As the demand for throughput, improved user experience and ubiquitous coverage from consumers and corporations continues to grow, operators are quickly improving and expanding coverage and capacity in their wireless network in a cost-effective way. Recent technology developments have made advanced antenna systems (AASs) a viable option for large scale deployments in existing 4G and 5G mobile networks. AASs enable state-of-the-art beamforming and multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) techniques that are powerful tools for improving end-user experience, capacity and coverage. These advances have brought mmWave communications, untenable almost two decades 1 ago, to manageable today.
The goal of this paper is to clarify why AAS is being commercialized now, to describe AAS and how it works, and to explain the relevant complexity/performance drivers. Finally, this paper examines how AAS is used in real deployments, for both sub-6 GHz and mmWave, and which AAS parameters impact performance in different environments.