Massive MIMO: Meeting the challenge of indoor coverage
As urbanisation accelerates, high-rise buildings are springing up in cities across China. Poor coverage and call quality in these buildings has become a common issue for many mobile networks. According to China Mobile, complaints about network coverage accounted for 41 percent of all complaints – with more than 70 percent of coverage-related complaints related to indoor coverage. Improving indoor coverage is therefore greatly important for China Mobile’s strategy. In practice, China Mobile has experienced difficulties with site acquisition, property negotiation and indoor deployment.
Massive MIMO has:
- 128 antenna array elements and advanced baseband vector processing chipsets that increase network throughput by two to four times
- Massive MIMO beamforming that expands coverage space from 2D to 3D and achieves seamless coverage
- Precise terminal tracking that enhances user experience
- Integrated antenna, RF, and baseband units that can be easily deployed for various scenarios
- Full compatibility with existing commercial 4G terminals and networks.
Bringing coverage indoors
ZTE’s innovative 3D-MIMO solution sets the bar for indoor wireless performance, with speeds of more than 300Mbps ensuring customers can meet current wireless demands, and a throughput increase of 300 to 500 percent providing commercial networks with the coverage they need.
One commercial network that has benefited from ZTE’s indoor coverage solution is the Evergrande Center in Zhujiang New Town, Guangzhou. The Evergrande Center is surrounded by numerous skyscrapers and has 47 floors, four of which are underground. The surrounding wireless environment is complex, which makes indoor coverage and property management a challenge.
China Mobile deployed Massive MIMO base stations 30m high to cover the entire centre. The cell capacity was significantly increased based on the existing commercial network. Compared to China Mobile’s existing large-angle-antenna macro stations, the test showed that the average downlink throughput gain was 394 percent. More importantly, cell-edge user experience was also greatly enhanced. Tests showed the average downlink and uplink rate gains at the cell edge were 583 percent and 819 percent respectively. Massive MIMO has flexible beam adjustment that enables vertical wide-angle coverage through the configuration of antenna weight. With wider and deeper coverage, Massive MIMO is an ideal solution for high-rise buildings in central business districts.
Powerful macro coverage capability
Another core competency of China Mobile’s network is its macro coverage for heavy-traffic hotspots. On average, 65,000 passengers pass through Guangzhou East Railway Station Square every day, increasing demand for capacity and coverage. China Mobile also adopted ZTE’s Massive MIMO to cover the Railway Station Square. Tests showed that in macro coverage scenarios, compared with existing eight-antenna macro base stations, Massive MIMO average downlink gain was 350 percent. Meanwhile, the uplink gain for the cell edge was 328 percent. More importantly, in single UE net tests, 96 percent of areas enjoyed speeds of more than 5Mbps throughout. Massive MIMO base stations outperform traditional eight-antenna macro cells in terms of coverage, uplink and downlink throughput, and anti-interference. This makes Massive MIMO the most reliable solution for large-capacity business scenarios.
Connecting a global conference
On December 18 2015, the second International Internet Conference was welcoming more than 2,000 participants from over 120 countries. ZTE’s Massive MIMO provided the conference with telecom services of 530Mbps and spectral efficiency that was five times better than the existing service.
Massive MIMO is a key component of ZTE’s pre-5G core technology that allows 4G users to enjoy a 5G-like experience without changing their terminals. ZTE is a leader in developing Massive MIMO, which is expected to be commercially available in China in 2016, and has extensive experience in practical business environments. Pre-5G Massive MIMO brings 5G networks closer.