February 16, 2017 – Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel) and AT&T have complete completed multiple commercial trials featuring a Massive MIMO in licensed Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) LTE spectrum using technology from Blue Danube Systems.
The trials were conducted using Blue Danube’s BeamCraft 500 active antenna product for advanced 3D beamforming, which is capable of delivering 160 watts of transmit power for a Massive MIMO system. Based on its underlying High Definition Active Antenna System (HDAAS) technology, the 96-element BeamCraft 500 can intelligently and seamlessly focus signal energy where it is needed, allowing wireless carriers to better serve high demand areas and minimize interference zones.
“The demand for Massive MIMO solutions continues to increase as industry gears towards delivering 4G advancements and 5G. Mobile carriers are looking for innovative and cost-effective ways to improve network capacity and Blue Danube’s BeamCraft 500 is the first product designed to provide operators a low friction upgrade at existing sites targeting lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) for high-capacity,” said Earl Lum, president at EJL Wireless Research.
The trials supported more than 10 terabits of data during a three-month period through a simple retrofit of the existing antenna with Blue Danube’s BeamCraft 500 unit. At the trial sites, users experienced an improvement of 2X to 5X in throughput in high traffic demand areas using the same transmit power as the legacy installation. Additionally, users received up to 20X improvement in instantaneous video throughput and experienced smooth 1080p HD videos in locations where existing systems were stalling and previously only capable of 144p.
“Massive MIMO opens up a new way to boost capacity in mobile telecom, by using the spatial dimension and multiple antennas to create multiple paths that re-use spectrum more effectively. Instead of waiting for 5G, mobile operators are upgrading thousands of TD-LTE base stations with Massive MIMO this year,” said Joe Madden, founder and principal analyst at Mobile Experts. “It’s an exciting development which, as it gains momentum, may be able to leap into the FDD market as well.”
A second phase of trials is now ongoing to test additional operational modes and traffic scenarios.