According to Nokia, Sprint will be using 3-D beamforming software coupled Nokia’s AirScale massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) adaptive antenna. The demo will include devices operating in TD-LTE band 41.
Nokia says this combination of technologies will allow Sprint to achieve eight times the normal uplink throughput and five times the normal downlink throughput.
Sprint’s CTO John Saw and COO of Technology Günther Ottendorfer will both be on hand for the demonstration.
Although the 4.9G demo will take place in a couple of weeks, Nokia says the technology won’t actually be available until year-end. And while 4.9G is Nokia’s brand name, the company says that the technology is based upon the 3GPP LTE Advanced Pro 2 standard.
Nokia said in a media briefing that the intent behind 4.9G is to give operators a way to enhance the performance of their networks and manage infrastructure demands as they prepare for 5G. Nokia envisions operators using the massive MIMO antenna and the beamforming software, along with the company’s 4.5G Pro AirScale Micro Remote Radio Head, so they can incorporate unlicensed spectrum as well.
“4.9G provides connectivity that is close to 5G so operators can launch new services nationwide and still have connectivity outside the 5G islands,” said Phil Twist, head of mobile networks, marketing and communications at Nokia.
Key to 4.9G is Nokia’s AirScale Cloud RAN, which when combined with the company’s AirFrame network functions virtualization (NFV) infrastructure, can split baseband processing functionality between real-time and non-real-time functions. This gets the network closer to a 5G network and offers more capacity. It also allows operators to provide service continuity across the network, says Twist.