British mobile operator Vodafone UK and Chinese vendor Huawei have announced that they are conducting technical trials of ‘4.5G (TDD+) with LTE TDD’ technology, with a view to significantly increasing the capacity and efficiency of Vodafone’s 4G network in urban areas, while laying the foundations for the introduction of 5G by 2020. According to a Huawei press release, eight-way transmit and receive (8T8R) and multi-user beam-forming are being tested in Manchester, with the technologies expected to support the anticipated rapid growth in video and virtual reality applications.
The trial involves 4×4 versions of Mulitple-Input-Mulitiple-Output (MIMO) in order to deliver mobile data services at much greater speeds and with improved accuracy. The 8T8R beamforming concentrates the user-specific energy and multiplexes the resource between different users, thus increasing the average as well as the edge performance. By combining MIMO with beam-forming, meanwhile, it has been claimed that Vodafone UK will be better able to focus customers’ mobile signals in specific directions to ensure the best user experience and minimise interference during peak times in highly populated areas. As a result, more signal reaches more subscribers particularly at the edge of the base station coverage, in order to provide higher average speeds across the network.
Commenting on the trials, Veni Shone, Huawei’s LTE TDD President, said: ‘This joint innovation with Vodafone has proved that 4.5G (TDD+) is a good solution to release the potential of TDD spectrum and will help Vodafone build the most advanced LTE network available. The newly deployed LTE TDD network immediately serves the LTE TDD capable commercial smartphones and successfully carries significant live network traffic. This trial proves that LTE TDD with the most recent technologies can be naturally converged with LTE FDD and improve the overall experience enjoyed by all users on the network.’