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5G Transport - A 2023 Heavy Reading Survey 2023 Open RAN Operator Survey Coherent Optics at 100G, 400G, and Beyond Open RAN Platforms and Architectures Operator Survey Cloud Native 5G Core Operator Survey Bridging the Digital Divide 5G Network Slicing Operator Survey Open, Automated & Programmable Transport The Journey to Cloud Native
In 2G, 3G, 4G, operators had varying portfolios of spectra and capital but the motivating application was mobile phone service.
Massive MIMO fits as part, but only part, of 5G. It tends to have a higher impact when used in frequencies above about 2 GHz. The higher up in frequency, as a general rule, the smaller the individual antenna elements and closer they can be packed within the arrays. Signals also travel in more of a straight line with less interference because they can be more cleanly beamed despite the tendency to bounce more off of solid objects. That makes for good use of Massive MIMO in 2.5-2.6GHz Band 41 help by Sprint. However, that alone cannot fill in the needs for the building of competitive 5G networks.
5G is no single band or single prescription of multiple bands. Rather, it is a long in development tiered network access system combined with network and user devices that implement multiple bands and multiple carrier band path radios and the supporting signal processing. M-MIMO can't defy laws of physics to bend high-frequency signals around hills and buildings. M-MIMO works best in combination with massively distributed, multiple-tiered band networks that use large numbers of smallcells.
Take a look back at Sprint's 'Network Vision' presentations: they look eerily similar to those of Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei for how to build a 5G network: use lower bands for coverage, mid-band for a combo of coverage and bandwidth, and high-band for xHaul and Gigabit wireless. This is what is now proposed by New T-Mobile except that it takes what has been a futile effort by Sprint to use a preponderance of mid-band using M-MIMO and every other thing to make use of T-Mobiles broadband allocations (10x10 MHz or greater) to fulfill the coverage layer at low deployment cost and the greater simplicity, rapidity and low service cost.
Massive MIMO has been part of 4G-Advanced the makes better commercial sense as part of the expanded universe of 5G spectra and applications. It has not been a game changer for Sprint. It will be a part of what helps New T-Mobile change the competitive mix as one of the network layers. The deployment and applications environment changes due to the combination more than the individual piece of technology.