SHENZHEN, China — FDD LTE network capacity expansion is a common industry concern. At the Huawei Global Analyst Summit 2018, Chen Chuanfei, Vice President of Huawei LTE Product Line, announced the official release of a comprehensive solution. This solution specifically focuses on FDD LTE network spectral efficiency and capacity improvement. In this solution, 4T4R is used to build an experience-based base network. 4T4R with six sectors (4T6S) is used to build a hotspot capacity layer to meet capacity and experience requirements. Massive MIMO is deployed at ultra-hotspots to maximize site capacity, and TM9 is used to achieve higher gains. The solution can help operators expand network capacity based on different scenarios to fully prepare for 5G-oriented evolution.
4×4 MIMO Ecosystem is Mature, Enabling Gbps Experience, 4T4R Helps Build an Experience-based Base Network.
The requirements for Gbps experience stimulate the rapid maturity of the 4×4 MIMO industry chain. 4R has become a typical configuration for mainstream terminals. The medium- and high-end smartphones released in 2018 also support 4R technology. Operators use 4T4R to deploy base networks. 4T4R uses multi-antenna diversity and MIMO technologies to double the peak rate and increase the edge user-perceived throughput by more than 50%. 4T4R is gaining popularity as a recognized network deployment standard for many global operators, and 4R will soon be mandatory for 5G terminals. Huawei has deployed 4T4R in more than 100 commercial networks around the world, helping operators provide a superb user experience.
By using 4×4 MIMO, carrier aggregation, and 256QAM technologies, a smartphone can reach a peak rate of 1.2 Gbps on a commercial network. With years of experience in RF technologies, Huawei will launch industry-leading full-band, high-power, and multi-frequency integrated 4T4R modules in 2018. The aim is to provide customized solutions for different operators worldwide. The 4T4R modules are capable of 5G-oriented evolution to maximize operators’ return on investment. “Based on the requirements for better consumer experience and Moore’s Law of communications technology development, 4R terminals will arise the prevailing industry trend. We can expect to see more than 30 smartphones supporting 4×4 MIMO in 2018 and over 30% of the smartphones using 4×4 MIMO by 2020,” said Chen Chuanfei.
4T6S for a Hotspot Capacity Layer, Is the Most Useful Solution to Improve Network Capacity and User Experience.
With the rapid exponential growth of MBB traffic, operators are predominantly focusing on how to build a hotspot capacity layer. By analyzing the development of global commercial networks and the terminal industry chain, Huawei proposes that the multi-sector technology is the key to increasing FDD LTE network capacity (TM9 industry chain requires further development). Huawei releases an industry-first 4T6S solution, which integrates multi-antenna and multi-sector technologies. This solution can effectively double network capacity and support 4×4 MIMO to improve both site capacity and user experience. This solution has been tested on commercial networks with insufficient spectrum resources and rapid MBB development in countries such as Thailand and Indonesia. It is quickly securing an envious reputation as a preferred choice for network evolution.
For traditional multi-sector technology, it used to be hard to suppress inter-sector interference and reduce the number of site modules to simplify site deployment. Huawei develops the patented antenna array technology to efficiently suppress inter-sector interference and provide 20% better performance compared to other multi-sector technologies in the industry. This technology also uses leading high- and low-frequency integrated antennas and multi-band integrated RRU modules to replace the existing antennas and reduce the number of site modules by half. “By using one antenna system, the 4T6S solution can simultaneously expand the capacity for 1.8 GHz, 2.1 GHz, and 2.6 GHz frequency bands and improve user experience. It is the most useful solution for the hotspot capacity layer. Working with multi-band antennas, multi-band RRUs, and the CloudAIR solution, 4T6S can minimize site deployment and maximize network capacity,” said Chen Chuanfei.
Massive MIMO Maximizes Spectral Efficiency and Enables an Ultimate Capacity Layer.
With the evolution of 3GPP specifications, massive MIMO is a key technology to further improve the LTE network capacity. Massive MIMO, with its beamforming and MU-MIMO technologies, allows multiple pairs of UEs to share the same air interface resources. Network capacity can be expanded 3 to 5 fold over what 2T2R cells can provide. The growth can reach 6.5 times 2T2R capacity when the network evolves to 3GPP Release 14. In January 2017, Huawei and China Unicom jointly completed the world’s first field test of FDD massive MIMO in Shanghai. Up to now, Huawei has verified the performance of massive MIMO on the networks provided by over ten operators in countries such as China, Thailand, Turkey, and Kuwait. In February 2018, Huawei partnered with Globe Telecom in the Philippines to become the first to deploy FDD massive MIMO on commercial networks. The cell capacity on the existing networks can be increased by two to three times, providing optimal user experience for more and more users. “Massive MIMO is a key technology for future network capacity solutions. Huawei has deployed FDD and TDD massive MIMO on more than 40 commercial networks worldwide. We have accumulated considerable technologies and experience concerning commercial deployment,” said Chen Chuanfei.
TM9, a Catalyst to Achieve Multi-Antenna Gains, Is Stimulating Industry Chain Development.
Using TM9, FDD LTE networks can take advantage of beamforming and MU-MIMO. Network capacity and user experience can be further improved thanks to space division technology. Huawei works with world-leading operators, chip and terminal vendors, and other industry chain partners to accelerate the development of the TM9 industry chain. After TM9 was introduced in 3GPP Release 10, all mainstream smartphone chips are now TM9-capable. As the TM9 compatibility tests were completed, the TM9 function has been activated for a growing number of mainstream smartphones. The penetration rate of TM9-capable terminals in developed markets is expected to exceed 20% by the end of 2018. Recognizing the importance of TM9, five operators, including HKT, have begun enabling TM9 on commercial networks. We will see more than 30 commercial networks with TM9 activated in 2018. Chen Chuanfei compared TM9 to a catalyst. He said, “TM9 can further increase multi-antenna gains and maximize spectrum value. Huawei hopes to work with the industry to stimulate the TM9 industry chain development, unleash network potentials, and provide a better experience for our end users.”