November 27, 2021

Realizing 5G's two "Generals": MIMO Antenna and Carrier Aggregation

There are two technologies that make LTE-A much faster than previous generations: carrier aggregation and MIMO antennas. Neither of these is new technology, but it can play a very big role in realizing the potential of 5G.

What is 5G?

The fifth generation mobile phone mobile communication standard, also known as the fifth generation mobile communication technology, foreign language abbreviation: 5G. It is also an extension after 4G, and is under research, with a network speed of 5M/S - 6M/S.

Nokia partnered with Canadian operator Bell Canada to complete the testing of Canada's first 5G network technology. The test used a spectrum in the 73 GHz range, which is six times faster than the existing 4G network in Canada. In view of the cooperation between the two, it is very likely that Canada will launch a full deployment of 5G networks within five years.

Due to the rapid development of the Internet of Things, especially the Internet and other industries, it has higher requirements for network speed, which is undoubtedly an important factor driving the development of 5G networks. Therefore, both the Canadian government and the rest of the world are vigorously promoting the 5G network to meet the next wave of technology. However, from the current situation, it is estimated that 5G network will be 4 to 5 years away from commercial use.

What is carrier aggregation?

People are increasingly demanding data rates, and carrier aggregation (Carrier AggregaTIon, CA) is an inevitable choice for operators to face the future. What is carrier aggregation? To put it simply, the fragmented LTE bands are combined into a "virtual" wider band to increase the data rate.

The CA technology can aggregate 2 to 5 LTE component carriers (CCs) to achieve a transmission bandwidth of up to 100 MHz, which effectively increases the uplink and downlink transmission rates. The terminal determines that up to several carriers can be used for uplink and downlink transmission according to the size of its own capabilities. The carrier aggregation function CA function can support continuous or non-contiguous carrier aggregation, and the maximum resource that can be used per carrier is 110 RBs. Each user uses a separate HARQ entity on each carrier, and each transport block can only be mapped to a particular carrier. The PDCCH channels above each carrier are independent of each other, and the design of the R8 version can be reused, and the PDCCH of each carrier is used to allocate resources for the PDSCH and PUSCH channels of each carrier. The CIF domain may also be used to schedule uplink and downlink resource allocation of multiple carriers by using a PDCCH channel on one carrier. Operators in different regions of the world will have different LTE spectrum allocations, and therefore there will be different carrier aggregation frequency band requirements. At present, there are a lot of carrier aggregation band combinations in the 3GPP RAN4 group, which are mainly discussed to determine the radio frequency indicators that need to be met by base stations and terminals when working in different CA band combinations.

For its part, carrier aggregation increases the download speed by receiving signals from multiple local base stations, rather than just receiving signals from the base station with the strongest nearby signal. The amount of data that can be transmitted after these different bands are brought together is greatly increased. In the LTE-A technology, five bandwidth carrier units of up to 20 MHz can be aggregated into a single 100 MHz single carrier.

The frequency band is a global shortage of resources, and most mobile telecommunications companies have already utilized the frequencies they can use. As a result, their frequency bands are rarely continuous. Fortunately, carrier aggregation not only allows mobile operators to increase their data transmission rates, but also allows them to splicing different frequency bands together. Carrier aggregation will become even more important when 5G services enter the more crowded wireless world in five years.

What is MIMO?

The MIMO (MulTIple-Input MulTIple-Output) technology refers to using a plurality of transmitting antennas and receiving antennas at the transmitting end and the receiving end respectively, so that signals are transmitted and received through multiple antennas at the transmitting end and the receiving end, thereby improving communication quality. It can make full use of space resources and realize multiple transmission and multi-receiver through multiple antennas. It can double the system channel capacity without increasing the spectrum resources and antenna transmission power, showing obvious advantages and being regarded as the next generation mobile. The core technology of communication.

It's like replacing a single-lane country road with a highway. The current MIMO application method usually uses three or four antennas on both the transmitting end and the receiving end. If tens or even hundreds of antennas are used at both ends, the download rate will be greatly improved and the available frequency bands will be utilized more efficiently.

Today's wireless devices use a crowded 700MHz to 2.6GHz channel range. This is not to say that after the launch of 5G, the channels used by today's 4G and even 3G networks will be vacant. Mobile operators will continue to provide traditional services to millions of users who do not immediately upgrade to the latest devices, which may not upgrade devices for several years.

The most likely scenario is that 5G will be transferred from today's UHF (UHF) band to the SHF (Ultra High Frequency) band between 3GHz and 30GHz, even the EHF (Ultra High Frequency) band between 30GHz and 300GHz. . These bands are currently used for satellite television, microwave relay links, air traffic radar, radio astronomy and amateur radio.

5G technology will require a base station closer to the user than the current cell phone signal tower. This is already a trend that is happening. So far, microcells have been used mainly in buildings to solve the problem of poor signal of mobile phones. In order to process 5G data, hundreds of microcellular access points need to be deployed in the blank space between existing mobile phone base stations. These small antenna boxes will be installed on the pillars of the streetlights or in the building. Almost no one will notice them, and no one will object to the installation. The new mobile phone signal towers are often different.

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