NEC develops massive-element antenna for 5G base stations


Driving innovation to the next level, NEC Corporation has developed a prototype of A4-sized massive-element Active Antenna System (AAS) for 5G small cell base stations.

The low-SHF band-compatible AAS combines the antenna and RF components through the use of a newly developed high-density printed circuit board and an IC that integrates the high radio frequency circuit with the digital circuit, achieving the practical compact size.

In addition, the new AAS has achieved fully-digitized operation of antenna beam control and MIMO precoding. This improves the precision of beam forming and achieves high spectral efficiency even when a user distribution is lopsided within a cell or under conditions where there are frequent user movements within a cell, thus contributing to the provision of high-capacity communications.

When used in conjunction with NEC’s spatial multiplexing technologies, the AAS can achieve more than ten times greater per-cell throughput compared with conventional LTE base station.

NEC has conducted a series of trial and experiments of 5G-related technologies with mobile operators such as NTT DOCOMO. NEC and NTT DOCOMO are now working on a new experiment using NEC’s AAS.

“5G communications achieve higher speeds and increased capacity through the utilization of high frequency bands which are capable of securing wider bandwidth. On the other hand, high frequency bands face the issue of heavy propagation loss in communications. As a solution to this issue, NEC has focused on beamforming technologies which improve communication distances and reduce interference, and engaged in the research, development and demonstration of the massive-element AASs that enable more precise beam forming,” said Nozomu Watanabe, General Manager, Mobile Radio Access Network Division, NEC Corporation. “The AAS we recently developed utilizes the low-SHF band that is expected to enter into commercial use around 2020. Moving forward, NEC will continue to take the lead in development and demonstration testing aimed at the practical use of AAS.”