IIT Hyderabad takes early lead in 6G Extreme Massive MIMO technology

In a breakthrough for next-generation communication, the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IITH) on Monday announced a demonstration of the Extreme Massive MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output), a key technology that is being considered for 5G-advanced and 6G deployment. Using multiple antennas at the base station, massive MIMO increases the coverage and capacity of cellular networks. This technology has become mainstream and is now an integral part of 5G. 

Extreme massive MIMO refers to next-generation technology that uses very large antenna arrays. 

The IITH developed an experimental research prototype with the aim to discover achievable performance limits. The first set of pilots conducted using 192 antennas and 48 radio radio frequency chains showed that up to 24-36 users could be served in the same spectrum. This is a 3-fold improvement over the state-of-the-art 5G massive MIMO technology, designed to support 12 simultaneous users. 

“For cellular operators and users, this technology offers immense benefits; cell phone users will experience high-quality voice and video delivery in crowded areas like airports, malls, railway stations, etc.; cellular operators will be able to offer broadband wireless internet in rural households, dynamic steering of the cell site beams to reduce coverage holes in urban as well as rural areas”, said Prof Kiran Kuchi, Dean (R&D).

Expressing delight over this milestone, K Rajaraman, Secretary DOT, said, “IIT Hyderabad has been leading from the front in IP development. Their work on NB-IoT and other areas as part of the 5G test bed has been remarkable. We in the Department of Telecommunications are delighted to hear of the development of the Extreme Massive MIMO heralding even greater efficiency in the use of spectrum. I am sure that the IITH research team will play a significant role in the Government of India’s 5G advanced and 6G efforts”.