Making Way for the Future

In the future, users are expected to exchange much more information over the spectrum. However, with its dwindling supply, we need to find a way to exchange all this new data more efficiently without causing delays for everyone using the available spectrum.

In response to this insufficiency, many researchers have been conducting experiments using a form of 5G technology called Massive MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) which would allow for the simultaneous transfer of data with the use of multiple transmitters and receivers.

Recently, Steffen Malkowsky, together with his research colleagues from Lund University, Sweden, and the University of Bristol, UK,  has set a new world record for spectrum efficiency—overwhelming today's existing 4G technology, 22-fold!

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Achieving rates of 145.6 (bits/s)/Hz for 22 users, each modulated with 256-QAM, on a shared 20 MHz radio channel at 3.51 GHz with an 128-antenna massive MIMO array, this event presents an important step towards a new type of wireless communication. “Setting a new world record was a significant event as it demonstrated that it is possible to transmit 22 times more data compared to current wireless systems. Although the goal is for 5G to increase the total transmission capacity by a factor of 1,000, this is still a big step”, says Malkowsky. 

Real world testing

These results, however, are experimental and not real world. The users were stationary while in reality, people and their phones are often in motion. Also, being in a highly controlled environment with no interference from other cellular signals, the tech's performance may decline when applied in a real word setting.

So to test how well the technology works when the connected units are mobile, the researchers from Bristol will visit Lund at the end of August.  “This is more realistic, as people using their mobile phones don’t exactly sit still”, as Malkowsky pointed out.

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