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Massive MIMO – Practical Considerations and Complexity Drivers February 11, 2019

The purpose of this blog is to provide an explanation on the fundamental drivers for Massive MIMO system performance and complexity. The resulting performance vs cost trade-off continues to be the main challenge to make these systems commercially viable for cellular networks operating in sub-6 GHz spectrum.

Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) technology, using multiple antennas at each communication node, has been applied successfully in 4G LTE to increase the network capacity as compared to systems with a single antenna at each node called Single-Input Single-Output (SISO). While a typical LTE deployment uses two cross polarized antennas (2T2R, 2×2 MIMO), LTE specifications in 3GPP Release 10 allow up to eight transmit and receive antennas (8T8R, 8×8 MIMO). 

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Why Does Spectral Efficiency Matter? Thomas Cheng & Antti Keintola, Blue Danube Systems July 23, 2018

When we decide on an internet service provider we mainly care about monthly price and service speed. For example, in the US an internet service provider offers 150 Mbps for $55/month and 250 Mbps for $69/month. The more you pay, the faster service you’ll get. This is not necessarily true for the mobile internet service as the speed of wireless cellular service cannot be guaranteed. The speed depends on how far a user is from the cell tower, indoors or outdoors, wireless spectrum bandwidth, and how many other users are sharing the service at the same time. The wireless internet speed clearly matters to consumers and many of us have seen TV commercials talking about how one cellular network is better than another. Companies such as RootMetrics, Ookla and others have also made it easy to understand and compare mobile network performance. In this blog, we will discuss the factors affecting wireless internet speeds: signal quality, wireless spectrum bandwidth and mobile traffic demand or load, using a simple analogy and then extend the discussion to show how a mobile network operator can improve network performance and measure the improvement using the existing Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Read More

Is TM9 a Prerequisite for 3D Beamforming? Thomas Cheng, Blue Danube Systems June 11, 2018

Recently there has been a lot of buzz on a new LTE mode called TM9 and how it is related to User Specific (UE) 3D beamforming. 3D beamforming is the ability to form and direct antenna patterns in both vertical and horizontal directions to each UE or device.  Let us first explore what TM9 is, and why people often mistaken it as a prerequisite for 3D beamforming, a prelude to Massive MIMO deployment.

What is TM9?

TM9 (Transmission Mode 9) is a standard transmission mode defined by 3GPP.  This transmission mode can greatly improve the data transmission to mobile phones by creating beams specific to each UE. This is accomplished by high resolution channel sounding and feedback enabled by TM9 transmission mode.  TM9-capable UEs report high resolution channel status to the network which is then used to form dedicated beams for data transmission to the targeted UE. Typical deployment with passive antennas can only form beams in the Azimuth plane called 2D-beamforming. Active antenna systems implemented as a planar array allows beams to be shaped in both Azimuth and Elevation plane. This is called 3D-beamforming. 3D-beamforming allows UEs to be better targeted thus improving the reliability of the link with higher Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR). Read More

Massive Expectations for Massive MIMO Antti Keintola, Blue Danube Systems May 23, 2018

Ever growing data consumption is a major challenge for mobile network operators. While more and more consumers are transferring more and more data, higher data speeds required for good quality video streaming and advanced online applications are becoming harder to achieve.

Radio frequency spectrum is a scarce and often expensive resource, and along with cellular equipment sites, they certainly are the most important assets to the mobile network operators. Using these assets as efficiently as possible enables mobile network operators to deliver better service and experience to their customers.

Traditionally, the industry’s standard response to capacity demand is to introduce new technologies and new frequency bands. While 5G promises higher data rates, lower response times and higher capacity, it also requires mobile network operators to invest in new network infrastructure and acquire new, potentially expensive spectrum. Furthermore, consumers will need to upgrade their mobile phones to new models. In other words, the whole ecosystem needs to be uplifted to reap the benefits of 5G, and that can take several years. Read More

Cellular Network Performance vs Complexity Chris Ng & Mihai Banu, Blue Danube Systems February 22, 2018

Fundamental Tradeoffs in the Design of Cellular

The evolution of wide-area cellular networks has been a tug of war between connecting more users and providing more services on one side and managing costs on the other side. One of the most important factors on the side of users and services is the degrees of freedom of the network, i.e., the maximum simultaneous streams of information transmitted or received in the network. Cellular systems have witnessed a steady increase in the network degrees of freedom from spatial reuse, new allocation of spectrum, and the use of multiple antennas otherwise known as MIMO. The other side is cost effectiveness. To make the wide-area network economically viable, a critical hallmark of cellular architecture is the strategically centralized management of complexity. A macro cellular base station is designed to serve many users and thereby justifies the relatively high capital and operating costs. Small cells are another approach to increase the network degrees of freedom; however, their high operating expenses (e.g., backhaul, site acquisition/rent and equipment maintenance) remain an obstacle to wide market adoption. 
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US telcos asked to rip out Huawei and replace it with a quandary Mike Dano, Editorial Director June 10, 2020

The FCC is asking Congress for $2 billion to finance the removal of all Huawei equipment from some rural US wireless networks.

But that’s the easy part.

The much, much harder question – one that has not yet been answered by the commission – is how to replace Huawei’s equipment with equipment from “trusted” suppliers. What is a “trusted” supplier, after all? And who gets to decide that?

Those are the issues that are under debate at the FCC right now.  Read More

Open vRAN Ecosystem – Enabling a Better Mobile Architecture Bob Everson, Cisco September 12, 2018

We launched the Open vRAN Ecosystem in February of this year with a vision to accelerate the viability and adoption of open virtualized RAN (vRAN) solutions and ensure their extension into a broader network architecture. We’ve had a busy six months architecting and building solutions, executing operator demos and trials, helping to define open interfaces and management, building business models to compare costs of various solutions, partnering with the UK government to help address the digital divide with 5G, and much more. There’s more to come on many of those items. In this update we’ll focus primarily on our activities around this week’s MWC Americas show in Los Angeles. Read More

Reducing Cell Edge Interference with Massive MIMO Thomas Cheng, Product Manager, Blue Danube and Paul Denisowski, Application Engineer, Rohde & Schwarz September 10, 2018

Improving user experience for today’s LTE and future 5G networks

One of the biggest challenges faced by network operators is a phenomenon known as Cell Edge Interference, which occurs where adjacent cell towers direct radio frequencies (RF) across their target areas and those RF signals overlap with signals from other cell towers. At the cell edge, end user performance is significantly and negatively impacted. Moreover, because of the density of tower distribution in some areas, cell edge interference can impact as much as 30% of the total area covered by the cell towers in a cluster. That means that users are experiencing reduced network performance in third of the area covered. Read More

Equipment vendors focus on smaller antennas for 5G Martha DeGrasse February 18, 2018

Everything we hear about 5G sounds big: massive MIMO, gigabits per second, terabytes of data. Network operators know they need to support all this without commensurate increases in the size of wireless equipment. That’s why they’re focused on hardware solutions that enable new technologies in smaller form factors. Read More

EE Times Silicon 60: Startups to Watch Silicon 60 v18.0 Peter Clarke November 14, 2017

It has been a year since EE Times produced a version 17.1 of the Silicon 60.

And whereas IoT was flavor of the year in 2016 then in 2017 it is machine learning and open-source hardware. It has also been revealed that venture capitalists have returned to investing in hardware startups — and that tends to mean big money — preparing to ride the next wave of computational architecture and performance.

Many of these startup companies aspire to be the next Intel or ARM — even as Intel and ARM are heading up the food chain towards the subsystem and system. Read More

Shentel MIMO Trial Yields Up to 5x Wireless Bandwidth Boost Joan Engebretson February 19, 2017

A new technology known as massive MIMO has the potential to help urban and rural wireless carriers substantially improve the performance of current mobile infrastructure through an antenna change.

In a recent Shentel MIMO trial in Woodstock, Va, the regional wireless carrier saw massive MIMO technology yield bandwidth gains of up to 20 times for video traffic and up to five times for traffic overall without increasing power requirements, according to Blue Danube Systems, the massive MIMO developer whose technology was used in the trials. AT&T is an investor in Blue Danube Systems and also participated in a similar trial in St. Paul, Minn. Read More

AT&T, ShenTel trial FDD massive MIMO Kelly Hill February 16, 2017

AT&T and Shenandoah Telecommunications are both testing FDD massive multiple input-multiple output systems from Blue Danube Systems.

Blue Danube CEO Mark Pinto said that the tests represent the first commercial trials of FDD massive MIMO and that the two sites supported more than 10 terabytes of data over a three-month period. Read More

Blue Danube completes ‘industry-first’ massive MIMO trials Colin Gibbs February 16, 2017

Blue Danube Systems said it has completed the first commercial trials of its massive MIMO technology in licensed FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) LTE spectrum with AT&T and Shentel.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company—which was recognized as a member of the 2016 Fierce 15—said the tests were performed using an antenna “for advanced 3D beamforming,” which is designed to focus signal energy as needed. Carriers can use the technology to better serve high-demand areas, the company said, minimizing interference problems. Read More

LTE with “massive MIMO” shows 5x throughput Peter Clarke February 16, 2017

Blue Danube (Santa Clara, Calif.) is on a mission to boost the capacity of LTE wireless communications by the use of beam forming to support more sectors around a basestation. This could, in theory, provide much greater spectrum re-use and capacity, without going to higher frequencies and higher complexity of 5G communications. The trials have demonstrated a 20X increase in dynamic throughput for enhanced video user experience the company said. Read More

Blue Danube Reveals FDD Massive MIMO Trials with AT&T, Shentel Diana Goovaerts February 16, 2017

Mobile wireless access solutions company Blue Danube on Thursday revealed it has been running commercial trials of its new massive MIMO system on licensed frequency division duplex (FDD) LTE spectrum in collaboration with AT&T and Sprint subsidiary Shenandoah Telecommunications (Shentel).

Blue Danube claimed the trials mark the first commercial test of an FDD Massive MIMO system for deployment in current LTE networks. Read More

MWC Barcelona February 24, 2020 — February 27, 2020

MWC is the largest mobile event in the world, bringing together the latest innovations and leading-edge technologies.  Join Blue Danube in Hall 2, booth 2L10, to see our Coherent Massive MIMO solutions and demonstrations.  To schedule your meeting contact info@bluedanub.com.


CES January 7, 2020 — January 10, 2020

CES is the global stage for innovation and the world’s gathering place for the business of consumer technologies.  Join us in Las Vegas at the NXP booth, CP-18, to see Blue Danube’s Coherent Massive MIMO solutions and BeamPlanner™ demonstration.  To schedule your meeting contact info@bluedanube.com

4G/5G Antenna Evolution October 30, 2019 — November 1, 2019

Practicalities Assessing Massive MIMO, Beam Steering and System Advances

Join IWPC members in Edinburgh to share views on exploring the practicalities of 4G/5G and multi-band integration. Join Blue Danube on October 31 at 3:40pm when Dr. Mihai Banu will be discussing, “Achieving Mid-Band FDD Massive MIMO Capacity Gains.”

MWC 19 Los Angeles October 22, 2019 — October 24, 2019

On October 22 – 24, the mobile world will connect in Los Angeles, CA, for the annual MWC 19 conference. Join us in South Hall booth 1051 to see Blue Danube’s Coherent Massive MIMO solutions as well as our BeamPlanner and traffic sensing demonstrations.  To schedule meetings contact info@bluedanube.com



MWC Shanghai 2019 June 26, 2019 — June 28, 2019

On June 26, 2019, the mobile world will connect in Shanghai for MWC 19 Shanghai. Meet with Blue Danube to learn how we’re at the forefront of 5G wireless with our coherent Massive MIMO solutions.  To schedule your meeting contact us at info@bluedanube.com.

IEEE 5th World Forum on Internet of Things April 15, 2019 — April 18, 2019

The Internet of Things will be absolutely reliant on fast, efficient and reliable connectivity and communications. While developing new applications that offer consumers and organizations novel possibilities, it is important to ensure that the connectivity required for the application exists and is fit for purpose. For this reason the involvement of the community and industry working in the area of Advanced Communications and Connectivity is vital to ensure that the IoT succeeds.  Join Dr. Mihai Banu on Thursday, April 18, at 11 am, when he will discuss “Coherent Massive MIMO: Fundatmental Advantages and Implementation Challenges.”

Brooklyn 5G Summit 2019 April 23, 2019 — April 26, 2019

This year’s summit, “First year of the 5G era,” will be centered around an open conversation on the deployment experiences of 5G networks, and a discussion of key issues, including critical spectral and economic factors. The latest innovations in all domains, including 5G New Radio, Core and IoT technologies and network slicing will be highlighted, as well as, emerging technologies such as machine learning, Terahertz communication, non-terrestrial networks, ultra-reliable low latency and private networks. .  See Blue Danube’s latest Coherent Massive MIMO innovations and demo in the exhibit hall.

Antenna Evolution Towards 5G September 24, 2018 — September 27, 2018

Exploring Massive MIMO, Beam Steering and Advanced Antenna Systems

Join IWPC members in Paris to share views on the potential for 5G antenna deployment on legacy sites, new vertical market requirements, Internet of Things (IoT) and other connected technology use-cases.  Join Blue Danube on September 25 at 4:00 pm when Dr. Mihai Banu will be discussing,  “Lessons Learned from Commercial Deployment with Multi-site Cluster of RF Coherent Massive MIMO Antennas.”

MWC Americas September 12, 2018 — September 14, 2018

On September 12-14, the mobile world will connect in Los Angeles, CA for the second annual MWC Americas. Please see Blue Danube’s coherent Massive MIMO solution in the Cisco meeting space, S2.303B and the RFS meeting room, W2.512 A&B.  To schedule meetings contact info@bluedanube.com.

IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, Santa Clara Valley Chapter August 8, 2018

Join the IEEE SCV CAS at 7:00pm at Cypress Semiconductors to hear Dr. Mihai Banu, CTO of Blue Danube Systems, discussing “Massive MIMO Active Antenna Arrays for Advanced Wireless Applications.” You can also attend the live broadcast via Zoom conference.  You do not need to be an IEEE member to attend.


Blue Danube Systems Enables First Broadband Access with Phased Arrays from the Stratosphere on High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – November 8, 2021 Blue Danube Systems, a provider of intelligent wireless access solutions that help mobile operators address the challenge of explosive data growth, is announcing today that its 3D beamforming radio systems have been used to provide the first broadband communications from the stratosphere to cellular users on the ground. Blue Danube’s BeamCraft™ 500 was launched and operated on an unmanned stratospheric platform as part of a project in New Mexico led by Sceye, a material science company and HAPS manufacturer, on Saturday, October 30. Read More

Blue Danube Systems Delivers Industry First Beam-Based Traffic Sensing Solution for Commercial Deployment

Company Expands Software Offerings with BeamMaster™, a Cloud-Based Machine Learning Platform for Beam-Based Traffic Sensing and Deployment in Wireless Networks

Santa Clara, Calif. – October 16, 2019Blue Danube Systems, a provider of mobile wireless access solutions that significantly and cost-effectively increases network capacity, announced today the availability of  BeamMaster™, a cloud-based platform with advanced RAN optimization and management functions to help mobile operators maximize their network resources and deliver the best user experience. Building on top of Blue Danube’s BeamPlanner™, the industry’s first beam-based optimization platform, BeamMaster expands the platform’s capabilities to account for real-time user traffic detection and hotspot pattern recognition.  The combined solution precisely detects a single user or a cluster of users within one degree of accuracy, enabling operators to identify and dynamically serve traffic hotspots. Read More

Blue Danube Systems and Redline Communications Announce Collaboration to Introduce 3D Beamforming in Private LTE/5G Markets

  • Delivering agile beamforming solutions to the world’s most challenging RF environments
  • Combined product solution is being deployed at an existing industrial LTE site in Q4

SANTA CLARA, CA, USA and TORONTO, ON, CANADA. – October 16, 2019 Blue Danube Systems, a provider of mobile wireless access solutions that significantly and cost effectively increase network capacity and Redline Communications, a leading-edge provider of industrial wireless broadband network connectivity solutions for mission-critical applications, today announced a strategic collaboration to deploy 3D beamforming solutions in Private LTE/5G networks, meshing together each companies’ platforms and technologies. The companies have also announced plans for further research and development to advance integrated solutions to transform experiences in industrial deployments. Read More

Blue Danube Systems Expands Coherent Massive MIMO Portfolio with New TDD Solutions

  • Addition of TDD support provides complete market coverage for FDD and TDD in sub-6 GHz spectrum
  • First TDD commercial deployments targeted for 3.5 GHz/CBRS and 2.5 GHz

Santa Clara, Calif. – October 15, 2019Blue Danube Systems, a provider of mobile wireless access solutions that significantly and cost-effectively increase network capacity, announced today its first Coherent Massive MIMO solution for TDD networks. Building on the success of its FDD solutions which have delivered 2X to 3X capacity increase through simple retrofit on existing cell sites, Blue Danube’s TDD solution is expected to deliver similar performance gains that have not been possible to date in mobile environments.  Read More

Blue Danube Systems Coherent Massive MIMO Delivers Industry’s Highest Capacity Gains in Multiple Commercial Networks

  • First FDD Massive MIMO solution to deliver 2.5X capacity increase in live, highly loaded LTE networks.
  • First in the industry to demonstrate vertical beamforming to improve indoor coverage in high-rise buildings.
  • Expands technology capability to TDD LTE, starting with 2.5 and 3.5 GHz bands. 

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – February 21, 2019 Blue Danube Systems, a provider of intelligent wireless access solutions that help mobile operators address the challenge of explosive data growth, is today announcing significant results from multiple new FDD deployments in commercial networks with live traffic. These multi-unit installations show more than 2.5 times higher cellular capacity and significantly increased user throughputs for both legacy LTE terminals as well as new generation smartphones. Read More

Blue Danube Systems Expands Operations in India and Welcomes Sundeep Raina to the Global Sales Management Team

  • Raina brings over 19 years of telecommunications business experience
  • Company’s first expansion of its global sales team to India

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – February 21, 2019 Blue Danube Systems, a provider of intelligent wireless access solutions that help mobile operators address the challenge of explosive data growth, is announcing that Sundeep Raina has joined the company as the Country Sales Director of India. Mr. Raina joins Blue Danube with over 19 years of industry experience in telecommunications equipment sales and key account management most recently with ZTE Corporation and previously at Ericsson India. Mr. Raina will be responsible for developing new business relationships, managing current engagements and sales expansion in India. He will be based in Mumbai close to Blue Danube’s customers and partners. Read More

Blue Danube Systems Enhances BeamPlanner™ Software Including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Capabilities

  • Enhanced simulation engine with 3D ray tracing module improves simulation accuracy to increase confidence in post-deployment performance expectations.
  • Deep learning functionality enables predictive beamforming with BeamCraft™ Coherent Massive MIMO products.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – February 21, 2019 Blue Danube Systems, a provider of intelligent wireless access solutions that help mobile operators address the challenge of explosive data growth, is today announcing new capabilities into its BeamPlanner™ cloud software suite. BeamPlanner is the world’s first network planning and optimization tool for beamforming antenna systems. With the new and enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) functionalities, BeamPlanner becomes the automated platform for network-wide operation of Blue Danube’s Coherent Massive MIMO systems.

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Richardson, TX – October 8, 2018 – Mavenir, focused on transforming mobile network economics for communications service providers (CSPs), is announcing an Open RAN partner ecosystem that provides more options and makes it easy for operators to deploy an innovative, flexible Cloud-based Open RAN solution.   Mavenir will act as the End-to-End systems integrator simplifying the engagement for operators and creating an offering that is on par with the traditional, hardware centric proprietary vendors.

Ecosystem partners include MTI, Tecore Networks, Baicells, NEC, AceAxis, KMW, Benetel, CommScope, Blue Danube Systems and Airrays.

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Blue Danube Systems First to Demonstrate Benefits of FDD Massive MIMO in Clustered Multi-Sector Deployments

2X capacity improvement achieved over entire coverage area, eliminating edge interference as a major barrier to large scale network adoption


SANTA CLARA, Calif. –February 22nd, 2018 Blue Danube Systems, a provider of intelligent wireless access solutions that help mobile operators address the challenge of explosive data growth, today announced it has successfully expanded the commercial deployment of its massive MIMO solution to multiple clustered cell sites, demonstrating total capacity improvements for directly adjoining sectors on existing LTE networks using current smartphones.

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Blue Danube Systems Joins xRAN Forum as a Massive MIMO System Supplier Fully Committed to Open Interfaces

Brings Unique Experience with FDD Network Deployments and Multi-Site RF Optimization


SANTA CLARA, Calif. – February 22, 2018 Blue Danube Systems, a provider of intelligent wireless access solutions that help mobile operators address the challenge of explosive data growth, today announced that it has joined the xRAN Forum (www.xran.org). The xRAN Forum was formed by several leading global mobile operators to develop, standardize and promote an open alternative to the traditionally closed, hardware-based RAN (Radio Access Network) architecture.

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