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Dual-band Massive MIMO radio combines high performance with deployment flexibility

Dual-band Massive MIMO combines high performance with deployment flexibility

With around 1.5 billion users worldwide already, the adoption of 5G has been faster than any of the previous generations of radio networks, including 4G. GSMA forecasts that 5G will become the dominant mobile technology during the second half of the decade.   

Since the first launches in 2019, there have been many important developments in the 5G space – in particular, the allocation of the mid-band frequency range was a true game changer, enabling operators to provide significantly higher throughput and paving the way for 5G Standalone networks.

Spectrum allocations in the TDD mid-band involve much higher bandwidths than in the sub-3 GHz range, however, the allocations can be non-contiguous. This drives the need for high-bandwidth radio products. For example, in the 3GPP band n78 (3.3 to 3.8 GHz), radios with instantaneous bandwidths of up to 400 MHz are required to cater to the needs of the fragmented spectrum and radio access network (RAN) sharing between operators.

In the U.S. market, a major milestone was the auction and allocation of the C-Band spectrum (3.7 to 3.98 GHz) in early 2021. In the same year, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) also auctioned spectrum known as the 3.45G Band (3.45 to 3.55 GHz). Together, these auctions resulted in making available a significant amount of new mid-band bandwidth for 5G deployments, thereby boosting network performance and end-user experience. U.S. operators have since been rapidly deploying 5G network equipment to leverage their respective spectrum allocations. 

Massive MIMO radio solutions are essential to maximize 5G performance

Nokia launched the first single-band AirScale Osprey Massive MIMO products in time for North American operators to start rolling out their C-Band networks. We have since continued developing new radio solutions for different markets using our ReefShark System on Chip technology to deliver outstanding performance.

At Mobile World Congress 2023 in Barcelona, we introduced the latest additions to our AirScale Osprey portfolio, including the Osprey 64x2, a highly integrated dual-band 64TRX Massive MIMO radio that supports a whopping 530 MHz instantaneous bandwidth and covers both the entire U.S. C-Band and the 3.45G Band. We received the formal FCC certification right after the product launch. Today, the market-leading Osprey 64x2 is already deployed in AT&T’s commercial network and carrying 5G commercial traffic in both blocks of spectrum.

Dual-band Massive MIMO radios bring tangible benefits to operators 

These high-bandwidth products help reduce deployment costs, the site rental cost as well as the overall TCO, by reducing the number of boxes deployed. They can also help accelerate the rollout of 5G in dense-urban areas where there are often constraints in deploying multiple radios, especially on crowded sites. Additionally, Osprey 64x2 has a high RF power output of 480W, which provides excellent coverage in both bands, enabling larger inter-site distances and better in-building performance. 

Today’s 5G networks are a solid foundation for the further evolution of mobile networks to 5G-Advanced and beyond, which will enable new advanced use cases and revenue streams. At Nokia, we invest in the development of industry-leading radio products to help our customers stay at the forefront of this exciting evolution. 

Visit our Massive MIMO radio products webpage for more information.

Mark Atkinson

About Mark Atkinson

Mark Atkinson heads Radio Access Networks within Nokia Mobile Networks Business Group. Mark is responsible for System Product Management, Global Sales Development and Product Marketing and he carries the Business Management (P&L) responsibility for Nokia’s Radio Access Networks portfolio, including hardware, software and services.

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