Massive MIMO tech in the spotlight as ZTE announces trial, Huawei unveils prototype

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ZTE has announced it carried out a field test of pre-5G massive MIMO technology in partnership with China Mobile, while rival Huawei unveiled its own prototype.

Massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) wireless communications refers to the idea equipping cellular base stations (BSs) with a very large number of antennas. 

ZTE claimed its 3D/massive MIMO solution “exponentially” improved wireless spectrum efficiency, coverage and capacity, and is particularly effective in increasing indoor coverage in tall buildings thanks to higher physical downlink shared channel (PDSCH) performance.

The technology comprises of ZTE’s latest 64-port, 128 antenna 3D equipment powered by its high-performance vector chipset. 

The vendor said it created a “5G-like” experience by accelerating throughput between four and six times.

According to Huang Yuhong, VP of China Mobile Research Institute, the pre-commercial field test was “impressive and exceeded our expectations”.

He added: “[We] will continue to strengthen our partnership with ZTE in the development of 3D/massive MIMO and other 5G technologies.”

Dr Xiang Jiying, CTO of ZTE’s Wireless Division, commented: “As the number of antennas is ten times more, 3D/massive MIMO had appeared to be a distant pipe-dream. However, the test indicates that we are taking a big step forward to realising the new technology using 4G handsets.”

Meanwhile, Huawei introduced its own 128TRX massive MIMO prototype at the 2014 Global Mobile Broadband Forum on Wednesday.

It said that by providing higher resolution in angular domain, the prototype supported 3D user location distribution to enable improved spectrum efficiency and system capacity.

Earlier this month, ZTE’s Dr Xiang claimed pre-5G technology would help bridge the gap between current LTE technology and future telco standards.

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