Industry’s First FDD LTE Massive MIMO Commercial Trials Conducted with Shentel and AT&T

Blue Danube Systems have announced that they have completed the first commercial trials of their Massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) system in the licensed FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) LTE spectrum. These industry-first trials were conducted with Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel) and AT&T, an investor in Blue Danube Systems and who supported over 10TB of data during a three-month period.

These trials were conducted using Blue Danube’s BeamCraft™ 500 active antenna product for advanced 3D beamforming, which is capable of delivering a record 160W of transmit power for a Massive MIMO system. Based on its underlying High Definition Active Antenna System (HDAAS™) technology, the 96 element BeamCraft 500 can intelligently and seamlessly focus signal energy where it is needed, allowing wireless carriers to better serve high demand areas and minimize interference zones.

Through a simple retrofit of the existing antenna with a BeamCraft 500 unit at the trial sites, an improvement of 2X to 5X in throughput was demonstrated for users in high traffic demand areas for the same transmit power as the legacy installation. Additionally, users received up to 20X improvement in instantaneous video throughput and experienced smooth 1080p HD videos in locations where existing systems were stalling and previously only capable of 144p. A second phase of trials is now ongoing to test additional operational modes and traffic scenarios.

This is the first ever commercial test of an FDD Massive MIMO system for deployment in current LTE networks. So far, over 85% of the commercial LTE networks have adopted the FDD air interface and these first HDAAS™ trials have demonstrated an effective capacity solution for these markets. Blue Danube is also developing additional HDAAS™ products for additional spectrum bands and TDD (Time Division Duplex) LTE operation to support several trials in Europe, Australia and North America in the first half of 2017.

With these results from the industry’s first FDD Massive MIMO trials in a live commercial network, Blue Danube’s BeamCraft 500 active antenna product has demonstrated a commercially viable Massive MIMO product that will improve spectrum efficiency for the 4G evolution as well as 5G by offering significant gains in wireless data rates and link reliability, allowing for data consumption from more users in a dense area without consuming any more radio spectrum or causing interference.