Mobile subscribers continue to demonstrate an insatiable demand for data. The next decade will experience the full impact of next generation 5G cellular networks with gigabit throughput, low-latency, and connectivity to billions of devices (IoT). The explosive demand for wireless access will surpass the data transfer capacity of existing broadband links.
Every cellular generation has offered new bands, lower latency, and faster data rates. What really defines wireless generations are the major technology shifts that set them apart. The transition from analog to digital communications marks the boundary between 1G and 2G. 3G introduced CDMA techniques for significant spectral efficiency gains. 4G LTE is nearly at the theoretical limits of wireless resource utilization, leaving little room for significant network improvement where frequency and time are the only free dimensions.
This paper will describe the benefits of electronic beamforming in 4G and 5G networks and compare two SDMA technologies: MU-MIMO and Holographic Beam Forming™ (HBF). Occasional reference will be made to conventional beamforming, i.e., phased array. Of them, HBF stands out as an excellent choice for the commercial market.