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Thread: Sprint preps Atlanta for 5G with Massive MIMO deployment

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    Sprint preps Atlanta for 5G with Massive MIMO deployment

    https://www.fiercewireless.com/wirel...imo-deployment


    Sprint’s “bridge to 5G”—a technology known as Massive MIMO—is going to be out in full force during the Super Bowl in Atlanta next month.

    “It’s full of all kinds of goodness,” said Heather Campbell, network director for the southeast region at Sprint. “It’s allowing us to really get into the full benefits of everything our 2.5 spectrum can do. We’ve deployed 2.5 across Atlanta before on LTE, but through Massive MIMO, we’re able to really get into the nooks and crannies of that channel and utilize every bit of that to get more capacity.”

    Sprint is still running tests to see what kinds of speeds people can expect when they attend the Super Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the big game on Feb. 4, but suffice it to say its network will be able to carry more people at high speeds, so the average user experience will be more consistent. Latency—a key tenant of 5G—is improving with Massive MIMO, but it will get really “fantastic” when 5G gets rolled out, she said.

    We’re bringing increased capacity & faster speeds to #Atlanta with the deployment of #MassiveMIMO for the Big Game AND the launch of @Sprint’s #5G network. Check out @hastough’s latest blog on the Atlanta Network team’s efforts https://t.co/5EXuYmhC19 pic.twitter.com/97gKoZQJW4

    — John Saw (@SprintCTO) January 14, 2019
    The infrastructure in Atlanta is being supplied by Ericsson, and the small cells are coming from a variety of vendors. Sprint has also doubled network capacity at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and is providing service for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. Major traffic corridors have been upgraded with tri-band gear: 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz, and it’s installing Massive MIMO on those sites. Dozens of small cells have been deployed for more capacity downtown, and distributed antenna systems (DAS) have been added to key hotels.

    But it’s the Massive MIMO technology that seems to be getting most of the attention. The radios Sprint is deploying are capable of both Massive MIMO and 5G—"it’s a software upgrade for us to evolve that radio into 5G,” Campbell told FierceWirelessTech.

    These are split mode radios that are capable of providing both 4G and 5G service, with 128 antenna elements. That compares to the typical cell site equipment that has only eight transceivers and eight transmitters. And even though they’re called “massive,” they are far from it, she said. “It’s actually smaller in size than our current 2.5 deployment,” and the radio and antenna are combined into one box, making them more aesthetically pleasing—and generally better accepted in most jurisdictions.

    Upgrading to 5G will not require a tower climb. “That’s why we’re really excited about that radio, because once it’s up there, we can do so much with it,” without having to go climb a structure, take it down and put something else up there, she said. “It blends in better with the aesthetics.”

    Atlanta will be one of the first commercial 5G markets for Sprint in the first half of this year. “That’s not a coincidence,” she noted. As part of Sprint’s strategic planning for 5G, it considered the Super Bowl, the size of markets and more. “It’s not a coincidence we have Massive MIMO ready for the Super Bowl and that Atlanta is one of our first markets. This is very intentional” and shows the extent of investment it’s making in Atlanta.

    It’s worth noting the upgrades are designed to be permanent, so residents will get the benefits long after the big game is over. Of course, it’s anybody’s guess what happens if and/or when T-Mobile’s combination with Sprint gets approved and executed, but Sprint until that time has to act as its own entity, and the plan is for the upgrades to stay put. The 5G part does require 5G-capable phones to use the 5G signal; Sprint will launch 5G phones this year, but it’s not saying anything more about that now.

    A spokesperson confirmed that Sprint is not using LTE Licensed Assisted Access (LTE-LAA), but T-Mobile is using LAA in Atlanta and elsewhere. The “uncarrier” has been a big proponent of LAA since it was first proposed, and it has deployed more than 300 small cells—most of them enabled by LAA—and 20 new DAS configurations throughout Atlanta.

    In fact, T-Mobile said Mercedes-Benz Stadium was updated with the highest capacity DAS on T-Mobile’s network, with 50% more capacity than the next largest stadium, and its first outdoor C-RAN system in the tailgating and events areas. C-RAN improves network performance in high-traffic scenarios and can even extend the battery life on smartphones, T-Mobile said.

    Of course, all the major carriers tend to use the Super Bowl to strut their latest stuff. Last year, Verizon made a memorable 5G splash when then-CEO Lowell McAdam conducted a video call from Minneapolis to Korea Telecom CEO Chang-Gyu Hwang in Seoul, Korea, using prototype 5G tablets.

    As for AT&T, its enhancements supported the use of more than 7.2 terabytes of data in and around U.S. Bank Stadium during last year’s big game.

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    https://business.sprint.com/blog/new...assive-signal/

    With new MIMO, you get massive in and massive out

    With Massive MIMO and 5G, enterprises will realize better indoor coverage, maximum flexibility outdoors, and the ability to handle greater volumes of data. Businesses in Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles, will be among the first to experience the benefits of Massive MIMO.

    Among the many elements carrying us toward the high-speed, low-latency world of 5G is an approach called Massive MIMO.

    The “massive” tag is less about physical size – a good thing in our ever-shrinking-hardware world – and more about capability. Massive MIMO (multiple input/multiple output) is all about maximizing antenna arrays on wireless radios in order to boost signals, capacity, and reach and enable providers to deliver the 5G performance that enterprises are hungering for.

    A good way to picture this is to think of your home Wi-Fi router. A router with a single antenna can only do so much, but with additional antennas, you can achieve better control over the signals and direct them appropriately to different user positions.

    MIMO is far from a new technology, but the advancements are in the ability to add so many antennas to radios on cell towers – and mix in the all-important ingredient of beamforming technology – to accomplish the objective of high data rates and low latency.

    Typically, cell towers provide line-of-sight communication, enabling strong signals without eating up too much battery energy in your handset. But the laws of physics do tend to get in the way of trying to deliver higher capacity and low latency. It takes more power to do that, both at the tower and in your handset. That means higher costs for service providers and faster battery discharge for you.

    Shifting the signal

    Massive MIMO offers a way to get around some of these limitations. The secret is in the combination of beamforming technology with up to 128 antennas, an amazing concentration in a small piece of radio equipment. Although it’s called beamforming technology, it’s really more like beam-shifting. What happens is the antennas can target a signal beam toward a user who may not be right on the center axis of the fixed beam.

    Through focused energy and some complicated math, the beam can be redirected and make it possible to reach more users with improved signal strength and in essence create more capacity.

    Dynamic and adaptive beamforming with massive MIMO enables constant targeting of mobile users regardless of their speeds and horizontal or vertical movement. The capability of using massive MIMO-based beamforming is independent of user application or direction of data.


    The importance of 2.5 GHz

    It happens that 2.5 GHz is a “sweet spot” for Massive MIMO deployment, which is why you are seeing so much commentary from Sprint. We own the bulk of the 2.5 GHz spectrum, and we own it in a contiguous block that maximizes channel flexibility.

    With 2.5 GHz, it is possible to put so many small – about 1.5-by-1.5-inch – antennas in a radio set that has a total footprint of about two by two feet, or the size of an extra-large pizza box. If you tried to do that with 600 MHz transmission, the antenna array would be the size of a small automobile. Compactness maximizes space efficiency not only on traditional cell towers, but also on the microsites that will be added to boost coverage in hard-to-reach areas.

    At frequencies other than 2.5 GHz, Massive MIMO can be achieved through the use of millimeter wave technology, which is a fine technology but one that doesn’t propagate very far. 2.5 GHz, especially when the available spectrum is contiguous, offers an optimal convergence of capacity and coverage in order to deliver the best 5G results.

    Beginning in April, Sprint will start to deploy Massive MIMO in three markets – Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles – with Atlanta, Houston, and Washington, D.C., following later this year, and scores more after that.

    The bottom line is that Massive MIMO offers maximum flexibility outdoors, better coverage indoors, and the ability to leverage the spectrum to allow for greater volumes of data. All the promises of 5G, delivered. Frankly, 4G LTE is already fast, but 5G will take that up a notch. A big notch. Thank you, Massive MIMO.

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    I'm not surprised they have a lot of small cells in Atlanta

    Sent from my SM-G965U1 using Tapatalk

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    Super Bowl host cities are fortunate in that most of these improvements are permanent.

    Extra small cells, density, backhaul and macros are always awesome. This is great for local Sprint (and one day) T-Mobile subs who live in the area.
    “The Internet wasn’t meant to be metered in bits and bytes, so it’s insane that wireless companies are still making you buy it this way. The rate plan is dead — it’s a fossil from a time when wireless was metered by every call or text.” John Legere 1/5/2017

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    Quote Originally Posted by @TheRealDanny View Post
    Super Bowl host cities are fortunate in that most of these improvements are permanent.

    Extra small cells, density, backhaul and macros are always awesome. This is great for local Sprint (and one day) T-Mobile subs who live in the area.
    Why would TMobile keep and use the Sprint small cells under the merger?

    Sent from my SM-G965U1 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by thotguy31 View Post
    Why would TMobile keep and use the Sprint small cells under the merger?

    Sent from my SM-G965U1 using Tapatalk
    For capacity and a denser grid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by @TheRealDanny View Post
    For capacity and a denser grid.
    Really a win win for both Tmobile and Sprint customers. Plus the new company will have the financial muscle to push both AT&T and Verizon to try and stay ahead so their customers win also imo.

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