Joe Madden of Mobile Experts provides a rundown of key announcements and surprising news from MWC 2018:
- Samsung and Verizon announced that they will deploy Samsung LTE RRH units in the Verizon network with full interoperability on Nokia baseband processing units. There may also be some deployment of Samsung RRH with Samsung BBUs.
- Huawei and China Mobile both provided extremely optimistic guidance for deployment of NB-IoT devices during 2018…estimates in excess of 100 million devices this year! The Chinese development of the NB-IoT ecosystem is moving aggressively, with R&D subsidies from the government at all levels.
- 5G products were a huge topic this year with demos and product mock-ups in almost every booth. Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, and others showed off massive MIMO RRH/AAS panels at frequencies ranging from 2.5 to 28 GHz.
- Several vendors displayed FDD Massive MIMO products, validating the emergence of a new market segment. The demos in this area range up to 32T32R, not higher.
- Every major vendor showed TDD Massive MIMO arrays, with a few characteristics in common.Multiple vendors showed C-band 64T64R arrays with 200 W conducted output power, and at least 200 MHz of signal bandwidth. A detailed comparison of these products can be found in Mobile Experts’ 5G Broadband research.
- Active antenna arrays, integrated with passive antennas, were also on display in several booths.These products, handling up to 7 frequency bands with 1-2 active arrays in TDD and multiple passive FDD bands, were enormous, with 3+meter height and a huge cross section to allow for many passive antenna ports.
- KT demonstrated equipment used for pre-5G services at the Olympics. Despite very little acknowledgement in the mainstream press, KT showed the high-speed video that was successfully provided to a “5G Bus” in Seoul with handoffs between 28 GHz gNodeB sites based on 5G SIG.
- Ericsson showed an interesting demo of dynamic spectrum sharing, in which a 5G waveform can be superimposed on an LTE waveform. When both signals have the same bandwidth, Ericsson takes advantage of the similarities between LTE and 5G NR resource blocks to dynamically share resource blocks for 5G NR and LTE. Both control signals can be transmitted with some clever changes to LTE control channels. Mobile Experts will explore this technique in more depth as it has implications for 5G IoT coverage in existing LTE networks.
- Samsung has announced a second phase of deployment for Reliance Jio, with 120K new LTE sites to be deployed in India.
- Anokiwave showed a demo of a 256-element array at 28 GHz, with EIRP (P1 dB) of +61 dBm while only using 60 W of DC power. This demo represents a significant advance in the efficiency of 28 GHz active antenna arrays.
- Nokia introduced their “ReefShark” chipsets which include baseband processing, a Digital Front End, and an RFIC/beamformer for a massive MIMO array. Based on the size of their heatsink, the Nokia approach seems to have high power efficiency.
Overall: We noticed that MWC was busy right until the end on Thursday, even though the attendance was slightly lower than 2017. There’s still a strong level of marketing activity in this market.