Rapid Prototyping Is Critical to the Realization of 5G : Page 2 of 3

math and simulation and then maps the algorithm in a system and working hardware.

Consider Samsung, which has built one of the world's first demonstrators of multi-antenna technology with a base station (BTS) that includes 32 antenna elements called Full-Dimension MIMO (Multiple Input and Multiple Output) or FD-MIMO. FD-MIMO uses a 2D grid of antennas to create a 3D channel space. With FD-MIMO, service operators can place antenna grids at elevated positions such as buildings or poles and aim the antenna beams at users on the ground or in adjacent buildings to consistently deliver enhanced data rates.


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Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have taken this multi-antenna concept to the next level with their Massive MIMO prototype. Massive MIMO increases the number of antennas in a cellular BTS to hundreds. Composed of low-cost technology, the grid of antenna elements focuses the energy directly at the user while enabling the hundreds of antennas to more easily detect weak signals from mobile devices. Additionally, Massive MIMO uses linear coding techniques to simplify the processing at the BTS.

As more BTS antennas enhance the mobile user data experience, we can see how theory confirms that Massive MIMO may also dramatically reduce the power consumed by both the BTS and mobile devices. Because multiple low-cost BTS antennas transmit lower aggregate power than a monolithic approach, the power consumed by the BTS may be reduced by a factor of 10 or more.

Fundamentally, enhanced data rates and increased capacity are constrained by spectrum according to Shannon's theory on channel capacity. More spectrum yields higher data rates, which help service operators accommodate more users. As such, service operators around the world have paid billions of dollars for spectrum to service their customers, yet the currently available spectrum below 6 GHz is almost tapped out. Researchers are now investigating the possibility of deploying cellular networks above 6 GHz, specifically in the millimeter wave (mmWave) bands.

Worth noting is that the mmWave spectrum is plentiful and lightly licensed, meaning it is accessible to service operators around the world. Professor Ted Rappaport at New York University Wireless has been investigating mmWave as a possible evolutionary path for mobile networks since the mid-2000s. His pioneering channel measurement work has led researchers all over the world to reconsider their assumptions that mmWave mobile networks are either impractical or unfeasible.

 

Furthermore, researchers at Nokia are also investigating mmWave technologies, and the preliminary results are encouraging. In 2015 alone, Nokia demonstrated a fully working mmWave prototype that delivers

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