China’s ZTE has announced a ‘world first’ by completing a pre-commercial field test of multi-user and multi-stream transmission on a Massive MIMO (multiple input multiple output) base station, ‘setting new records in single-carrier transmission capacity and spectral efficiency.’ Using ZTE’s proprietary ‘pre5G’ multi-user/multi-stream spatial multiplexing technology, with user handsets based on existing 4G standards, the company’s Massive MIMO base station demonstrated peak data throughput that is more than three times that of traditional base stations, and average data throughput that exceeds conventional systems by at least five times. ‘Being a pre5G technology, ZTE’s Massive MIMO solution is delivering exponential advances to 4G networks without modifying existing air interfaces, making it possible for carriers to provide a 5G-like user experience on existing 4G handsets in an accelerated timeframe,’ said Xiang Jiying, ZTE’s chief scientist, adding: ‘ZTE successfully overcame the challenge of doing multi-user and multi-stream spatial multiplexing in a scattered-signal environment, clearing the main hurdle in the development of Massive MIMO technology.’ Several ‘major international telecommunications operators’ reportedly indicated they would deepen their collaborations with ZTE after attending the field test, noting the results had ‘exceeded their expectations’.
In another 5G announcement today, Singapore’s Singtel and Sweden’s Ericsson signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on testing technologies for future 5G network deployments. The MoU covers the exploration of potential 5G network standards and likely applications to meet future demand from consumers and industries, while the Singtel/Ericsson venture will specifically study how next-generation mobile platforms can support Singapore’s ‘Smart Nation’ ICT vision. The teams from Singtel and Ericsson will study candidate 5G technology standards including network architecture supporting Massive Machine Type Communications (MTC) and a cloud-based network, with commercial launches envisaged for 2020, the press release added. Ericsson is not the only tech vendor the telco is partnering to explore 5G possibilities, after Singtel also launched a 5G Joint Innovation Programme with China’s Huawei Technologies last November. The Singaporean firm is also a member of the Next Generation Mobile Network (NGMN) Alliance, which is hammering out details of a 5G white paper setting forth parameters such as performance requirements, network architecture, spectrum and intellectual property rights; the NGMN paper will be presented at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in March this year.
In yet more potential 5G-related developments, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) group announced that its Industry Specification Group on millimetre Wave Transmission (ISG mWT) has commenced work developing a set of five specifications:
-an analysis of the maturity and field proven experience of millimetre wave transmission;
-potential applications and use cases of millimetre wave transmission;
-an overview of V-band and E-band worldwide regulations;
-an analysis of V-band street level interference; and
-analysis of the millimetre wave semiconductor Industry technology status and evolution.
Millimetre wave spectrum, in the 30GHz to 300GHz range, offers more available spectrum than in lower bands with larger channel bandwidths granting a fibre like capacity. The spectrum can be made available readily and can be reused easily, and lower licensing costs lead to lower total cost of ownership and lower cost per bit of radio systems, according to the ETSI. Renato Lombardi of Huawei has been elected as the chairman of the Industry Specification Group while Nader Zei of Japanese-backed NEC Europe is vice chairman. Mr Lombardi said: ‘ISG mWT was conceived as an industry wide platform to prepare for large scale usage of millimetre wave spectrum in current and future transmission networks by improving the conditions to make millimetre wave spectrum a suitable and convenient choice for all stakeholders. The ISG aims to be a worldwide initiative with global reach and to address the whole industry: national regulators, standards organisations, telecom operators, product vendors and key component vendors.’