ITRI and MediaTek joined forces in 5G technology R&D, moving toward the goal of 5G network commercialization by 2020.
ITRI and MediaTek are collaborating to develop and provide globally leading 5G solutions by combining their essential innovation capability and leadership in global chip design. Starting from 2015, both parties have made breakthroughs in developing B4G/5G key technologies, including LTE/Wi-Fi Aggregation (LWA) technology that helps to increase user’s transmission bandwidth, 38/39 GHz millimeter wave (mmWave) Radio Access Technology (RAT) that resolves the problems encountered in transmission at higher bands, as well as the multi-user superposition transmission (MUST) technology that enhances the multi-user transmission capacity with coordinated interference mitigation. Since then, both parties have been active in jointly developing 5G technologies and building up a self-sustained 5G ecosystem in local industry, making headway for Taiwan to enter the 5G global market in early stage, enabling commercialization of 5G network services by 2020.
To resolve transmission problems with 5G networks at higher frequency, ITRI and MediaTek have focused on the 38/39 GHz band and taken initiative to develop associated key technologies such as beam-forming, beam-tracking, and antenna array. With these technologies, peak data rate of up to 1 Gbps can be reached, mobility over 100 km/hr can be supported, and transmission range of 100-200 meters can be covered. In early 2017, ITRI and MediaTek demonstrated the world’s first prototype system of 5G small cells equipped with dual connectivity capability by integrating both LTE at sub-6GHz band and new radio access technology at 38/39 GHz band.
Facing the urgent problem of system capacity shortage by operator, LWA technology allows increasing transmission throughput of mobile devices by fully utilizing transmission via LTE and Wi-Fi networks whenever possible, without causing extra increase in deployment and operation costs. As soon as the specification of release 13 was ratified in 3GPP by end of 2016, the related interoperability tests among ITRI’s small cells and HTC’s handsets embedded with MediaTek’s chipset were completed in the test field of Chunghwa Telecom (CHT), making CHT the world’s first operator that provides commercial grade LWA system and launches the pioneering “LWA 4G + Wi-Fi high speed network services”.
Dr. Tzi-Cker Chiueh, General Director of ITRI’s Information and Communications Research Laboratories, commented on ITRI’s close partnership with MediaTek. “At the Mobile World Congress 2016, we worked together to demonstrate the globally leading LWA system with throughput up to 700 Mbps. In 2017, we cooperated again to release the globally first prototype system for 4G+5G dual mode small cell that integrates both LTE and 38/39 GHz mmWave RAT. By such cooperation, we’ve made breakthroughs in new radio access technologies, demonstrating mutual R&D capabilities in 5G era.”
To realize a non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) system with new air interface before 5G standards are to be ratified by 2018, ITRI and MediaTek further co-developed key technologies such as MUST and Multi-user Interference Cancellation (MUIC). Assisted by ITRI-provided scheduling technology for NOMA as well as the trial field environment, MediaTek completed all functional and performance tests. In comparison to 4G system, 10-40% improvement in spectrum efficiency has been observed during the trial. In some specific test cases, this figure can even be increased by up to 140%.
Kevin Jou, Corporate Senior Vice President & CTO of MediaTek, indicated that ITRI has been MediaTek’s important R&D partner and highlighted that MediaTek is a global leader in successfully applying MUIC technology to cell phone receivers. “By utilizing the test environment with small cell provided by ITRI, MediaTek successfully completed in time the required verification on smart phone embedded with MUST technology, thereby laying a firm foundation to further commercialize its 5G network services,” he said.