Samsung conducting Massive MIMO demo with Sprint at MWCA

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Samsung and Sprint are building on their previous tests of the technology earlier this year in Suwon, South Korea.

Sprint and Samsung Electronics America are continuing their collaboration on Massive MIMO, with a demonstration at Samsung’s booth during Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA) in San Francisco this week.

Massive MIMO promises to deliver faster connection speeds and more data capacity in high-traffic locations without using any additional spectrum.

Earlier this year, the two collaborated on Massive MIMO on the busy streets of Suwon, South Korea, where they were able to access Samsung’s heavy R&D presence in the region. Sprint reported getting peak speeds of 330 Mbps per channel using a 20 MHz channel at 2.5 GHz. Capacity per channel increased about four times.

With its latest demonstration at MWCA, Samsung is showcasing its roadmap for advancing the commercial development of a 64T/64R solution, according to Alok Shah, vice president of Strategy, Business Development and Marketing in the Networks Division of Samsung Electronics America.

The demonstration also shows their commitment to LTE Advanced technologies and 5G cellular networks through Massive MIMO hardware, Shah noted in a blog post. The demo is designed to highlight the latest milestones attainable with this technology, including the increase in cell peak throughput by up to 8 times and average cell throughput by over 3 times compared with current commercial deployment.

RELATED: Sprint tests Massive MIMO with Samsung in South Korea

Samsung will begin commercializing its Massive MIMO solutions in October 2017 on the TDD band and in 2018 on the FDD band.

“Massive MIMO provides mobile operators with one of the most efficient ways of adding capacity to their LTE networks, and will eventually support their 5G networks,” Daryl Schoolar, practice leader for Next Generation Infrastructure at Ovum, said in the post. “The Samsung-Sprint massive MIMO trial show the benefits of this technology in a real-world situation.”

Indeed, it seems as though every major U.S. operator is pursuing Massive MIMO.

Last week, Ericsson announced the introduction of a new massive MIMO radio unit that supports FDD. Although Ericsson previously announced three Massive MIMO solutions, they all supported time division duplex (TDD) or TD-LTE, so this marked Ericsson’s first Massive MIMO gear for FDD or FD-LTE.

That’s especially important for Ericsson because multiple rivals—including Huawei, Samsung and ZTE—had already announced the addition of FD-LTE support to the existing TD-LTE support in their Massive MIMO portfolios, according to Ed Gubbins, senior analyst at Global Telecom Technology & Software.  

Of course, 5G will need to support both TD-LTE—which is especially prevalent in China—and FD-LTE—which dominates most of the world’s LTE networks. Interestingly, Massive MIMO’s beamforming technology is more efficient in TD-LTE because the unpaired spectrum in TD-LTE allows easier dynamic feedback between user device and network, but operators will need Massive MIMO to support both TD-LTE and FD-LTE, Gubbins said.

At Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona back in February, Sprint and Nokia demonstrated the benefits of massive MIMO, showcasing how the technology can boost cell capacity by eight times compared to 4G LTE.

Also at MWC in Spain, Huawei exhibited a FDD Massive MIMO and TDD Massive MIMO dual solution, showing a cell throughput based on 20 MHz that exceeded 670 Mbps. Huawei’s Massive MIMO has been deployed on multiple networks in Japan, China, Spain, the U.K. and Saudi Arabia.