Massive MIMO Rocks      Back to

Massive MIMO Feb 2018

Dark blue: Building actively: China Mobile, Softbank Japan, Bharti India, 
Jio India, Vodafone India, Singtel, Globe Phillippines

Dark green: Announced: DT, FT/Orange, BT, Sprint USA, Qatar, Verizon USA, T-Mobile Netherlands, 

Light green: Talking: Vodafone England, Vodafone Turkey,
Safaricom Kenya, Telekom South Africa   


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.

It will be easier when the spectrum is contiguous rather than scattered. Most large telcos have a scattered 60-80 MHz coming available. Few have a large contiguous swath, however. Mexico is the most prominent. 

Mexico's new Red Compartida network will have 90 MHZ. 4x4 MIMO with that much spectrum will more than handle any likely demand. It should be one of the most robust networks in the world. "The whole world is watching Mexico," François Rancy told me. The $7B wholesale only, government-sponsored, privately owned network is the largest new network in the world. They are well-funded by Morgan Stanley, the World Bank, the Chinese, & wealthy Mexicans. I'm guessing they will not deploy much Massive initially, although suppliers Huawei and Ericsson have equipment available. 

Some of the 100's of LTE academic publications have ideas that will raise Massive speeds 2-4x, I believe. 




Bristol and Lund once again set new world record in 5G wireless spectrum efficiency

From left to right: Benny Chitambira, Paul Harris, Wael Boukley Hasan, Liang Liu, Joao Vieira, Steffen Malkowsky, Siming Zhang and Mark Beach

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Press release issued: 17 May 2016

A team of 5G engineers from the Universities of Bristol and Lund has once again set a new world record for wireless spectrum efficiency, less than two months after setting the first one.

In an experiment last week [Wednesday 11 May] using 128 base station antennas, the research group managed to serve 22 users, each modulated with 256-QAM, on the same time-frequency resource.  With an identical frame structure they used in the previous experiment, this would equate to a rate of 145.6 bits/s/Hz on a single 20 MHz radio channel.

The team beat its earlier record of 79.4 (bits/s)/Hz for 12 users set in March, and the rate of 71 (bits/s)/Hz that Facebook achieved for 24 users last month with its 96-antenna ARIES array.

Multiple antenna technology, referred to as MIMO, is already used in many Wi-Fi routers and 4G cellular phone systems. The group’s latest achievement with massive MIMO arrays, which are cellular base stations with dozens of antennas deployed at the base station, shows that this technology could deliver ultra-fast data speeds to more smartphones and tablets than ever before.

Industry has said it will require a 1,000-fold increase in capacity in order for 5G to function as anticipated.  Massive MIMO technology is important if increased capacity is to be reached but it is thought that much of the 5G capacity can and will come in the longer term from using 5G technologies such as millimetre-wave (mmWave) and beamforming.

Professor Andrew Nix, Dean of Engineering and Head of the CSN Group, commented: “Unlike at mmWave frequencies, below 6GHz, very little new spectrum is anticipated for 5G services. To meet capacity demands in the microwave bands the only solution is to deploy technologies offering radically enhanced spectral efficiency; hence the global importance of massive MIMO and the significance of smashing through the 100 bits/sec/Hz barrier.”       

In its demonstration conducted in the atrium of Bristol’s Merchant Venturers Building, the team used flexible prototyping platform from National Instruments (NI) based on LabVIEW system design software and PXI hardware.

The hardware behind this demonstration was provided to Bristol University as part ofBristol Is Open, a joint venture with Bristol City Council that aims to become the world’s first Open Programmable City

Spectrum and power efficient wireless communications are core to Bristol University’s Communication Systems and Networks (CSN) Group and the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT in Communications as well as to the Department of Electrical and Information Technology at Lund University.

Liang Liu, Associate Professor with the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University, said: “In addition to investigating spectrum efficiency gains, an initial power control algorithm was tested, users were placed in different locations and use of the equipment over night to obtain calibration data for comparison purposes with the Lund set-up”

Fredrik Tufvesson, Professor of Radio Systems at Lund University, added: “Field trials in different deployment scenarios is needed to validate the concept of massive MIMO and we are looking forward to the future mobility test at both universities”

Ove Edfors, Professor of Radio Systems at Lund University, commented: “A true team work that with great results. Our postgraduate students Joao Vieira and Steffen Malkowsky did a great job together with the Bristol team, Paul Harris, Benny Chitambira Wael Boukley Hasan, Henry Brice, Siming Zhang and our host Mark Beach.”

Mark Beach, Professor of Radio Systems Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Manager of the EPSRC CDT in Communications, explained: “Rapid deployment and experimentation of this scale and complexity was made possible through collaborative efforts of post graduate students and academic staff at both Universities. The results are a true testament of our efforts and a noteworthy contribution towards the evolution of 5G.”

Further information

About the Communication Systems & Networks (CSN) Group
The CSN Group was formed in 1985 to address the research demands of the fixed and wireless communications sectors.  It combines fundamental academic research with a strong level of industrial application. The Group has well-equipped laboratories with state-of-the-art test and measurement equipment and first-class computational facilities. Recently the Group has joined forces with the University’s High Performance Networks (HPN) Group to form the Smart Internet Lab.

About the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Communications
The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Communications is a state-of-the-art environment for training postgraduates to lead innovative research, future product development and exploitation.

The Centre will help to build UK capability in communications engineering by addressing the skills shortage in the sector. It will focus on Future Communications: People, Power and Performance; while communications technology is the enabler, the Centre recognises that it is people who are the creators, consumers and beneficiaries in terms of its broader applications.

About Lund University
Lund University seeks to be a world-class university that works to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition. The University is ranked as one of the top 100 in the world and tackle complex problems and global challenges and work to ensure that knowledge and innovations benefit society. The University has 42,000 students and 7,680 employees and provides education and research in engineering, science, law, social sciences, economics and management, medicine, humanities, theology, fine art, music and drama.

About National Instruments
Since 1976, NI has made it possible for engineers and scientists to solve the world’s greatest engineering challenges with powerful platform-based systems that accelerate productivity and drive rapid innovation. Customers from a wide variety of industries – from healthcare to automotive and from consumer electronics to particle physics – use NI’s integrated hardware and software platform to improve the world we live in.

LabVIEW, National Instruments, NI and are trademarks of National Instruments. Other product and company names listed are trademarks or trade