Italy-based TIM tested full duplex relay technology from U.S. start-up Kumu Networks that is designed to enable the transmission capacity of LTE networks to be doubled from current levels through the use of self-interference cancellation (SIC) techniques.
The mobile operator, which is now known as TIM after a rebranding exercise by Telecom Italia, said it carried out the trial in a live environment in Turin. It has thus become the latest operator to show interest in Kumu Networks' technology: Deutsche Telekom said in September last year that it completed a field trial of in-band full duplex (IBFD) capabilities with Kumu "under realistic network conditions."
Sister publication FierceWireless also reported last week that Kumu has raised $25 million (€23 million) in a Series C round from Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco and Swisscom, as well as returning investors NEA, Khosla Ventures and Third Point Ventures.
Kumu, which was founded in 2012 by a team of Stanford professors and Ph.D. graduates, uses SIC technology that isolates the wireless receiver from the transmitter, eliminating noise and freeing the receiver to receive external signals. The SIC technology enables radios to transmit and receive simultaneously on the same frequency, achieving improved spectral efficiency and boosting network capacity.
TIM also noted that full duplex is recognised at international level "as one of the most important and promising systems to enable the 5G network." Indeed, IBFD communication is defined in the NGMN 5G White Paper as a technology building block for 5G.
Sister publication FierceWireless:Tech reported last year that backers of IBFD say SIC could solve the small cell backhaul problem by allowing an efficient re-use of spectrum normally exclusively used to serve end-users, thus providing the so-called self-backhauled small cell. That would allow network operators to install small cells in places where they normally could not due to missing or expensive backhaul connectivity.
The trial with TIM focused on the testing of a self-backhauled small cell. TIM noted that this solution would allow mobile transmissions in downlink and uplink to travel at the same time, "even if of different intensities, and it is also applicable on the current 4G networks with the use of small cells in areas where there is no traditional backhaul solution available."
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