• Massive MIMO Explained. What the heck is it? (Updated September 2016)

    Marzetta Massive10x or 100x more wireless throughput using many antennas. Masayoshi Son at Softbank has just deployed the first commercial Massive MIMO systems. 100 systems, each with 128 antennas, are being deployed in Japan. The early results show 6-10X capacity improvements. Some of the world's best engineers - Henry Samueli, Andrea Goldsmith, Arogyaswami Paulraj, Vint Cerf - expect ultimately MIMO will yield a 50X improvement. (That's not guaranteed, of course.)

    Ericsson announced they'd be shipping 64 antenna systems in 2017. Huawei, ZTE, and Facebook have demonstrated 96-128 antenna systems. Each transmitting antenna sends a separate signal. The receivers mostly have two or four antennas. Each signal bounces off walls and other obstacles in a slightly different way, allowing the receivers to separate them. 

    Paulraj invented MIMO in 1993 and nearly twenty years ago predicted a 100X improvement in capacity at very little power increase. Many of us have seen a preview of what's possible from WiFi 802.11ac. That uses 4 antennas and triples performance under the right conditions. Add more antennas and enough processing power and almost anything may be achievable. 

  • Verizon Ready to Try Massive MIMO and Beamforming

    massive mimo linkopingsHoping for 2017 although almost no one expected this before 2020 and "5G." CEO Lowell McAdams told analysts Verizon plans  "Staying ~two years ahead of competitors in network performance."  Massive MIMO and beamforming deliver "Huge gains in spectral efficiency." Delivered wireless can increase two to ten times over the next few years using arrays of thirty-five to hundreds of antennas. A 10x jump wouldn't surprise any of the researchers. Pulling that far ahead is probably an impossible dream. AT&T has almost caught up with Verizon. 

    Until this week, almost everyone thought substantial Massive MIMO deployment unlikely until 2020 and 5G. The excellent Bernstein analyst Paul de Sa was the first to report "VZ will soon begin market trials of 5G capabilities including 'massive MIMO' (which is when a large number of antennas are packed into a single device) and beam forming (which is when a wireless signal is concentrated on a specific location)." I confirmed with a second analyst what was said.

    Beginning trials soon would suggest deployment in 2017 if they go well.

5GW News

dave rightStarting July 2017, all new articles are at The pols and the marketing folks have made "5G" a meaningless term so the name doesn't fit reporting on advanced wireless. This will stay so old links work. I've reported broadband since 1999 and now is the time for gigabit wireless. Catch a mistake or have news? Email me please. Dave Burstein