AT&T, Shentel conduct 'industry-first' massive MIMO trials with Blue Danube

Blue Danube Systems said it has completed the first commercial trials of its massive MIMO technology in licensed FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) LTE spectrum with AT&T and Shentel.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company—which was recognized as a member of the 2016 Fierce 15—said the tests were performed using an antenna “for advanced 3D beamforming,” which is designed to focus signal energy as needed. Carriers can use the technology to better serve high-demand areas, the company said, minimizing interference problems.

"AT&T is committed to enabling next-generation mobile experiences by exploring leading-edge capabilities,” said Tom Keathley, AT&T’s vice president of wireless network architecture and design, in a press release. “The work we have done with Blue Danube to evaluate their beamforming technology in our live network supports this objective.”

AT&T is an investor in Blue Danube.

The trials, which Blue Danube claims are an industry first, supported more than 10 terabytes of data over a three-month period. The company said it delivered as much as a 500% increase in throughput in high-traffic, high-demand areas using the same transmitting power as the legacy installation.

Blue Danube aims to use its synchronized transmitters to help carriers meet ever-increasing demand for mobile video, which is expected to tax wireless networks heavily in the coming years. CEO Mark Pinto often compares his company’s offering to dozens of people throwing pebbles into a pond: If the pebbles aren’t thrown at precisely the right time and place, they create a random assortment of small waves colliding into each other. But if they’re thrown in sync, they can make a big splash.

“The current, as well as the next generation of wireless data networks, must address not only future capacity constraints but also existing challenges of delivering reliable quality of service to users,” the company said in a statement. “Massive MIMO offers significant gains in wireless data rates and link reliability, allowing for data consumption from more users in a dense area without consuming any more radio spectrum or causing interference.”