. The combination of analog beam forming via APAA and digital MIMO signal processing for the multi-beam multiplexing is believed to be one of the promising approaches for reducing the complexity and power consumption of 5G base stations.  However, that has yet to be proven in a commercial 5G deployment.

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In October, Verizon and Ericsson announced they had achieved a milestone in LTE Advanced technologies by completing their first deployment of FDD massive MIMO on Verizon’s wireless network in Irvine, California. Massive MIMO improves both spectral and energy efficiency, increasing network capacity for currently compatible devices in the market. Customers experience higher and more consistent speeds when using apps and uploading and downloading files.

Ericsson’s massive MIMO portfolio is expected to be available next year, putting it in line with commercial smartphones with the TM9 compatible chipset, which are expected to hit the market in the first half of 2018.

The past year saw a lot of talk around massive MIMO, which is considered by many to be a foundation technology for 5G. At the inaugural Mobile World Congress Americas in September, Sprint and Ericsson unveiled results of 2.5 GHz massive MIMO field tests conducted in Seattle and Plano, Texas, using Sprint’s spectrum and Ericsson’s radios.

  • In early September, Ericsson said massive MIMO was part of a trial with T-Mobile US using mid-band FDD spectrum on three sites in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • In February, Blue Danube Systems announced the completion of commercial trials using its massive MIMO technology in licensed FDD LTE spectrum with AT&T and Shentel.

Niklas Heuveldop, Head of Market Area North America, Ericsson, said: “Advanced Antenna Systems and Massive MIMO are key technology enablers for 5G, and 4G LTE service providers and end users will also benefit from the superior capacity and network performance these technologies enable. The latest trial is another important step in the collaboration we have with Verizon and Qualcomm Technologies to further evolve 4G and prepare the network for 5G.”

The Ericsson Massive MIMO portfolio is expected to be available next year, putting it well in line with commercial smartphones with the TM9 compatible chipset, which are expected to hit the markets in the first half of 2018.

References:

https://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-qualcomm-and-ericsson-collaborate-trial-latest-massive-mimo-advancements-path-5g

Verizon, Ericsson Team Up for Massive MIMO Deployment

http://www.samsung.com/global/business-images/insights/2017/Massive-MIMO-Comes-of-Age-0.pdf

http://www.ni.com/white-paper/52382/en/

http://techblog.comsoc.org/2017/10/17/mimo-starting-to-realize-its-full-potential-in-lte-networks/

http://techblog.comsoc.org/2015/06/30/separating-5g-fact-from-hype-is-massive-mimo-a-solution-or-dead-end/

https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/Workshops-and-Seminars/qos/201707/Documents/Rami%20Alnatsheh-%20Orchestrating%20the%20Performance%20of%205G.pdf

https://www.everythingrf.com/News/details/2639-zte-completes-massive-mimo-tests-for-imt-2020-5g

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1612.03993.pdf

http://www.analog.com/en/analog-dialogue/articles/massive-mimo-and-beamforming-the-signal-processing-behind-the-5g-buzzwords.html

 

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