On the streets of Suwon, South Korea, Sprint (NYSE:S) and Samsung Electronics America, Inc. recently tested massive MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) on 2.5 GHz spectrum.
The test represented a real-world application of the new technology, slated to help Sprint dramatically boost LTE Plus wireless capacity and coverage, and offer Gigabit LTE service to its customers.
During field testing in Suwon, Massive MIMO Samsung radios, equipped with vertical and horizontal beam-forming technology, reached peak speeds of 330 Mbps per channel using a 20 MHz channel of 2.5 GHz spectrum. Capacity per channel increased about four times, cell edge performance increased three times, and overall coverage area improved as compared to current radios.
Sprint has deployed 8T8R (8 transmit, 8 receive) radios across its US network, and the purpose of the test was to compare the performance of Massive MIMO radios with 8T8R radios. Sprint, in collaboration with Samsung wrote the test cases and requirements, which included a variety of performance scenarios involving multi-user and non-stationary testing.
Samsung provided the Massive MIMO network infrastructure as well as test network design, operation, data collection and processing. Both companies will use the results in preparation for commercial deployment of Massive MIMO in the US and other markets.
Massive MIMO radios use more antenna elements. For example, 64T64R (64 transmit, 64 receive) uses 128 antenna elements, whereas 2T2R/4T4R/8T8R is used in a typical 4G LTE network today.
These Massive MIMO antennas use advanced horizontal and vertical beamforming technology to focus and transmit cellular signals into targeted locations. This more efficient use of spectrum delivers faster speeds and provides more data capacity to customers in high-traffic locations. When deployed on the network, Massive MIMO can provide all mobile device users with performance improvements, and those with the latest generation of devices with the most antenna elements will see the best performance.
Massive MIMO, a key element of 5G slated to provide high capacity in densely populated urban centers, can enable LTE network performance well beyond 1 Gbps.
Sprint is a communications services company that serves 59.7 million connections as of March 31, 2017. It has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) North America for the past five years.
Headquartered in Ridgefield Park, N.J., Samsung Electronics America, Inc. (SEA), is a recognized innovative leader in consumer electronics, mobile devices and enterprise solutions.