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5G Services & Applications

How Massive MIMO Enhances Real-Time Security Systems

by Blogs & Opinions
Article ImageWith the continued growth of data by users, network operators continue to look for new ways to meet their customers' demands. One of the key drivers of capacity growth in the network is traffic generated by security firms, and their success depends on their consistent high-speed connectivity and throughput.

While 5G offers to increase throughput for all users, data capacity is limited for an operator by its licensed spectrum. This critical, dare I say scarce, resource is top of mind for the operator, as they simply cannot go buy more spectrum. Network operators must squeeze as much user throughput out of that spectrum as they can, and they are relying on techniques like multiple-input multiple output (MIMO) to optimize and increase the throughput of their existing spectral resources.

Advancements in antenna technology are providing many of the 5G techniques that network operators can use to increase throughput. For example, two- and three-dimensional beamforming targets beams to an area and increases the signal to interference and noise ratio (SINR) for receiving points in that area of the network, essentially improving the efficiency of network transmissions. With this increased efficiency, the network transmits a higher aggregate throughput on cell sites that employ beamforming.

You might ask, "how is this possible?" In short, the network throughput to users increases because the network successfully sends each user's throughput on the first attempt. Think of listening to a 12-minute podcast -- your goal is to listen for 12 minutes to learn about the topic. If you hear and understand the audio, you do not have to rewind to listen to a "retransmission" of the point.

By retransmitting over the RAN, the network is correctly ensuring accuracy, but it is resending data that should have already been received. We want efficient accuracy, and retransmissions on the RAN are not efficient. MIMO and beamforming techniques used in 5G can increase transmission efficiency, which increases throughput.

Why are these techniques important? Because with larger antenna element counts, the cell can support many more users. This type of cell site is employing massive MIMO, which even further increases capacity! In massive MIMO, the network uses many more than the four antennas originally used in MIMO systems to multiply the capacity within the existing spectrum. With massive MIMO, the cell can provide unique beams of data to up to 16 different receivers at the same instant. The capacity of the network now increases by the number of streams sent to the number of "beamformed target areas" per instant! The result -- more endpoints receive their specific data at the same time, so the cell is, in effect, handling more users at the same time.

With the increased number of users receiving higher throughput in the same spectrum, network operators can partner with businesses to create new solutions. Massive MIMO in the sub-6GHz spectrum supports mobile broadband access at 100 Mbit/s per user (with 40MHz of spectrum). Solutions that consistently need this level of throughput include video-based surveillance.

In prior security systems, the video available from security cameras did not consistently provide clear images of the incidents in question. With 5G, networks will have the capacity to ensure security firms are able to confidently deploy high-resolution 5G-enabled cameras and the real-time videos they receive will allow AI-enabled video processing to automate alerting and distribution of appropriate video streams to law enforcement. Within seconds of an event, law enforcement is not only on the way to help, but first-responder 5G-connected laptops are receiving real-time video of the situation, which allows them to know what is happening on-site even before they arrive.

This example of a security system is one of many that describe how the high-speed, high-capacity 5G network will improve our life experiences.

— Ashish Jain, CEO & Co-Founder, KAIROS Strategic Consulting

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