NEC and Analog Devices team up to design 5G radio unit for Rakuten Mobile

NEC and Analog Devices (ADI) will collaborate on the design of a 5G network massive MIMO antenna radio unit for Rakuten Mobile. The radio unit uses ADI’s fourth generation wideband RF transceiver to achieve high precision massive MIMO. It also has a 5G open vRAN (virtual radio access network) interface corresponding to Rakuten Mobile’s end-to-end, virtualised cloud native mobile network. For efficiency transmission, it uses 3.7GHz frequency massive MIMO and digital beamforming technology. The cloud-native virtual network allows communications providers to offer high speed internet access worldwide, at significantly lower costs, says ADI but without the maintenance, repair and labour costs associated with the physical infrastructure. NEC has already started shipping the 5G network massive MIMO antenna radio unit to Rakuten Mobile.

ADI’s fourth generation wideband RF transceiver integrates quad channel transmitters, receivers and digital pre-distortion (DPD) in a single chip. The radio is software reconfigurable and covers all sub-6GHz 5G frequency bands to simplify radio designs.

Explaining the choice of design partner, Nozomu Watanabe, senior vice president at NEC, commented: “ADI’s RF transceiver is expertly designed to support wireless applications such as massive MIMO and small cell systems, simplifying system design, reducing size and weight, and minimising power consumption”.

He believes virtualisation is seen by many of the world’s leading telecomms providers as the next evolution of communications. “ADI’s RF equipment allows us to provide the connectivity required to build an architecture that supports 5G full-spectrum systems,” he added.

NEC’s 5G equipment utilises highly accurate digital beamforming for efficient high-capacity transmission. The system also features seamless installation, achieved through circuit integration.

“The new wave of 5G-based network connectivity is defined by flexibility,” said Greg Henderson, senior vice president at Analog Devices.

While the ecosystem is “incredibly intricate and complex”, he said that efficiencies in cost, time and capital equipment will progress the industry to the a “truly virtualised network”.

NEC specialises in the integration of IT and network technologies.

Analog Devices is an analogue technology company.

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