A great way to increase network capacity is by increasing the number of transceivers on a cell tower.
Enter MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output), which is implemented by adding multiple transceivers to the same cell tower – so you can multiply the capacity of that tower.
Moving from using a single transceiver to as many as 2, 4 or 8 is a significant capacity performance boost.
But it’s not enough for the demands of the 5G world.
MIMO gets massive
Massive MIMO is the next big leap: with 64 transmitters and 64 receivers in a single array, all communicating with devices at the same time.
Massive MIMO is possible because when you use mid-band spectrum and above, you don’t need huge antennae.
When you hear 64T64R, that’s actually 64 transceivers. So a Massive MIMO array will have 8 rows and 8 columns of transceivers.
How can 64 transceivers serve thousands of people?
With such a large array of transceivers, operators can do some amazing things in every cell. Like tracking individual user devices and sending a focused signal to each one, keeping all beams separate to minimize interference.
With such precise targeting, operators will be able to optimize services for each user. So when the cell site detects someone using a VR headset, it can increase the service level to optimize for speed and capacity. And when a user across the street is just sending a text message, the signal can be scaled back accordingly. The network will recognize the specific demands of different devices and adjust to deliver an optimal experience.
The result: Everyone in the cell – even if there are thousands of people – can be served individually. Everyone – and every device – gets the full benefit of 5G.
All from 64 little transceivers.
Note: The antennae in the Massive MIMO unit don’t physically turn to track each user. Instead, the array uses a technique called beamforming, adjusting the amplitude and phase shift of the antennae to shape and direct each signal.
At the same time, advanced time slotting techniques mean each transmitter can serve many devices by allocating time slots to various devices – minimizing interference and power usage while optimizing user experiences.
The business impact
5G networks delivered via Massive MIMO and beamforming will bring significant benefits to businesses, including:
Giving more mobile users more bandwidth to work with
Giving great UX to more users no matter where they are
That’s on top of the faster speeds and decreased latency that 5G delivers.
Now that’s massive.