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In what the companies call a stepping stone to 5G, Verizon and Ericsson teamed up to complete their first deployment of Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) Massive MIMO on Verizon’s wireless network in Irvine, Calif.

The deployment ran on a 20 MHz block of AWS spectrum and utilized 16 transceiver radio units driving an array of 96 antenna elements from Ericsson.

The companies said the achievement will enhance both spectral and energy efficiency and increase network capacity for current devices. Customers will benefit from higher and more consistent data usage speeds.

“While continuing to drive 5G development, the deployment of Massive MIMO offers very tangible benefits for our customers today. As we innovate, we learn and continue to lay the groundwork and set the standards for 5G technology,” Nicola Palmer, chief network officer of Verizon Wireless, commented in a statement. “Our collaboration with Ericsson on this new deployment continues to drive industry-wide innovation and advancements.”

According to the companies, the higher number of transmitters involved in Massive MIMO allows for more possible signal paths, as well as beamforming which drastically cuts down on interference.

“Massive MIMO is a key technology enabler for 5G, but already today, 4G LTE service providers and end users can benefit from the superior capacity and network performance this technology enables," Niklas Heuveldop, head of market area North America at Ericsson, noted. “The current trial is an important step in the collaboration we have with Verizon to prepare their network for 5G.”

 

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