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Bristol and BT collaborate on massive MIMO trials for 5G wireless

BT massive MIMO system

The Massive MIMO system during its recent trial at BT University of Bristol

BT massive MIMO team

Team photo taken in the BT Exhibition Hall. [Front from left to right] Ben Lavasani (NI), Wael Boukley Hasan, Mark Beach, Fred Wiffen, Benny Chitambira; [Rear from left to right] Leif Johansson (NI), Henry Brice, Paul Harris, Ian Mings (BT), Mansoor Hanif (BT), Paul Crane (BT) University of Bristol

27 February 2017

The quest for highly efficient 5G wireless connectivity has been given a boost thanks to a collaboration between a team of 5G engineers from the Universities of Bristol and Lund, National Instruments (NI), and BT, one of the world’s leading providers of communications services.

The research team has undertaken field trials of a massive MIMO system at the BT Labs in Adastral Park, Suffolk. The trials were conducted in a large indoor hall mimicking a stadium environment and outdoors within the Adastral Park campus.

The goals were to test massive MIMO spatial multiplexing indoors and improve the understanding of massive MIMO radio channels under mobile conditions with untethered devices. While carrying out these field experiments, the team obtained promising results indicating that this technology could offer spectrum efficiency figures in excess of the 100 bits/s/Hz mark, improving upon the capacity of today’s long term evolution (LTE) systems by ten times.

It is expected that techniques such as massive MIMO, which offers full spatial multiplexing – where multiple data streams are transmitted at the same time and on the same radio channel–will become a crucial part of future 5G networks; the next generation of mobile technology.

The research team, consisting of five PhD students from Bristol’s EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Communications and a researcher from Lund University, under the leadership of Professor Mark Beach, worked with the BT research team, led by Ian Mings, to assess the performance of a 128 element Massive MIMO system operating at 3.5 GHz at BT’s Adastral Park campus.

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