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12th Jul 2017


Vodafone rolls out huge MIMO technology in the UK.

Multiple-Input Multiple-Output is a wireless technology that allows for more data transfer to be made, simultaneously. Using multiple transmitters and receivers, all wireless products with 802.11n support MIMO and the technology enables 802.11n to reach higher speeds than products without 802.11n.

Large-scale MIMO projects are already live in China and Japan – Vodafone claims to be the first European network to deploy it!

MIMO is going to be essential for 5G networks to operate efficiently. Its base stations are formed of 64 transmit and 64 receive streams, whereas a normal 4G antenna only has two parts. This reflects the fact that much more data can be sent and received simultaneously in a 5G environment which means it will also be more responsive to devices transmitting in higher frequency bands. Not only will this improve coverage generally, it will have a big impact on indoor connectivity which is very suitable for our new home customers when BT and/or Virgin aren’t available.

MIMO utilises “beamforming” technology – this allows for a targeted and efficiently apportioned use of spectrum rather than the current situation where a single pool of spectrum is shared by all users in an area – hence why public WiFi services sometimes appear slow!

Beamforming is a process that allows you to focus your WiFi signal, like a dedicated broadband link. Instead of your router pushing out a WiFi signal and becoming weaker the further you go from it, the connection becomes stronger.

Kye Prigg, Vodafone UK’s head of mobile networks commented: “This is huge. Massive MIMO is what 5G is going to be all about. This is [one of] the building blocks of 5G. This brings you massive amounts of sensitivity because you’ve got all these receivers but it also brings you very powerful beam forming.”

Vodafone UK is upgrading 9 sites this week with beamforming technology and the number will increase to thirty in the coming months. Hotspots will become the obvious choice for upgrades so expect cities and sports events to be prioritised first.

Did you know that the iPhone 6 & 7 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 & S8 can already take advantage of MIMO technology! Could the new TardisMobile Smartphone also be compatible…? Find out later in the year!

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