Samsung has announced that its partnership with Sprint to test Massive MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) connections will continue beginning today at Fall 2017 Mobile World Congress. According to Samsung, these new tests are a continuance of June’s tests, which took place in Suwon, South Korea. As such, they will serve as a “roadmap for advancing the commercial development” of 5G and advanced LTE network technologies “through Massive MIMO hardware.” More directly, they are designed to highlight the “latest milestones attainable” with the technology, which can increase peak throughput by up to three times as compared to the current technology in use, as well as being able to increase peak throughput by up to eight times. Beyond that, Samsung points to a White Paper from Ovum, citing Daryl Schoolar, who says that the technology “provides mobile operators with one of the most efficient ways of adding capacity” to LTE networks and supporting the future generation of 5G networks.
For the previous test in South Korea, the companies showed off Samsungs Massive MIMO hardware, which consisted of both vertical and horizontal beam-forming technology, across 32 antennas. That test represented a claimed “four-fold increase in throughput” as compared to the currently used network configurations. On Sprint’s network, that test showed peak speeds of 330 Mbps per channel on the 20 MHz portion of the 2.5 GHz spectrum. he companies tested Massive MIMO on the 2.5 GHz spectrum in the real-world environment. Sprint wrote test cases and scenarios, and Samsung provided the infrastructure, network design, operation, data collection, and data processing resources. The test demonstrated the high potential of Massive MIMO to deliver gigabit LTE services in dynamic, urban environments.
Following these tests, Samsung says plans are in place to begin “commercializing” Massive MIMO solutions on LTE TDD bands as early as October 2017. Meanwhile, implementation on LTE FDD bands is slated for next year. Whether that goal is achievable remains to be seen since the implementation itself will ultimately depend on how well these and other tests continue to perform, but they are a step in the right direction. In the meantime, Samsung will be performing its tests at the Samsung Networks booth (South Hall S616), in case anybody attending the event wants to check it out for themselves.