Kumu Networks is showing that the advantage of theoretical advantages of self-interference cancellation (SIC) are indeed feasible, having just wrapped up its latest field trial with Germany's Deutsche Telekom as part of its 5G:haus.
Kumu CEO David Cutrer said the company is encouraged by the results and the ability to accelerate the commercialization of the technology for near-term applications, with the goal of realizing its full potential in a 5G framework.
In-band full duplex communication is defined in the NGMN 5G White Paper as a technology building block for 5G. In the 5G network architecture, it can enable "efficient implementation of new radio features" to achieve greater spectral efficiency and boost network capacity, according to a press release.
Its backers also say it can provide benefits for today's networks. For example, 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.
Deutsche Telekom and Kumu Networks conducted a field trial in Prague, Czech Republic, where they were able to evaluate the capabilities of SIC under realistic conditions. The trial focused on measuring the stability and robustness of the technology in a variety of real-world deployment scenarios. Deutsche Telekom and Kumu made their first public demonstration of the self-backhauled small cell in June of this year at the IWPC conference in Bonn.
According to Kumu, the concept behind its technology is fairly simple. The technology cancels self-interference, or the "unwanted" energy that leaks into a radio's receiver while transmitting. As a result of the cancellation, the receiver hears no noise from its transmitter, freeing it to cleanly receive external signals. A radio using Kumu's self-interference cancellation technology can transmit and receive at the same time on the same frequency.
As Kumu VP of product management Joel Brand told FierceWirelessTech earlier this year, when a normal radio transmits, it makes so much noise, it can't receive the signal from the other end and "it's like trying to listen to a whisper while screaming at the top of your lungs," and that's the case across the spectrum. Kumu puts a device in front of the antenna and cancels the self-interference. At a bare minimum, Kumu says it can double capacity.
Deutsche Telekom announced its 5G:huas innovation laboratory in March, with plans to work with research organizations, startups and tried-and-true vendors as it works on the development and standardization of 5G technology. The company at the time said it would use its European footprint to build up the lab and showcase it in different locations across Europe.
The NGMN Alliance announced the publication of the 5G White Paper, which represents the view of the 24 operator members, at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona.
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