In August 2019, ABI Research, the global Top10 analyst, released the 2018 Global Base Station Antenna Research Report, "5G Antenna Innovation." As mobile network technology evolves from 3G to 4G to 5G, mobile traffic data continues to grow. ABI Research pointed out that by the end of 2018, the total number of mobile phone users worldwide reached 8.5 billion, which generated about 201 exabytes of traffic (1 Aibyte = 1018 bytes); by 2023, global mobile phone users are expected to reach 9.4 billion. It will continue to grow and is expected to reach 1.5 bytes (1 byte = 0121 bytes), and the traffic growth is close to 7.5 times. Faced with such huge capacity requirements, how should mobile networks face this?
In the radio access network, in order to improve throughput, mobile service providers use technologies such as sector partitioning, beamforming, and high-order MIMO. Base station antennas must also evolve to take advantage of the maximum throughput that new technologies can achieve. For the future, the base station antenna will evolve toward multi-frequency multi-port, multi-beam, antenna activation, passive active integration, Massive MIMO, and remote scene beam adjustment.
1. Multi-band and multi-port antennas, single antenna supports more spectrum and channels for better MIMO performance
In the 5G era, 4G and 5G networks coexist, and mobile service providers are also facing increasingly complex challenges such as site space and limited load. A multi-port antenna needs to be compiled into all frequency bands of 2G&3G&4G to reserve a problem for Massive MIMO deployment, which is the mainstream trend of 5G network construction. In addition, technologies such as component carrier aggregation (CCA) and dual link (LTE-5G) require multi-frequency antenna support to support 4G and 3G, etc. These have led to continued increases in shipments of multi-frequency, multi-port antennas. According to statistics from ABI Research, the proportion of FDD passive antennas shipped worldwide exceeds 56%, and has increased year by year. Multi-frequency antennas have become the mainstream product form in the industry.
Spatial forecast of global multi-frequency base station antenna market in 2014-2023
2. Multi-beam antenna, single antenna supports multi-sector hybrid networking, maximizing network capacity
Due to limited spectrum resources and urgent capacity requirements, some mobile service providers strengthen network coverage and increase capacity while maintaining the same size. At present, 2T2R and 4T4R dual-beam antennas have been widely deployed around the world, effectively solving customer network congestion problems, and the value of expansion is self-evident.
3. Antenna is activated to simplify the surface, improve deployment efficiency and network performance
The active antenna integrates the RF portion with the antenna, and connects the antenna, the RF, and the baseband portion through the optical fiber, thereby reducing cable loss and power loss in the conventional passive antenna deployment, and simplifying installation and saving space. Although active antennas are more expensive than passive antennas, active antennas are easier to implement high-order MIMO and Massive MIMO features to improve sector rates.
4. Active and passive integration, providing better performance and wind load, simplifying MassiveMIMO deployment
The active passive hybrid antenna can share the electronic device and the RF component by integrating Massive MIMO into the passive antenna. This integrated method can simplify the Massive MIMO deployment, reduce the time required for site access, and accelerate the on-line of 5G services. At the same time, as an integrated module, the antenna wind load can be reduced, which can effectively solve the problem of site load limitation.
5.Massive MIMO and 3D beamforming for improved channel capacity and reliability
Massive MIMO changes the antenna beam shape by 3D beamforming and then changes the antenna coverage area. It can concentrate the radiant energy on more needed terminals, which can significantly improve the spectrum efficiency and increase the sector throughput. Massive MIMO can greatly improve spectrum efficiency and is one of the basic technologies of 5G networks. As mobile networks evolve toward 5G, Massive MIMO will help achieve the expected 100X capacity compared to current LTE-A and LTE-A Pro technologies.
6. Remote scene beam adjustment to ensure less interference in the adjacent area and more accurate wireless coverage
In the era of LTE and 5G, higher-order modulation and MIMO are becoming more and more popular in RAN. Better SINR is necessary. Long-range scenario beam adjustment can reduce sector interference and maximize SINR, while improving spectrum efficiency, capacity and network performance. Now it is becoming more and more important. The remote scene beam adjustment antenna complies with AISG standard protocol. It can optimize parameters, control beam pointing, avoid on-site visits, tower climbing and network downtime. It also includes the diagnostic functions of key parameters, such as power size, connector connection quality, etc.
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