NEC Corporation (TSE: 6701) has successfully transmitted digital beamforming with a massive-element active antenna base station system that supports a 28 GHz band for 5G communications.
This is the first time simultaneous beamforming transmission (four multi-user MIMO) from a single massive-element active antenna system (AAS) to four terminals has succeeded(1). In this test, NEC achieved a 3.1 Gbps cell throughput by applying a frequency bandwidth of 300 MHz.
NEC's massive-element AAS, supporting a 28 GHz band, adopts a fully digital control system, which improves the precision of beamforming. The fully digital control system enables simultaneous beamforming in multiple directions from a single massive-element AAS unit and efficiently implements high-speed and high-capacity communication without interfering with adjacent users through spatial multiplexing.
In contrast, analog control systems require the installation of the same number of massive-element AASs as the number of beams, creating the issue of a larger footprint.
This digital control system is also capable of beamforming that takes into account multi-path, a non-direct wave signal, and moderately adjusts beam directions to implement high-quality communication. This is in addition to beamforming that cancels out interference through multi-path and reduces performance deterioration caused by inter-cell interference.
Fully digital control systems traditionally require a number of digital/analog signal and frequency converters. This generally increases power consumption, capacity and cost for the entire system. NEC, however, has successfully developed a massive-element AAS that adopts a fully digital control system with less power and more compact conversion functions through NEC's original technology.
Katsumi Tanoue, Deputy General Manager, Wireless Access Solution Division, NEC Corporation noted that, moving forward, NEC will continue its efforts in development and demonstration tests for a massive-element active antenna base station system that delivers high speed, high capacity and massive connectivity.