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What is 5G
beamforming?

What is 5G beamforming?

In general, beamforming is a particular processing technique for signals that allow for directional transmission or reception. 5G beamforming allows Verizon to make 5G connections more focused toward a receiving device. For example, a typical 5G small cell that does not employ beamforming during its multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) transmission will not be able to narrowly concentrate or focus its transmit beams to a particular area. With beamforming, the small cell can focus the transmission in a particular direction towards a mobile device such as a cell phone, laptop, autonomous car or IoT node. This improves the efficiency overall of the network and saves energy.

5G Beamforming and Massive MIMO

5G Ultra Wideband frequencies operate along the millimeter wavelength (mmWave) of the radio spectrum which is part of what allows 5G Ultra Wideband to carry so much data at groundbreaking speeds. Because millimeter waves can be more prone to disruption from interfering objects, and mmWave does not penetrate walls and other barriers as easily as low and mid band spectrum used for 4G and DSS applications, beamforming can help to create more reliable connectivity dynamics. Another work-around for the propagation challenge with mmWave is our ability to leverage the diversity and multiplexing gains that accrue from MIMO-based transmission to provide for higher throughput and more robust signal reception at the receiver that result in a better overall user experience.

What is Massive MIMO?

While MIMO has been in use for wireless communications for many years, massive MIMO will help enhance 5G’s ability to scale. Massive MIMO provides huge amounts of antennas at the 5G base station (i.e. the gNB) that enhances overall connectivity and provides better speeds. MIMO requires particular algorithms that tell the data where to focus energy. “Massive” in massive MIMO refers to the number of antennas, helping to improve throughput and efficiency of the data.

Beamforming is a foundational technology that works hand in glove with massive MIMO to direct beams of transmission data both horizontally and vertically toward user devices.

Thanks to our vast expertise in beamforming, massive MIMO and general technology innovation, Verizon is uniquely situated to scale the rollout of 5G Ultra Wideband and offer users a breadth of network capabilities.