Chinese telecoms equipment maker ZTE Corporation unveiled its Pre5G Ultra Dense Network (UDN) system on day 4 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, claiming it can solve today’s network problems can provide continuity until 5G arrives.
The Pre5G UDN works with existing networking models with a brief to improve the user experience by getting the best out of the network through a number of techniques. These include interference management, suppression, mobility enhancement and other capacity optimising technologies.
The equipment solves the problem of increasing interference between base stations caused by overlapping cells in dense networks. As mobile operators build out their networks to increase coverage, cell overlap is becoming a regular occurrence and diminishing the return on investment, according to ZTE. One of the answers to congestion is the system frequency multiplexing used by the Pre5G UDN, which ZTE claims will substantially boost the capacity and efficiency of the network capacity. According to its own tests, downstream rates can experience ten fold increases in areas that had previously been hampered by cell overlap.
Pre5G uses core 5G technologies to deliver a near 5G user experience and is compatible with commercial long-term evolution (LTE) user equipment, says ZTE. This, it claims, makes it the ideal stopgap for network builders between now 2020, when 5G networks are expected to roll out. By using the mobile operators’ existing sites and spectrum resources, Pre5G could solve a lot of capacity problems now and provide a safe migration path to 5G.
The equipment uses massive multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO), UDN and Multi-User Shared Access (MUSA) which, says ZTE, are the technologies best suited to solving the three major problems mobile operators and network builders will face in the next five years. ZTE first started testing the technology in November 2014, with a pre-commercial try out of the world’s first Pre5G base station based on Massive MIMO. In early 2015, ZTE released the first Pre5G commercial base station. To date, ZTE has completed pre-commercial field tests with a number of global operators, including China Mobile.
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