NEC & Analog Devices collaborate to provide 5G O-RAN massive MIMO radio for Rakuten Mobile

22 October 2020

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NEC Corporation & Analog Devices have announced their collaboration to design a 5G network massive MIMO antenna radio unit for Rakuten Mobile. The radio unit adopts ADI’s 4th-generation wideband RF transceiver solution to achieve high precision massive MIMO & possesses a 5G open vRAN (virtual RAN) interface corresponding to Rakuten Mobile’s end-to-end fully virtualised cloud-native mobile network.

It delivers large capacity transmission with high efficiency by using 3.7GHz frequency Massive MIMO and digital beamforming technology. Massive MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) is an extension of MIMO, which essentially groups together antennas at the transmitter and receiver to provide better throughput and better spectrum efficiency. Digital beamforming precisely manipulates the gain and phase of these multiple antenna signals in order to form them intensively to a specific direction and to deliver stable radio waves over longer distances.

The cloud-native virtual network heralds a major shift in how communications providers can offer high-speed internet access worldwide, at significantly lower costs, made possible without the maintenance, upkeep, repair and labour costs associated with the physical infrastructure that hinders conventional networks. NEC has already started shipping the 5G Network Massive MIMO Antenna Radio Unit to Rakuten Mobile.

ADI’s fourth-generation wideband RF transceiver integrates quad channel transmitters, receivers and digital pre-distortion (DPD) in a single chip. The radio is fully software reconfigurable and covers all sub-6GHz 5G frequency bands, simplifying radio designs.

ADI’s RF transceiver is expertly designed to support wireless applications such as massive MIMO and small cell systems, simplifying system design, reducing size and weight, and minimising power consumption,” said Nozomu Watanabe, Senior Vice President at NEC. “Virtualisation is a dependable and cost-efficient approach, and the world’s leading telecom providers are pursuing it as the next evolution of communications. ADI’s RF equipment allows us to provide the connectivity required to build an architecture that supports 5G full-spectrum systems.

NEC’s 5G equipment utilises highly accurate digital beamforming for efficient high-capacity transmission. The system also features seamless installation, achieved through circuit integration.

The new wave of 5G-based network connectivity is defined by flexibility,” said Greg Henderson, Senior Vice President at Analog Devices. “By working with NEC to drive the first massive MIMO installation for Rakuten Mobile, we’re laying the groundwork to propel 5G connectivity forward. The ecosystem is incredibly intricate and complex, but the primary goal is for all parties to work seamlessly together to inspire efficiencies across the board: cost, time and capital equipment. These are the pieces that will help us move to the next step of a truly virtualised network.


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