From concept to commercial reality: Pre5G Massive MIMO

ZTE
06 Mar 2017
00:00

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What progress has Pre5G Massive MIMO made within a year since ZTE won the “Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough” award and “CTO’s Choice award” at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February 2016? Let’s take a look at the highlights of Pre5G Massive MIMO in actual commercial environments.

Beijing: Pre5G Massive MIMO enables more users to stay online

Commercial trials of Pre5G Massive MIMO have been rolled out in 38 cities of 29 provinces in China, with Beijing and Zhejiang at the top in terms of the number of sites. Beijing has completed a series of Pre5G validations, verifying that Pre5G Massive MIMO can improve site traffic and the average number of RRC users in the commercial environment. The experimental results show that in the areas where Pre5G Massive MIMO is deployed, the average number of RRC connected users is increased by 24 to 50, the average daily traffic is increased by 28 GB to 35 GB and the daily downstream traffic of each cell is increased by 53 percent to 82 percent.

On the one hand, Pre5G Massive MIMO alleviates network pressure and reduces the full load probability in busy hours by 30 percent. On the other hand, Pre5G Massive MIMO has good network performance, so the service frequency, rate, and duration are increased.

Zhejiang: The most comprehensive commercial performance evaluation of Pre5G Massive MIMO

In 2016, Zhejiang branch of China Mobile and ZTE verified five topics of Pre5G Massive MIMO in real commercial scenarios, including 3D coverage verification, pressure tests for commercial large traffic, air separation performance verification for commercial large traffic, same-frequency networking interference verification and strategic research on networking interoperation.

  • In terms of vertical depth coverage, 3D coverage verification shows that compared to macro stations on the same site, Pre5G Massive MIMO gains more at the middle and far points. The download rate gain is 239% and upload rate gain is 284%. As it moves towards the cell edge, these gains become greater. With the excellent weak-field coverage capability, Pre5G Massive MIMO is particularly well-suited to the vertical coverage of tall buildings.
  • In terms of hotspot coverage, the pressure test and air separation performance verification for commercial large traffic indicate that when the RRC connected users in a Pre5G Massive MIMO cell reaches 500, the answer-seizure ratio and switch success ratio are higher than 99%. Meanwhile, the air separation performance of Pre5G Massive MIMO is excellent. The upstream 4-flow air separation ratio reaches 76.22% with the throughput of 26.25 Mbps, and the downstream 7- or 8-flow ratio is nearly 70% with a throughput of 231.6 Mbps. The tests show that Pre5G Massive MIMO is advantageous for areas with a dense user-base and heavy traffic.
  • In terms of networking, same-frequency networking interference verification and strategic research on networking interoperation indicate that Pre5G Massive MIMO base stations can inherit the commercial parameters of existing networks and offload traffic. Compared with a normal 4G site, the service beam of a Pre5G Massive MIMO site is narrower, so its same-frequency interference is much smaller than that in a macro station cell.

Overseas: Pre5G Massive MIMO ushers in 5G projects

Many international operators foresee the future trend of traffic growth. They made a strategy of investing in the 5G-oriented mainstream technologies in advance, so as to seize the initiative.

Softbank has reportedly launched 5G project commercial services at 100 Massive MIMO base stations in 43 cities nationwide since September 2016, using it to introduce a 20GB package, ushering in the large data allocation era in Japan. SoftBank asserts it was the first operator in the world to put Massive MIMO technology into commercial use. At the beginning of 2016, Softbank and ZTE cooperated on Pre5G Massive MIMO products, and they took a commercial test with Softbank in the first half of 2016. The test results proved that the performance of Pre5G Massive MIMO in key metrics such as throughput, mobility and commercial KPIs meet Softbank’s requirements. Therefore, Pre5G Massive MIMO relieves the capacity pressure on traditional networks in dense urban areas in Japan.

In addition to Japan, Pre5G Massive MIMO is favored in other Asian markets and the European market. For instance, Orange, China Mobile, and ZTE have conducted three-party cooperation on Pre5G Massive MIMO. A1 Telekom Austria chose Pre5G Massive MIMO to guarantee its largest ski event. What’s more, Pre5G Massive MIMO trials are blooming in Austria, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Spain, Saudi Arabia and other countries.

Outlook: Pre5G Massive MIMO 2.0 will lead the Gbps-era

On September 20, 2016, ZTE’s Pre5G Massive MIMO 2.0 won the “Most Competitive Technology” award at the PT/EXPO COMM CHINA 2016. Pre5G Massive MIMO 2.0 supports multiple frequency bands and adapts to the mainstream TDD frequency band. With a small size, it fits into the BBU+AAU architecture and is conducive to 5G evolution. It also supports multicarrier CA to meet operators' high capacity requirements. Through 16-flow transmission, it enables the peak traffic rate of a site to exceed 1 Gbps. Pre5G Massive MIMO 2.0 is expected to be put into large-scale commercial use worldwide in 2017.

Conclusion

Pre5G Massive MIMO focuses on high-end markets, aiming at balancing the surge in traffic demand and limited spectrum resources that operators in the developed market are facing. It not only enhances the spectrum efficiency of each site but also is compatible with existing 4G terminals. Pre5G Massive MIMO puts the future at operators’ fingertips.

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