Ooredoo 230Limited customers, speed only occasionally reached. Qatar Airlines is the first to deploy for Ooredoo's > 1 gigabit service, now being offered to selected customers in selected locations. C114, one of China's best tech pubs, is my source for the 1.2 gig speeds, confirmed by four other news publications. That the world leadership has left the U.S. and Europe is a major story, even if the details may be slight puffery.

Over a year ago, I discovered that True in Thailand was one of the first in the world to deploy 4x4 MIMO across the country, matched in 2017 in many other networks. That's just starting to be matched in the U.S. and Europe. Five companies - Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Samsung, and ZTE - are the source of almost all the 4G & 5G networks today. They sell the same gear in Qatar, Myanmar, Berlin, & Chicago. Except for Verizon and 5G mmWave - coming in 2018 - the Western telcos are no longer ahead.

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huawei vivaT-Mobile Netherlands and True Thailand choose 8 antennas for FDD spectrum, joining Kuwait in choosing Huawei gear. 8 antennas will rarely deliver twice the throughput of four antennas but will often deliver a 50% increase in capacity. 32/64 antenna Massive MIMO has been chosen by BT, DT, & FT but that is in higher frequencies running TDD.

32 antennas for 700 MHz spectrum would be too large to be practical most places. 256 antennas at mmWave frequencies are the size of a large chip and can go almost anywhere. 64 antennas at mid-frequencies like 2500 MHz need 1.5 to 3 meters, practical on most towers. Antenna size goes up with lower frequencies, making 32 antennas at 700 MHz a challenge and often impractical at 1800 MHz. 

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Competition is fierce and spectrum is short, Reliance Jio spent $20B, built one of the best networks in the world, and gained 100M customers in the first year. Mukesh Ambani's aggressive plans for the 4G $20 (refundable) feature phone will probably add 100M more in the next year or so. Hundreds of millions of Indians are still on 2G. Ambani is ready to spend $B+ in subsidies to bring them to Jio 4G. 

Giant Tata is closing their #4 mobile network, putting 10,000 out of work, writing off billions, and selling off cheaply to Bharti.. #5 Reliance Communications, Ambani's brother's company, is likely to follow. They couldn't compete in the price war. Vodafone and Idea, #2 & #3, are merging to stay alive  

#1 Bharti's strategy in response includes a huge build of Massive MIMO, just announced. Danish Khan now reports the other two likely survivors, Jio and Vodafone/Idea, will also do Massive.

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381M customer Bharti Airtel, India's #1, has now turned on Huawei many antenna systems in Bangalore & Kolkata. Early results are doubling and tripling capacity. Bharti's pr, below, claims a 5-7 times improvement. That level of capacity and more will be possible as the software and algorithms improve, but the first generation is getting about half that. 

China Mobile and Softbank pioneered M MIMO only a year ago. Now, the announcements are coming every week. Vodafone in England, Deutsche Te!ekom in the Netherlands and Hutchinson in Austria are officially moving from trials to commercial service. Sprint in the U.S. has a large network installed just waiting for Ericsson's final product release.

Bharti needs to keep up with Jio, the fastest growing network in the world.

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M MIMO from UnicampTom Marzetta and other researchers have been very skeptical about the performance of Massive MIMO using FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) rather than TDD (Time Division.) Massive MIMO requires regular and robust reporting from the cell phone, which they feared would be impractical with FDD. Huawei, ZTE, and now Ericsson have done field trials they believe prove otherwise.  

In trial with T-Mobile. Nishant Batra is confident many antenna Massive MIMO will add to performance in FDD frequencies as well as the TDD frequencies beginning to widely deploy. While the performance gain may not be exponential, directing the beam significantly increases capacity even in FDD systems. 

Batra expects 3 carrier, 60 MHz TDD Massive MIMO in early 2018. He didn't provide performance estimates, but that class of technology should provide double or better the effective capacity of the "Gigabit LTE" now deploying.
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Achievable: Drastic drop in bad cell phone connections. Massive MIMO - 64 or more antennas - can dramatically improve edge performance by "beam forming," directing the signal where the users are. Done well, it can dramatically improve the performance where it's weaker. Hidebumi Kitahara of Softbank told me that is working very well and will get better as software improves. See "I am crazy about Massive MIMO," Kitihara of Softbank ordering 1,000's of Massive MIMO bases

Robert Clark of Light Reading reports Kitahara intends to use the capacity to improve performance for all users. "We don't care about peak throughput. We want to minimize the low throughput, which is between 1 Mbit/s and 5 Mbit/s." Clark adds, "At those speeds, the network will struggle to deliver a good video experience. Prior to deployment, around 20% of all users were experiencing throughput below 2 Mbit/s." Kitahara reveals, "only a few percent," now receive low speeds.

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MM depends on receiving back from the phone information on the channel. That uplink information has practical limitations on many cases, including from interference. In this paper, Bjornson, Hoydis, and Sanguinetti take on the assumption that there is a theoretical limit of spectral efficiency. Beginning with Marzetta, potential problems have been recognized.

"The pilot resources are limited by the channel coherence time, the same pilots must be reused in multiple cells. This leads to pilot contamination. ... it appears that pilot contamination is a fundamental issue that manifests a finite SE limit, except in some impractical special cases."

In 30 page dense with mathematics, the authors claim, "We will show in this paper that this is basically a misunderstanding, 

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Massive MIMO 20 MHzTDD Massive MIMO is already going wide at SoftBank Japan, yielding a 4x-10x capacity improvement on a single channel. Eric Zhao believes Massive MIMO is often the right choice where you need high capacity. Zhao finds early 32 antenna system averaging 450% more capacity in a single band. Many leading engineers agree MM is the way to go.

Worldwide, chief technologists are enthusiastic about Massive MIMO. At Huawei's MBB Forum, Hidebumi Kitahara of SoftBank confirmed the reported results, especially in crowded cells. Later in the day, Huang Yuhong of China Mobile also reported success. Her performance improvement estimates were "only" 3x, but it's early days for the technology.  At SoftBank owned Sprint, Günther Ottendorfer reports a 10x improvement. Sanyogita Shamsunder of Verizon a year ago told me, "We must have massive MIMO." Nasser Al Nasser of Saudi Telecom in the release below reports a 6x improvement.

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4x4 taking the world 200Huawei reports 30+ networks in 2016. Networks have already been deployed from Bangkok and Jakarta, to Riyadh and Istanbul, Paris, Berlin and Vancouver. T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T in the U.S. are confirmed for 2017. Eric Zhao of Huawei believes the time has come where 4x4 should be the standard choice and Massive MIMO is right for hotspots. He predicts 100+ four antenna networks by the end of 2017. 

4T4R (four transmit and four receive,) three or four carriers aggregated (60-80 MHz,) and 256 QAM signaling combine for close to a gigabit- Gig LTE. That's the hottest trend of 2017 and about 5x more than early LTE.  

Christopher Hopcraft, Chief Technology Officer of fast-growing TRUE in Thailand, has deployed 4x4 across most of the network in his country with a population slightly higher than France or England.

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FDD MIMO test data"TDD (Time Division) Massive MIMO represents the only effective implementation of Massive MIMO at the frequency bands under consideration."!? So says Professor Erik Larssen, a leading researcher at Linkoping University in Sweden. Larsson blogged the controversial paper on April 4, the day after it was published at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1704.00623.pdf. The blog and the abstract of the paper is below. 

On the other hand, China Telecom, China Unicom, Huawei, and ZTE have announced successful trials of FDD (Frequency Division) Massive MIMO. A joint press release by China Telecom and ZTE asserts the opposite: "The FDD Massive MIMO solution is predictable to be deployed in China Telecom in 2017." Obviously, I'm not qualified to judge engineers of that quality when they disagree. I'll do my best to explain the issues and direct you back to the principals. 

The primary issue, as I understand it, is whether FDD overhead is inevitably too high for FDD to be practical. With line of sight (LOS), the two techniques appear to have similar results. Without decent Line of Sight. the new paper reports a significant difference.  

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China Unicom MIMO Test"The commercial deployment of FDD - Frequency Domain - Massive MIMO is expected in 2017, including at China Telecom." (All the MM deployed today is TDD - Time Division.) That comment by ZTE is based on tests with China Telecom and China Unicom, both world class telcos. Huawei and ZTE are both shipping TDD gear. ZTE is a top-5 telecom manufacturer. Huawei has grown so much their sales totals and research budget are now more than Ericsson and Nokia combined.

Backing like this is highly credible. The joint press releases are below. I'm always skeptical until I have results from substantial field deployments, but wouldn't have doubted this except for work by Emil Bjornson, Erik Larsson, and Tom Marzetta. Marzetta invented Massive MIMO; Larsson & Bjornson are respected Swedish Professors. 

More than half the spectrum in use is FDD - Frequency Division. Massive MIMO systems in the field today use TDD - Time Division.

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Bristol Lund teamBristol and Lund showed what's possible in spectrum below 6 GHz, rather than millimeter wave (below.) That was in May, 2016. In 2017 as I write, production Massive MIMO systems are getting 3x-10 more capacity, a remarkable return for a relatively modest investment. Lund Professor Emil Björnson believes, "20x-40x improvements in spectral efficiency over IMT Advanced are what to expect from Massive MIMO."

Peak speeds in MM shipping systems for 20 MHz typically are > 400 megabits. The universities, working with National Instruments, achieved 145.6 bits/s/Hz on a single 20 MHz radio channel.  Today's single channel LTE systems get 2-4 bits/s/Hz, a small fraction of what Massive can do.

Most systems building today use 60-80 MHz (4 bands.) That would allow speeds of well over a gigabit with multi-band Massive. As far as I know, no one has reported field results for more than 20 MHz on Massive. That should come shortly.

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Ten myths one critical question 200Only Massive MIMO in TDD spectrum has gone beyond testing but China Telecom, Sprint, Huawei, and ZTE are confident commercial FDD products are close.  Their press releases about FDD tests are enthusiastic. However, systems based on TDD (Time-division duplexing,) are deploying by the hundreds and soon by the thousands, but FDD (Frequency-Division duplexing) systems are just in early testing. The choice between FDD and TDD is driven by spectrum availability. The majority of spectrum in use is FDD.

Massive MIMO requires constantly updated Customer State Information (CSI.) The cell needs constantly updated receiver location and capability to steer the many antennas. The overhead is considerable, possibly too high to use FDD in many places. FDD systems appear to have lower capacity but there is almost no data from the field. 

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huawei viva4x4 MIMO is sweeping the world and 64 antennas Massive MIMO is starting to deploy by the thousand. Huawei also offers a middle ground: Eight antennas.  They work with ordinary phones that only have two antennas. That's a big advantage since phones with four antennas are just hitting the market and won't be common for several years.

The eight antenna improvement over 2x2 is "almost double" according to Zarrar Khan, CTO of Kuwait VIVA, a rapidly growing telco controlled by Saudi Telecom. It offers significantly more capacity than 4x4 rigs. In comparison, Huawei reports 4x4 testing by MTN, the South African giant, improves downlink improvement of 74% and uplink 39%.

Important caveat: MIMO results are drastically different depending on the terrain. 

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Massive MIMO is the next great step in mobile networks. Huang Yuhong of China Mobile and Hidebumi Kitahara of SoftBank are deploying hundreds of nodes and reporting performance improvements of 2X to 10X. Sprint in the U.S. and 3 in Austria are firmly committed. Gig LTE - 4x4 MIMO, 3/4 band aggregation, and 256 QAM is spreading rapidly in 2017; the next step will be the 64+ antennas and beamforming of Massive MIMO, some at millimeter wave. I had a chance to ask some experts a few questions so put together these. Others welcome.

in 2018-2019, what's a smart Massive MIMO deployment strategy for a network with growing traffic? 

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OttendorferSome places will only be 2-5X. With hundreds and soon thousands of systems in Japan and China, there's no doubt the technology works. SoftBank and China Mobile were first in the world to deploy, Now, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon are discussing when, not whether. Since Sprint is owned by SoftBank, it was easy to predict they would join in. Mike Dano at Fierce had this story a month ago; now Ottendorfer has filled in the details.

"Massive MIMO – massive volumes of input and output streams – might sound like geek talk – it’s really just the ability with massive computing power to add massive numbers of antennas elements in the antennas on our cell sites. And 3D beamforming supported by Massive MIMO is simply more cell signals moving in both horizontal and vertical directions."

Gig LTE & Massive MIMO will raise capacity on U.S. networks at least 4X and more likely 7-15X in the next few years.

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Blue Danube antenna 200Field trials underway. mmWave is exciting, drawing headlines, and certainly will be crucial one day. Massive MIMO is here today, deploying by the thousands at China Mobile and Softbank Japan. Verizon's Shamsundar told me last year, "We must have Massive MIMO." The early generation of M-MIMO and mmWave are showing 3X to 5X performance improvements. 50X improvements will be possible, although no one believes that other than a few engineers.

Now, AT&T has confirmed they are in field trials. AT&T has invested in Blue Danube, whose 96 antenna BeamCraft 500, right, is about 5 feet tall. It produced a 2X to 5X improvement in a selected high traffic area. These results are yet more proof of the potency of Massive MIMO. ZTE and Huawei are seeing 3X to 10X improvements from full Massive MIMO systems at Softbank and China Mobile. With eight antennas, Huawei is delivering 1.5X in Kuwait. 

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Austria's Mozart 200"We are planning commercial deployment of Massive MIMO sometime in 2017 (we cannot communicate definite dates yet)." Tom Tesch, Hutchison Drei Austria. Three years ago, Stanford Professor Paulraj told me Massive MIMO was going to produce an enormous capacity boost. It's now coming out of the labs. Every network architect in the world is watching the Massive MIMO at Softbank in Japan and China Mobile. They are getting between 3X and 10X more capacity in the same amount of spectrum and are ordering thousands of systems. I've received so many reports of "tests" I ignore them. I'm now getting committed builds, including Sprint in the U.S.

The press release said "tests" but company spokesman Tesch confirmed to me the decision is made to deploy.

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Marzetta book 180This newly published book belongs close at hand for every engineer in advanced wireless. Marzetta invented it at Bell Labs, so I expected a fine book. Marzetta and co-authors Larsson, Yang, and Ngo did an extraordinary job. The book is admirably clear, short, and definitive. They answer the key questions: what it is, why it works, and how to design the systems. The last chapter reviews the problems still to be solved. It's only 160 pages (and 50 more in appendices) but all the main topics are addressed. For depth on a particular topic, the authors point you to the original research. The book is written for engineers; some parts are hard going for a layman. 

The Resources list at the end references the seminal works by Paulraj, Foschini, Alamouti, Goldsmith, and the authors, as well as the 150 other works that have defined the field.

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4x4 256 Qam 180Just a few consumer tests but they look good. Gig wireless (shared) is behind schedule; Telstra in Australia and SKT in Korea thought they would have it for customers before the end of 2016 but they haven't made it by Xmas. Pieces of the necessary technology are deploying widely. T-Mobile in many places is using four antenna MIMO and 256 QAM advanced coding. They are not bonding 4 channels, which would take peaks to around a gigabit. Sprint is widely bonding three channels and will go to four channels (80 MHz.)

40-50 megabits download (right), two or there times more that without those two improvements (left.) Larger picture below. That's much less than the 200-300 megabits peak, shared, from 20 MHz at the cell tower. Few users get the full 200+ most of the time. However, many will get much higher speeds than they are today. 

Most users will not get close to the peak speed.

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Massive MIMO Softbank by Jennie Bourne5G is here. China Mobile and Softbank plan thousands of sites. At Huawei's remarkable Tokyo Mobile BBF, both Softbank Japan and China Mobile showed enthusiasm. These are the first large moves in 5G, pulling Massive MIMO at least one year ahead of high-frequency millimeter wave. I believe my report  was the first in the West. I have since learned that Huawei, as well as ZTE, provided equipment.

Gear that triples capacity (or better) at modest cost is now in production from both Huawei and ZTE. Softbank has 100 base stations up and running. They are mostly in Tokyo but also in several other cities. China Mobile has working systems in two cities.  

Their early reports are that 128 antenna Massive MIMO today increases capacity 3X to 10X. Expect considerably better results over time. MIMO inventor Paulraj of Stanford two decades ago realized that MIMO could enormously increase capacity in a given amount of spectrum. Remarkably, the additional throughput requires minimal additional power.

Respected engineers - Henry Samueli, Andrea Goldsmith, Vint Cerf - two years ago were comfortable with predictions that wireless capacity would soon increase 50X. MIMO is crucial to that goal.

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 128 antennas, 6X-10X improvement in throughput to ?1.5 gigabits. The fearless Masayoshi Son wants to change the world again, this time by launching 5G. They have deployed 100 cell sites in 43 cities, with many in Tokyo. He may be a year ahead of anyone else. Masa-san wasn't patient enough to wait. (I'm mostly working in Google translation from the Japanese, included below.)

Softbank subsidiary Wireless City Networks is taking charge. They may be using the ZTE 128 antenna unit demoed last year. Cell siting is particularly difficult in Japan and MIMO is the best way to get much more out of your existing network and spectrum. On the other hand, Softbank controlled Sprint has 120 MHz of unused spectrum. Sprint's logical path forward begins with carrier aggregation putting that spectrum to use.

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Tom Marzetta of Bell Labs has been called the "Father of Massive MIMO." His 2010 paper, Noncooperative Cellular Wireless with Unlimited Numbers of Base Station Antennas, has been cited over 1700 times. He and Bell Labs colleague Gerry Foschini have been working on MIMO since the 1990's and made many contributions. For those who want to understand in depth, I've included the abstract of that paper and others below. 

In 2014, Tom told me he thought it would take several more years for practical systems. Masayoshi Son of Softbank was unwilling to wait and launched the first commercial deployment in September, 2016. Softbank is installing 100 systems across 43 cities in Japan. Softbank's early results, from five cities, show a 5X to 10X improvement in the same spectrum. They use 128 antennas. Some of the antennas are used for "beamforming," which is proving crucial for deployments.  Many top engineers expect a 50X improvement from MIMO in the coming years. Remarkably, the increased performance does not require significantly more power. 

Marzetta writes, "Massive MIMO is the most promising technology available to address the ever increasing demand for wireless throughput:

• Orders of magnitude spectral efficiency gains over LTE - large numbers of users communicate simultaneously over entire allotted spectrum through elementary multiplexing signal processing
• Uniformly excellent service throughout the cell - regardless of location relative to base station
• Drastically reduced radiated power
• Simple and scalable design - employs measured channel characteristics rather than assumed channel characteristics
• Naturally green technology - superior energy efficiency

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PaulrajTom Keathley of AT&T approves. No one believed Arogyaswami Paulraj in the 1990's when he claimed MIMO (his invention) would one day lead to a 100x improvement in wireless capacity. That day is now close, with Ericsson making the first announcement of commercial Massive MIMO. 

"We must have MU-MIMO," Sanyogita Shamsunder of Verizon said this spring. "Massive-MIMO, also known as 3D MIMO, is an important milestone in China Mobile's technology roadmap," Huang Yuhong of China Mobile says in the pr below. Keathley adds a comment from AT&T. 

Many of us have seen how well four antennas work in 4x4 Wi-Fi, raising theoretical speeds over a gigabit and real world tests at 500 megabits. Four antenna MIMO is a crucial enabler of gigabit LTE, about to start deploying. Add more antennas and performance continues to improve. See 1000% MU MIMO gain in gigabit tests by Universities, Facebook

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ShamsunderMillimeter wave is exciting but the telcos are putting MIMO multi-antennas on the front burner. Verizon, NTT and other carriers presented MU MIMO as crucial to their plans at the remarkable Brooklyn 5G event. Sanyogita Shamsunder (quoted in title, pictured) leads their 5G program and made clear in her slide that Verizon 5G will be MU MIMO, not just the publicized millimeter wave.

Tom Keathley of AT&T had a similar comment. "The 5G Industry expects Massive MIMO." He noted the importance of "Sub 6 GHz for wide area coverage with improved spectral efficiency." The Bells seem to be reaching a similar conclusion as NTT. Seizo Onoe, NTT CTO, startled last year's Brooklyn 5G Conference by saying that NTT's 5G efforts mostly will be below 6 GHz for years. High frequencies will be important, Onoe told us, but mostly after 2022-2023.

This year, Verizon and other carriers confirmed that MU MIMO, with many antennas, is crucial to their plans. 

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Facebook array 320The Facebook PR will get everyone noticing MU-MIMO. The top wireless engineers yawned. They have known for years that you could get extraordinary results from adding antennas and multiple streams. Bristol used 128 small antennas in about eight feet by four feet for a 12X efficiency gain. Facebook used 96 antennas (pictured) for what they considered a 10X gain. These are very early units. Better software and dedicated processors will take speeds higher; Facebook promises ~40% improvement. (Many details and excellent video below.)

20 MHz of spectrum could deliver a gigabit. Early LTE networks, like AT&T, get ~100 megabits. More recent LTE-A networks in Turkey, the Philippines, and many other countries use 60 MHZ and will get speeds well into the gigabits. 

An important caveat: MIMO works because the signals from each antenna can be separated by how they bounce off walls, etc. That means that the MIMO gain is much less  in some locations. Line of sight is best for today's systems but not ideal for MIMO. These are ideal figures; at the edge of a cell you get much less.

Arogyaswamo Paulraj invented MIMO in 1993. He predicted twenty years ago that you would one day be able to increase efficiency 100X.

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Verizon 2017?: 5-10x Faster 5G M-MIMO

Verizon and Nokia refuse to wait for 2020 for 5G. Massive MIMO promises major speed jumps in the same spectrum. Testing in 2016 for Massive MIMO, beamforming and interference cancellation. Hopes for huge speed boost starting in 2017. Think 64 antennas and 5-10x throughput. Good engineers tell me it's possible but didn't expect it so soon. 

Verizon Ready to Try Massive MIMO and Beamforming

Beginning trials soon would suggest deployment in 2017 if they go well. That's not guaranteed. Lowell McAdam plans "Staying ~two years ahead of competitors in network performance." They are getting ambitious, including going to Alcatel's TWDM PON for 40 gig. "VZ will soon begin market trials of 5G capabilities including 'massive MIMO' (which is when a large number of antennas are packed into a single device) and beam forming (which is when a wireless signal is concentrated on a specific location)."(Paul de Sa) Much more http://bit.ly/5G256Ant

Nokia's Moliin: Massive MIMO/Interference Cancellation is Ready

CTO Hossein Moiin intends to test Antonio Forenza's pCell technology early next year. There have been stadium field trials that went well. Very big improvements are close in wireless. Four world-class engineers were comfortable with the forecast wireless capacity would soon increase 50 times or more. 

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Go WestSuddenly 2017 rather than 2020 looks possible for Massive MIMO and beamforming. Verizon told Wall Street they were close to trials. Nokia next quarter will test Antonio Forenza's pCells, with similar features. Verizon's Lowell McAdam also briefed the street on a plan for "Staying ~two years ahead of competitors in network performance." (Paul de Sa.) They can't reach that goal without pulling up technologies that most thought were five years away.  

"Go Massive" is the conclusion of Robert Heath, at The University of Texas at Austin.

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massive mimo linkopingsHoping for 2017 although almost no one expected this before 2020 and "5G." CEO Lowell McAdams told analysts Verizon plans  "Staying ~two years ahead of competitors in network performance."  Massive MIMO and beamforming deliver "Huge gains in spectral efficiency." Delivered wireless can increase two to ten times over the next few years using arrays of thirty-five to hundreds of antennas. A 10x jump wouldn't surprise any of the researchers. Pulling that far ahead is probably an impossible dream. AT&T has almost caught up with Verizon. 

Until this week, almost everyone thought substantial Massive MIMO deployment unlikely until 2020 and 5G. The excellent Bernstein analyst Paul de Sa was the first to report "VZ will soon begin market trials of 5G capabilities including 'massive MIMO' (which is when a large number of antennas are packed into a single device) and beam forming (which is when a wireless signal is concentrated on a specific location)." I confirmed with a second analyst what was said.

Beginning trials soon would suggest deployment in 2017 if they go well.

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Marzetta Massive10x or 100x more wireless throughput using many antennas. Masayoshi Son at Softbank has just deployed the first commercial Massive MIMO systems. 100 systems, each with 128 antennas, are being deployed in Japan. The early results show 6-10X capacity improvements. Some of the world's best engineers - Henry Samueli, Andrea Goldsmith, Arogyaswami Paulraj, Vint Cerf - expect ultimately MIMO will yield a 50X improvement. (That's not guaranteed, of course.)

Ericsson announced they'd be shipping 64 antenna systems in 2017. Huawei, ZTE, and Facebook have demonstrated 96-128 antenna systems. Each transmitting antenna sends a separate signal. The receivers mostly have two or four antennas. Each signal bounces off walls and other obstacles in a slightly different way, allowing the receivers to separate them. 

Paulraj invented MIMO in 1993 and nearly twenty years ago predicted a 100X improvement in capacity at very little power increase. Many of us have seen a preview of what's possible from WiFi 802.11ac. That uses 4 antennas and triples performance under the right conditions. Add more antennas and enough processing power and almost anything may be achievable. 

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ArtemisVerizon and Nokia are ready to test. Nokia CTO Hossein Moiin intends to test Antonio Forenza's pCell technology early next year. Last year, I wrote extremely skeptically about Artemis/pCell informed by three very respected engineers. CEO Steve Perlman made wildly implausible claims, including that they would deploy across 350 San Francisco rooftops by the end of last year. They haven't been seen.

Moiin is a respected, independent engineer. I have to look again. USC Prof Giuseppe Caire now says "The early trials showed pCell achieving far higher concurrent user capacity than any wireless technology I am aware of." That's very different from his earlier comments (below) and I assume he's been shown something newer. Peter White at Faultline has an important article about semi-secret trials in U.S. sports stadiums. (Paywall.) 

Verizon in a startling move Monday told analysts they would soon test Massive MIMO and beamforming. (pCell is very similar.) These are key "5G" tools that weren't expected until about 2020. 

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dave askFeb 2018 Verizon $20B 5G build is on for adding customers in 2018. Gigabit LTE, 5G Massive MIMO became real in 2017. China, Japan, Korea, and Verizon U.S. 5G are firm, with heavy investment expected 2019-2021. The goal: Closer to the truth. 

Being a reporter is a great job for a geek. I'm not an engineer but I've learned from some of the best, including the primary inventors of DSL, cable modems, MIMO, Massive MIMO, and now 5G mmWave. Since 1999, I've done my best to get closer to the truth about broadband.

Send questions and news to Dave Burstein, Editor. I always want to hear from you, especially if I make a mistake.