As wireless operators increasingly look to massive MIMO technology to bolster their networks, a new study suggests those antenna systems could theoretically allow data transfers with no limits on their capacity.
“We can show that massive MIMO has unlimited capacity, both mathematically and with the aid of simulations,” said Emil Björnson, an associate professor of communication systems at Sweden’s Linköping University.
Multiple Input, Multiple Output technology, which connects many small antennas transmitting signals in different intervals, offers the efficient, high-capacity systems considered crucial to 5G networks in coming years.
Although researchers generally believed massive MIMO faced an upper limit on how much data could be transferred per second within a certain bandwidth and geographical area, Linköping engineers attributed those determinations to “pilot contamination” — or disturbances when measuring how wireless signals travel.
“This conclusion is the result of us using a model that was far too focused on research tractability and a method that was too simple,” Björnson said.
Instead, he argued that new calculations and simulations show that deploying more antennas — and processing their signals in the proper way — allowed for infinite data capacity.
“The consequence is that we can continue to deploy increasing numbers of antennas, as people consume ever increasing amounts of wireless data, and in this way satisfy the demand,” Björnson said.
Filed Under: Infrastructure