Saturday 15 February 2020

Verizon's Small Cells Start Paying Dividends

Pictures Source: Dr Jonathan L Kramer

In their recent investor meeting presentation, Verizon talked about many different approaches that have helped them keep pace with the increasing traffic.

While basic improvements like 256-QAM, 4x4 MIMO, Carrier Aggregation and CBRS/LAA have helped, other innovations like Interference Management Software has helped improve capacity.

Densification solutions include increasing number of small cells and more carriers per sector.

This chart above from the deck is a good summary of how different enhancements affect the LTE User Peak Throughput as well as the LTE Network Spectral Efficiency. According to the graph, this year they are planning to deploy FD-MIMO, a.k.a. Full-Dimension MIMO.

This research paper (link) on FD-MIMO provides an excellent overview of the topic. According to that "3GPP decided to use tens of antennas with a two dimensional (2D) array structure as a starting point. Full-Dimension MIMO (FD-MIMO), the official name for the MIMO enhancement in 3GPP, targets the system utilizing up to 64 antenna ports at the transmitter side."

This chart above is a good summary of how these enhancements have helped Verizon expand capacity to handle the increase of user traffic.

With regards to the small cells, the number of 5G small cells is expected to increase by at least 5 times this year to cope with the 5G traffic increase and coverage improvement. As Verizon has deployed mmWave spectrum for 5G, they will need significant number of smaller cells to provide coverage.

The tweet below shows an example of 5G Small Cell

Here is an interesting recent video from Verizon explaining small cells to their end users.

It would be interesting to see in the next few years how these small cells solve the coverage gap and handle the capacity need.

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