MWC2022 Barcelona welcomed more than 61,000 physical attendees from more than 200 countries and territories. While not the 100,000+ that typically attend, it was enough to create significant buzz as we make our way back to physical events.
On day 1, Vodafone said in their keynote that fragmentation of the European 5G market is causing the region to fall behind and will be way behind other regions soon if they do not invest more and get better organized. This was the first time that the big three Chinese operators took the keynote stage with China Mobile stating they would activate one million 5G basestations by the end of this year.
The keynotes on day 2 turned to the meta verse with highlights of how various companies are working to enable the transition from 2D to 3D. Huawei stressed that the company is still open for global business and will work with any customer that wants their products. And one of the biggest announcements was the FCC will open an auction for the 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum starting in July which was announced in FCC Chair, Jessica Rosenworcel, keynote.
There has been a lot of activity and news about mid-band spectrum recently. In the US, interference concerns for the 3.5 GHz band have been a concern with commercial airline altimeters and satellite ground stations since it is near the lower 4 GHz bands used for these applications. There was also a lot of activity at MWC 2022 about using the 6 GHz band (5.925-7.125 GHz) for 5G. There were many sessions around if this should be licensed or unlicensed and how it will work with WiFi in that frequency range.
Day 3 saw keynotes on how the metaverse and NFTs are shaking up traditional industries and on the show floor Ericsson and SK Telecom demonstrated these. Other keynotes addressed the growing concerns for privacy and data security as these new technologies launch.
While this is not a complete list, here are some of the company specific news releases we saw:
Analog Devices demonstrated its O-RU Reference design fronthaul conformance testing with Keysight technology. The O-RU integrates ADI’s turnkey 7.2x split low PHY IP with ADI’s latest 8T8R RadioVerse SoC with integrated DFE, connected to Keysight’s Open RAN Studio O-DU emulator and PathWave Test Automation framework for fronthaul conformance testing. In addition to Keysight, we saw many companies using the RadioVerse SoC including STL, Benetel and Marvell to name a few.
Anokiwave introduced both its 4th generation of high efficiency multi-band silicon IC beamformer ICs as well as industry’s first single-chip dual channel IF up/down converter with fully integrated LO synthesizer. This new Gen-4 IC family enables greener, lower cost and smaller form factor mmW 5G radios, for every 3GPP FR2 band. Anokiwave recently announced the release of its Gen-4 mmW silicon ICs that offers a unique combination of industry’s highest linear power and output efficiency devices. ICs in this family include the 24 to 30 GHz AWMF-0221, a quad channel, dual polarization beamforming IC, the AWMF-0210, a wideband IF up/down converter IC, and the AWMF-0224 a dual channel IF transceiver IC. These new ICs provide a complete mmW to IF signal chain solution for n257, n258, and n261 frequency bands (24 – 30 GHz) while meeting all 3GPP specs, supporting high signal and 5G NR modulation bandwidths as well as 802.11ac/802.11ax waveforms for private wireless networks.
Anritsu Company introduced a modular RF hardware upgrade, Enhanced RF Module MT8000A-033 option, for its Radio Communication Test Station MT8000A. Leveraging the flexible architecture of the MT8000A mainframe, the new RF module can be installed in new or existing units to facilitate extended all-in-one 5G NR test coverage for highly efficient verification of device and chipsets. This RF module supports extension of FR1 band to 7.126 GHz providing a broad spectrum of coverage from 0.4 GHz. The new module features a built-in RF transceiver that provides up to 16 Tx and 8 Rx. It supports 5G carrier aggregation over four different bands for 5G 4x4 MIMO Standalone and New Radio Dual Connectivity, which combines FR1 and FR2 component carriers to achieve higher bandwidth.
Ericsson released many new products and improved some existing products with an emphasis on lowering power consumption and improving performance. The 4490 radio was improved, and they added easy-to-install 64T/R Massive MIMO AIR 6428 for mid-band; highly integrated, multi-band Antenna 4602; next generation Interleaved AIR 3218 with industry-leading low height and weight; expanded deep Sleep mode software for new radios and Massive MIMO portfolios; and Coverage Boost, a versatile 5G carrier aggregation software that delivers 60 percent wider reach for mid-band TDD.
Ignion announced the launch of the Antenna Intelligence Cloud bringing the power of a cloud computing and artificial intelligence to the antenna domain. Based on Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud services and the power and flexibility of its patented Virtual Antenna™ technology, the new Antenna Intelligence Cloud based service is capable of reducing antenna design from days or weeks to minutes. Ignion and AWS will continue collaborating with the aim to offer tools which speed up global development of IoT projects.
Keysight Technologies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Analog Devices which includes joint demonstrations of open radio access network (O-RAN) technology at the event. Analog Devices used Keysight Open Radio Architect solutions to showcase the performance of an O-RAN O-RU reference design. The O-RU reference design provides designers a tested platform, which includes Analog Devices' new RadioVerse® SOC and an Intel© Agilex FPGA running Analog Devices 7.2x split low PHY baseband. It enables development of high-performance multi-channel O-RUs using an optimized number of components.
Kumu Networks announced the industry’s first Full Duplex chip that provides the Self-Interference Cancellation technology required to implement the sub-band full duplex feature outlined in the 5G Advanced proposal. Available for sample upon request, this chip will allow cellular operators and network infrastructure providers to rapidly address the expansion of the 5G Advanced standard into industry verticals that require Ultra-Reliable Low Latency capabilities.
Marvell announced new 5G Open RAN DU and RU solutions with customers and partners powered by the company’s flagship OCTEON Fusion baseband processor, featuring a comprehensive suite of 5G Layer 1 (L1) inline hardware accelerators and O-RAN standards support. These new open, virtualized DU and massive MIMO RU solutions, which build on Marvell’s reference designs, augment traditional 5G RAN solutions that are globally deployed using the same OCTEON Fusion processors and bring high performance and power efficiency to cloud-native 5G. The partners included ADI, ARM and Dell Technologies.
Movandi announced that it has partnered with Wistron NeWeb Corp to deliver innovative dual-band smart repeaters optimized for indoor networks. Powered by Movandi’s dual-band 28 and 39 GHz BeamXR chipsets, the new WNC repeaters are available today and designed to provide cost-effective solutions for bandwidth-intensive 5G enterprise private networks and enhanced coverage for service provider indoor applications.
NXP® Semiconductors announced that NXP’s Layerscape® and Layerscape Access family of processors have been chosen by Compal Electronics to power its new 5G Integrated Small Cell solution. Designed to enhance 5G networks density, the new solution delivers high performance capabilities based on a 4-antenna configuration to enable new 5G use cases. These include smart cities and factories, enhanced indoor 5G coverage and low latency applications, across public and private networks.
Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon X70 5G Modem-RF System leading up to MWC 2022, its 5th-generation modem-to-antenna 5G solution. Snapdragon X70 introduces the industry’s first 5G AI processor in a modem-RF system, to harness the power of AI for breakthrough 5G performance with 10 Gb 5G downloads, incredible upload speeds, low latency, coverage and power efficiency. The capabilities of Snapdragon X70 offer flexibility to global 5G operators to maximize spectrum resources for the best possible 5G connectivity. The company was also demonstrating their version of sub-band full duplex in their booth at MWC and they were also featuring a bunch of demos in addition the sub-band duplex including upper band 13 GHz “Giga-MIMO,” 145 GHz lensed MIMO, Intelligent mmWave technology using AI, 5G mmWave mobility applications, advanced mmWave spectrum sharing, AI and ML applied to controlling the air interface, high energy efficiency Super QAM up to 16k and improved positioning technologies with 5G. They are also talking about future technologies for the metaverse, IoT and advanced positioning but too much to cover here. Rakuten Symphony and Qualcomm Technologies announced plans for Rakuten Mobile to collaborate to develop a next generation 5G Radio Unit with Massive MIMO capabilities and distributed units.
Rohde & Schwarz gave a major upgrade to its R&S CMX500 5G radio communication tester which now provides extensive device testing capability, including support for all 5G NR deployments covering LTE, 5G NR FR1 and FR2 in non-standalone and standalone mode, for both FDD and TDD with an effortless setup and an outstanding performance. Manufacturers of 5G NR capable chipsets and devices as well as certification providers can cover the entire product lifecycle with the R&S CMX500 one-box tester, from all early R&D design phases to end-to-end application testing, including device certification. The company was also showcasing its range of automotive 5G and C-V2X test solutions for development in the lab and verification in the field to ensure the performance and reliability of critical automotive communications. Further focus applications are UWB test solutions for R&D, certification and production as well as flexible GNSS simulation. Rohde & Schwarz also teamed up with Qualcomm Technologies to showcase 5G Broadcast with a full end-to-end live streaming demonstration at the event. In a live demonstration delivering content to smartphone devices, and showcasing Broadcast/Multicast capabilities over 5G, content provided by Cellnex Telecom will be re-transmitted using a 5G Broadcast signal over-the-air in Barcelona, giving show attendees a firsthand look at an advanced live mobile experience.
Sivers Semiconductors was showcasing new state-of-the-art 5G NR mmWave products and showing live demonstrations. With the recent acquisition of MixComm in time for this year’s MWC, they will be showing:
- Enhanced versions of the award-winning RFSOI SummitTM beamformers covering 24 thru 39 GHz
- Highly integrated Fixed Wireless Access 28GHz module with best-in-class uplink
- 5G mmWave optimized Up/Down converters
STL announced a collaboration with Analog Devices to develop 5G Open RAN radio units (O-RU). Together, the two companies will build 5G-ready solutions to expand the diversity of commercially available O-RUs and facilitate the growth of Open RAN networks. As a part of this collaboration, STL and Analog Devices will work closely with other ecosystem providers, including leading power amplifier vendors, to expand the range of STL's Garuda O-RU indoor small cell offerings. STL will integrate Analog Devices’ leading RadioVerse® transceivers into Garuda to create power-efficient, high-performance radios.
Xilinx demonstrated how its radio and CU/DU systems technologies are delivering 5G experiences to consumers and enterprise customers. Demos included a 5G O-RAN mMIMO radio 64T64R prototype with Keysight Technologies’ DU emulator, and an open 5G VRAN platform demo complete with a telco accelerator card and CU-DU units running to an AMD server. VRANs like these offer operators improved efficiency and flexibility to meet the growing performance and latency demands of 5G customers. Among other highlights, Xilinx was demonstrating a Zynq® UltraScale+™ RFSoC DFE-based C-band macro radio, showcasing 400MHz IBW performance with a high-power amplifier connected to it, and a 5G VRAN demo with a software provider, designed for private 5G networks.