Verizon, Ericsson in California massive MIMO rollout

Upgrade promises faster, more consistent network speeds for mobile customers

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Verizon and Ericsson have teamed up to deploy massive multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) on the U.S. telco's 4G network in Irvine, California.

Verizon said the upgrade improves spectral and energy efficiency, resulting in faster and more consistent connection speeds for customers. It is also a stepping stone on that all-important path towards 5G.

"As we innovate, we learn and continue to lay the groundwork and set the standards for 5G technology," said Nicola Palmer, Verizon Wireless' chief network officer, in a statement on Thursday. "Our collaboration with Ericsson on this new deployment continues to drive industry-wide innovation and advancements."

The MIMO deployment with Ericsson involves 16 transceiver units powering a 96-antenna array. The deployment uses a 20 MHz block of AWS spectrum.

MIMO, with its large number of transmitters, enables more potential signal paths. It also enables beamforming, which improves the customer experience by reducing interference.

"Massive MIMO is a key technology enabler for 5G, but already today, 4G LTE service providers and end users can benefit from the superior capacity and network performance this technology enables," said Niklas Heuveldop, head of market area North America at Ericsson. "The current trial is an important step in the collaboration we have with Verizon to prepare their network for 5G."