Huawei dips below 20kg mark with new M-MIMO antenna

Dropping weight, adding bandwidth, Huawei plays leapfrog with Ericsson on massive MIMO product.

The size wars are on, and smaller is better. Two days after Ericsson announced that it had a 64T64R Massive MIMO antenna radio unit that weighs just 20kg, Huawei announced at MWC Shanghai that its latest equivalent tips the scales at only… 19kg.

Gan Bin, Vice President of Huawei Wireless Product Line, speaking at a Huawei media briefing on Wednesday 24th February, said that Huawei’s new offering is just 19kg, “the lightest in the world.” That means Huawei has knocked 6kg off the headline number of last year’s announced product, and come in conveniently below Ericsson’s headline-grabbing number.

The new unit also includes support for 400 MHz bandwidth, something that goes well beyond the spectrum holdings of any of Huawei’s Chinese operator customers, but may match demands in other markets, Chaobin said. Huawei is also claiming leadership for this feature.

“I saw that one vendor said it had a product that supported 400MHz bandwidth,” he said, “but that turned out to be 32T32R.” That seems to be another reference Ericsson’s M-MIMO launch this week. It launched three variants and one of them, the AIR 3258 product, is an option that supports 400MHz bandwidth. As its name makes clear, it is indeed a 32 branch antenna.

Other products launched by Huawei include a pole-mounted 64T64R antenna option, upgrading its BladeAAU Pro unit from the previous 32T32R option. The design takes advantage of an interleaved design, to layer the active elements behind the passive antenna, so that one unit can support multiple spectrum bands.

Huawei also announced growing support for FDD Massive MIMO – something it says is rising up operator checklists as more devices support the option. “Today we are bringing an FDD M-MIMO product, the first in the industry that is ready for large scale commercial rollout based on M-MIMO,” Chaobin said. Huawei added that the product supports 32T32R with, power output of 320W, and can stay within the desired 500mm width form factor.

There was also a re-run of some products that had already received a November 2020 launch. The  BladeRRU Pro, a multi band FDD option that can support three bands per unit, 700/800/900MHz and 1.8/2.1+1.4/2.6Ghz, and the EasyMacro 3.0, a joint TDD and FDD dual band pole option with 4x10W and 8x10W power options, along with the Book 3.0, another FDD 4T and TDD 4T option with 4x5W and 4x20W ouputs.

Finally, Huawei announced “the first Massive MIMO distributed indoor solution”, announcing trials in South Korea with LGU+ of a Lampsite deployment that included MU-MIMO indoors.