Croatian mobile network operator, A1 Hrvatska, has achieved a record long commercial hop - at nearly 27km - using Ericsson MIMO and MINI-LINK technologies.
This achievement shows how MIMO technology can help address key 5G concerns for service providers: increased capacity needs and limited spectrum availability.
The 26.8km hop was deployed on A1 Hrvatska's commercial network across locations near the city of Split using MINI-LINK gear with 2X2 MIMO functionality. The achievement is to date the longest deployed commercial MIMO hop.
A1 Hrvatska had been exploring the use of MIMO in its transport network and now with this first implementation in Croatia, has been able to double transmission speeds in the area of coverage. Connecting radio sites via microwave - especially in areas where it is either too costly or too difficult to build a fiber network - also provides the additional benefit of faster network deployment.
Hans Mahler, Head of Microwave Systems at Ericsson, says: 'MIMO technology is becoming increasingly important in microwave networks as service providers accelerate their 5G deployments. Its use is of great importance in transport systems where it enables a more efficient spectrum usage with increased capacity. Ericsson will continue to support A1 Hrvatska in this technically demanding challenge by using MIMO technology in microwave over long distances.'
Tomislav Makar, CTO of A1 Hrvatska, says that the application of the latest radio technologies will enable a more efficient use of available spectrum and significantly increase their network capacity. 'This will ultimately mean to our users that, due to our transport network evolution, we are capable of delivering higher access speeds, even in areas where availability of good quality fixed broadband is limited, such as the islands and rural areas. The implementation of this long-range microwave MIMO deployment in Croatia shows that we have a viable solution ready to support a fast rollout of 5G technology across the country.'
Ericsson, through Ericsson Nikola Tesla, an Ericsson associated company, and A1 Hrvatska have been strategic partners since 1999 - a partnership that has evolved to include microwave networks. These partners were the first in Europe to implement Ericsson's high-performance, energy efficient PSI system, which won the Global Telecom Business Award for the most innovative green project in 2014.