Sunday, June 10, 2018

FWD Russia's MTS rolls with Massive MIMO for World Cup

Major sporting events are often used as showcases for next-gen networking technologies. Earlier this year, KT conducted a number of 5G tests at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Korea. The 5G public demos were interesting but not directly relevant to fans equipped with current generation smartphones.

For the upcoming World Cup, MTS, the leading communications service provider in Russia and the CIS, has pushed ahead with what is described as Europe’s largest deployment of Massive MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) to date. Organizers are expecting more than 1.5 million international fans in Russia during the course of the tournament.

The Massive MIMO deployment is based on Ericsson, including its AIR 6468 NR-capable radio designed for compatibility with the 5G New Radio standard while also supporting LTE. This Ericsson radio features 64 transmit and 64 receive antennas enabling it to support 5G plug-ins for both Massive MIMO and Multi-User MIMO. 

If the mobile broadband coverage performs as expected, it will be a showcase deployment of Massive MIMO both for MTS and for Ericsson. Last year, MTS awarded a major network upgrade to Ericsson. 

Massive MIMO improves capacity by transmitting data to multiple user devices using the same time and frequency resources with coordinated beam forming and beam steering.

The MTS rollout includes seven of the 11 tournament cities. In Moscow alone, the deployment covers two stadiums and fan zones, Sheremetyevo airport, Red Square, Tverskaya Street and Gorky Central Park.

Saint Petersburg coverage includes stadium and fan zones, Dvortsovaya Square, and Moskovsky railway station. 

The other covered cities are Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Niznny Novgorod, Samara and Rostov-on-Don. Ericsson installed AIR 6468 for MTS at more than 40 sites across the seven cities.

Andrei Ushatsky, Vice President, Technology and IT, MTS, says: "This launch is one of Europe's largest Massive MIMO deployments, covering seven Russian cities, and is a major contribution by MTS in the preparation of the country's infrastructure for the global sporting event of the year. Our Massive MIMO technology, using Ericsson equipment, significantly increases network capacity, allowing tens of thousands of fans together in one place to enjoy high-speed mobile internet without any loss in speed or quality.”

Just last month, MTS announce the first deployment of Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology -- again, in partnership with Ericsson. This initial deployment only covered one shopping center in one city (Ufa) but shows the way for a much wider usage of spectrum resources for MTS. 

The new LAA network in Ufa aggregates a 20 MHz band in the 1800 MHz licensed LTE spectrum (4x4 MIMO, 256-QAM) and three 20 MHz bands (2x2 MIMO, 256-QAM) in the 5 GHz unlicensed spectrum. The installation is built on Ericsson’s ERS indoor small cell stations using 1800 (2212) and LAA (2205) broadband radio modules, while Motorola Moto Z2 Force smartphone powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform was used as a smartphone. The Snapdragon 835 integrates X16 LTE modem, the first commercial modem supporting the LAA technology. The configuration yielded downlink speeds of 979 Mbps. This marked the first commercial LAA rollout in the region. Qualcomm is also listed as a technology partner.

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