Multiple-Input Multiple-Output, or MIMO, has become one of the 5G backbone technologies due to its power to increase the coverage and capacity of cellular networks. Now, the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IITH) is taking it to the next level – that is, 6G.
IITH announced today it has developed a 6G extreme Massive MIMO demonstration, which uses a vast array of antennas to increase transmission power. According to the institute, the first set of pilots conducted had 192 antennas and 48 radio frequency chains, showing that the device could serve up to 24-36 users in the same spectrum.
They claim this is a three-fold improvement over the state-of-the-art 5G massive MIMO technology, designed to support 12 simultaneous users.
“For cellular operators and users, this technology offers immense benefits; cell phone users will experience high-quality voice and video delivery in crowded areas like airports, malls, railway
stations; cellular operators will be able to offer broadband wireless internet in rural households, dynamic steering of the cell site beams to reduce coverage holes in urban as well as rural areas”, said Professor Kiran Kuchi, Dean of R&D at IITH.
Even though the demonstration brings a meaningful contribution to the 6G research, it is important to note that the prototype aims to discover achievable performance limits – which means it is not commercially available.
Indeed, there is a lot more to discover about how to use MIMO in 6G networks. “The ongoing investigations include new deployment topologies for indoor applications and outdoor cell sites. We are excited about this discovery and the possibilities offered by this new technology,” explained Professor Sai Dhiraj, the Lead Researcher for the project.
While India is yet to action 5G spectrum, the federal government has recently shown that 6G leadership seems to be one of its long-term goals.
In November of 2021, for example, the Indian Department of Telecommunications formed a task force to collaborate with 6G standards. And in an interview with the Economic Times, Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan said that “India also aspires to take the lead in the 6G space.”
Featured image by IIT-Hyderabad
Journalist since eight years old, when I would read the newspaper out loud and pretend it was a radio show. Based in São Paulo, I have worked for Brazilian websites as reporter and editor before joining 6GWorld