Massive MIMO Map Feb 2018 450

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

Medium: Announced: DT, FT/Orange, BT, Qatar, Verizon USA, T-Mobile Netherlands, Telekom South Africa  

Light blue: Talking: Vodafone England, Vodafone Turkey,
Safaricom Kenya, 

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 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 Bj√∂rnson 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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The Site for Massive 230
dave ask

Massive MIMO is rapidly deploying across the world; Soon, I'll be adding many more countries to the Massive MIMO map. On average, adding 64 or 128 antennas triples the performance of the cell site at moderate cost. Ericsson, Huawei, and ZTE are shipping by the thousands.

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.