Understanding 5G Massive Mimo and why Reliance Jio, Airtel, others are putting their weight behind this tech

Consultation paper aims to scrutinise operators’ differential data tariff offers via select tie-ups with content providers
Consultation paper aims to scrutinise operators’ differential data tariff offers via select tie-ups with content providers

When it comes to internet speeds, “5G Massive Mimo” is the latest technology which the world awaits. Here is all you need to know about the future of the web

Sumit Chakraborty

India is fast evolving into a major technological hub of the world, but internet speed is still relatively slow when compared to other countries. Meanwhile, various telecom operators, as well as mobile makers, are trying to bring in the latest technology in terms of internet bandwidth in the country. When it comes to web speeds, “5G Massive Mimo” is the latest technology which the world awaits. According to an Economic Times report, major telecom companies like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular have started to work on preparing their network, so that they are ready when the 5G technology arrives in India. Wondering what is 5G Massive Mimo? Here is a quick explanation of the most exciting area in wireless technology:

What is Massive MIMO? To understand Massive MIMO, one must know about the smaller scale MIMO (multiple-input/multiple-output). The MIMO essentially deploys many antennas both at the source and the destination. This helps in increasing efficiency and reducing error in the network. Several wireless technology standards such as LTE, 802.11n (Wi-FI), 802.11ac (Wi-Fi), and more use MIMO as a basic element, that multiplies the antenna capacity. When it comes to the Massive MIMO, it takes the previous technology and multiplies it by hundreds. This means that a network will have thousands of antennae and destinations. These help in focussing the transmission and increase the levels of efficiency. While the idea to use so many antennae has been around for a long time now, but rarely any network provider uses it.

Problems with Massive MIMO implementation: While the technology seems easy to understand, its implementation is highly complicated. In order to deploy a system with hundreds and sometimes thousands of antennae, a company needs to have more advanced technology to increase nodal capacities. Several studies have discussed the importance of a sophisticated channel estimation when it comes to executing this technology. Currently, it is difficult to many low-cost components that work effectively. It is also tough to synchronise such huge number of terminals and also reduce energy consumption, in order to stay profitable. However, companies seem to be working on these aspects, and we can expect them to be ready when the 5G technology arrives.

What Massive MIMO means for 5G? According to various reports, the number of smartphone users all over the world is growing rapidly and in a couple of years, billions of users will take to technology in a big way. Add to this, newer and more innovative ideas coming tech companies leading to higher consumption of data. With self-driving cars, smart companies, 4K videos, and more coming in, the data consumption will rise exponentially. This also increases the need to have a wider and faster wireless connectivity, that can handle our hyper-connected future. This is where Massive MIMO comes in. It will help in getting better network reliability, energy efficiency, and coverage. When 5G internet speeds come in, Massie MIMO will help in cheap components, less latency, better data rate, and more.

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