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China Unicom and Huawei complete first FDD Massive MIMO field verification

China Unicom v2

© Huawei

  • Trial used 20MHz of spectrum with a commercial FDD LTE terminal
  • average mobile device data throughput rate increased by up to 87Mbit/s
  • Peak network data speed reached 697.3Mbit/s

Huawei and China Unicom have completed field verification of what they say is the industry's first FDD-based Massive MIMO technology, using an existing two-antenna receiving terminal operating with 20MHz of spectrum to achieve a (very precise) peak network data speed of 697.3Mbit/s, which is almost five times that of traditional FDD LTE. The trial was asynchronous, with peak average transmit throughput reaching 1.8Mbit/s.

Massive MIMO is becoming a key element of next generation cellular systems, with LTE Advanced Pro and future 5G architectures, as it improves spectrum efficiency. With spectrum still a relatively scarce and expensive commodity, and the number of connected devices increasing by the minute, operators are obviously looking at implementing whatever solutions they can to maximise performance.

“Our goal is to bring considerable commercial value to operators through innovative technology,” said Cao Ming, President of Huawei’s FDD Product Line. “This successful field verification between Huawei and China Unicom, once again demonstrated the innovative capability of Huawei’s 4.5G Evolution technology. Huawei's Massive MIMO product has the ability to evolve to 5G to protect the operator's investment in the coming 5G era.”

Massive MIMO solutions require large-scale antenna array elements and RF transceiver channels. Ideally, the RF and antenna elements need to be integrated to reduce engineering complexity and improve system reliability, which is the approach taken by Huawei with its AUU integrated active antenna.

These new systems also use a large array of antennas to provide precise control of beam width and angle in both vertical and horizontal directions, enabling 3D user-level beamforming. The goal is therefore to improve network coverage and reduce overall network interference. The other component is the support for multi-user (MU) MIMO. The use of 3D user beamforming, accurate channel estimation and user algorithms, enables Massive MIMO to support multiple terminals to simultaneously reuse the same spectrum resources.

The joint field test between China Unicom and Huawei, based on 20MHz spectrum and using an FDD LTE commercial terminal, demonstrated that the average mobile device data throughput rate increased by up to 87Mbit/s. 3GPP Release 10 defines an eight port multi-antenna technology in TM9 mode, Release 13 defines a 16 port multi-antenna technology and Release 14 defines 32-port multi-antenna technology. Hence the spectral efficiency of Massive MIMO continues to improve. 

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