Future Wireless Networks Will Have No Capacity Limits According to New Research

Future Wireless Networks Will Have No Capacity Limits According to New Research

In a new study from researchers at Linkoping University, experts report that previous thoughts on MIMO technology have been proven to be incorrect, meaning that future wireless networks will not be limited by capacity. It was previously believed that there was a maximum to the amount of data that could be sent within certain bandwidths, spaces and over a period, even using the best antennas.

During the past five to ten years the research community has agreed that there is an upper limit to how much data can be transferred wirelessly per second, given a certain bandwidth and within a certain area. The limiting factor has been a type of disturbance that arises when measuring how the wireless signals travel, known by researchers as “pilot contamination”.

Massive MIMO antennas will allow unlimited and expansive streams of data to be communicated over the airwaves according to Emil Bjornson and his team of researchers at Linkoping University in Sweden. According to Bjornson, his research team has discovered that the capacity limit calculations used for the new antennas, expected to be used widely in the 5G standard are wrong.

“There is no upper limit for how much data can be transferred,” the researchers say. The wireless signal disturbance calculations that are used to project the amounts of data, called pilot contamination calculations, are flawed and can be junked, they say.By deploying more antennas and processing the signals that are transmitted and received from them in the right way, it’s possible to create a system in which there is no upper limit for how much data can be transferred.

Bjornson has presented the evidence for this in collaboration with colleagues in France and Italy in an article that has been published both in the open service Arxiv and in the IEEE digital service Xplore. The simulation code is also freely available at Github for anyone who doubts the results and wants to validate them.

Massive MIMO is an antenna technology considered to be the most promising for future superfast 5G networks. MIMO is an acronym for “Multiple Input, Multiple Output” and the technology involves connecting hundreds of small antennas, each with a power of around 10 mW, either in something that can resemble a large computer monitor or distributed across the façade of a building.

Doug Atkinson
Follow Doug