AT&T, Shentel Test Blue Danube MIMO

SANTA CLARA, Calif.– Blue Danube Systems, a provider of mobile wireless access solutions, today announced that it has completed first commercial trials of its Massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) system in licensed FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) LTE spectrum. These trials were conducted using Blue Danube’s BeamCraft 500 active antenna product for advanced 3D beamforming, which is capable of delivering a record 160W of transmit power for a Massive MIMO system. Based on its underlying High Definition Active Antenna System (HDAAS) technology, the 96 element BeamCraft 500 can intelligently and seamlessly focus signal energy where it is needed, allowing wireless carriers to better serve high demand areas and minimize interference zones. 

These industry-first trials were conducted with Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel) and AT&T, an investor in Blue Danube Systems, and supported over 10TB of data during a three-month period. Through a simple retrofit of the existing antenna with a BeamCraft 500 unit at the trial sites, an improvement of 2X to 5X in throughput was demonstrated for users in high traffic demand areas for the same transmit power as the legacy installation. Additionally, users received up to 20X improvement in instantaneous video throughput and experienced smooth 1080p HD videos in locations where existing systems were stalling and previously only capable of 144p. A second phase of trials is now ongoing to test additional operational modes and traffic scenarios.

This is the first commercial test of an FDD Massive MIMO system for deployment in current LTE networks. So far, over 85% of the commercial LTE networks have adopted the FDD air interface* and these first HDAAS trials have demonstrated an effective capacity solution for these markets. Blue Danube is also developing additional HDAAS products for additional spectrum bands and TDD (Time Division Duplex) LTE operation to support several trials in Europe, Australia and North America in the first half of 2017.

“Working together with AT&T and Shentel has allowed us to validate our HDAAS technology in live commercial network conditions,” said Mark Pinto, CEO of Blue Danube. “The results were consistent with our system performance simulations and the first FDD R&D trials we performed in 2Q’16, demonstrating that our product can be used as a low friction upgrade to existing LTE networks to improve capacity.”

“AT&T is committed to enabling next-generation mobile experiences by exploring leading-edge capabilities,” said Tom Keathley, Senior Vice President, Wireless Network Architecture & Design, AT&T. “The work we have done with Blue Danube to evaluate their beamforming technology in our live network supports this objective.”

“The versatility of this advanced antenna system has provided a dramatic performance improvement in our commercial network by dynamically increasing RF energy in problem areas without impacting neighboring sites,” said Willy Pirtle, Senior Vice President of Wireless for Shentel.



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