MaxLinear Partners with Airgain on 64T64R Massive MIMO Radio Unit Reference Design

MaxLinear Partners with Airgain on 64T64R Massive MIMO Radio Unit Reference Design

MaxLinear, an industry leader in silicon solutions for 5G wireless infrastructure, has announced a key partnership with Airgain to develop a reference design for Massive MIMO Radio Units (RU) with improved spectrum reuse through the use of their respective high-performance technologies. The partnership pairs Airgain’s latest 64T64R antenna array with MaxLinear’s MXL1550 8T8R transceiver and innovative new AI/ML-powered beamforming algorithms in support of a growing global Massive MIMO market estimated to reach US$9.62B by 2026, according to Market Data Forecast. MaxLinear will be conducting briefings on MaxLinear’s radio solutions at Mobile World Congress – Hall 2, meeting rooms 2A2MR and 2A3MR – from February 27 through March 2, 2023.

As enterprise and consumer demand for faster and more reliable wireless service continue to explode, mobile operators must adopt new technologies to meet this ever-growing need. Massive MIMO radios, which use a much larger number of antennas, have yet to realize their full potential as the key radio technology that will dramatically increase wireless network capacity. However, while Massive MIMO RUs can theoretically improve spectral efficiency by up to 10X when compared with traditional Macro RUs, deployments to date have only shown a fraction of those benefits. This has caused some in the industry to question their true potential.

The Massive MIMO reference design developed in partnership by Airgain and MaxLinear seeks to address the performance deficits of current radios. The design will combine Airgain’s leading edge 5G antenna arrays and other wireless systems with MaxLinear’s highly integrated, power-efficient RAN transceiver silicon to create a radio hardware platform that will showcase innovative new Massive MIMO beamforming algorithms developed by MaxLinear using AI and ML improvement and optimization techniques.

“We believe there is a great opportunity through this key partnership to improve the performance of Massive MIMO radio units,” said Brendan Walsh, MaxLinear’s Vice President, Wireless Infrastructure. “The introduction of this new reference design will enable us to boost the adoption of high-performance, next-gen radio units, thereby improving 5G infrastructure.”

“Massive MIMO technologies have shown significant spectral efficiencies over MIMO systems,” says Dr. Ali Sadri, Chief Technology Officer at Airgain. “By combining the unique expertise of both Airgain and MaxLinear, we believe we can help customers experience the real benefit of Massive MIMO systems. We are thrilled to work with the team at MaxLinear to bring this exciting technology to market.”

About MaxLinear’s MXL1550 RF Transceiver

The MXL1550 is an 8T8R RF transceiver for wireless infrastructure radios. Its powerful combination of high integration, high performance, ultra-low power dissipation, and software-defined programmability makes it an optimal solution for 4G and 5G radio platforms. The MXL1550 device integrates eight transmitters (Tx), eight receivers (Rx), and two feedback receivers (FBRX). It supports up to 400MHz signal bandwidth and an RF frequency range from 680 to 5925MHz.

About Airgain’s 64T64R MIMO antenna array

Airgain’s MIMO antenna array operates from 3400 MHz to 3800 MHz, is one of the lightest on the market at only 2.4 kg and has excellent isolation at >22 dB. Some of its other unique features include:

  • It boasts wide scanning angles at AZ: ±45° / EL: ±4.6°
  • The array design enables digital beamforming in a two-dimensional fashion
  • 64T64R refers to 64 Transmit and 64 Receive antenna ports, combining a 3-element dual-polarized antenna subarray into 2 ports
  • It uses the subarray as a unit cell to create an 8 x 4 (row x column) macro array
  • It supports maximally 64 RF Transceiver units, and each is mapped to a port of subarray
  • The subarray uses two perpendicular polarizations to transmit/receive independent data streams
  • The subarray arrangement along the column leads to larger dimensions and provides more antenna gain and communication range

Click here to see everything RF's coverage of MWC Barcelona, 2023.

Publisher: everything RF