Feature Article

June 22, 2011

First Compact, Tunable MIMO Antenna Design Demonstrated by China Mobile Research Institute and SkyCross

China Mobile Research Institute, the research wing of  China Mobile Communications Corporation (CMCC) and the leading provider of 4G MIMO antenna solutions SkyCross teamed up to demonstrate world’s first compact, tunable MIMO antenna- ST-iMAT.

According to the industry experts, the innovation is going to prove crucial for the future of the wireless industry. These multiband, state-tunable ST-iMAT MIMO antennas have been designed to enable 4G wireless devices to support worldwide roaming without sacrificing performance or increasing antenna size, the partners explained in a press release.The tunable MIMO antenna has been claimed to cover 12 frequency bands ranging from 700 MHz to 2.7 GHz for TD LTE/LTE FDD/TD SCDMA/GSM EDGE/WCDMA deployments worldwide.

The demonstration marks an important turning point in the history of mobile communication as the multiband MIMO antennas will now help the mobile handset ecosystem take a giant leap ahead by developing the remaining multiband components including power amplifiers, filters and duplexers, switches, RFICs, and front-end-modules.

“Our joint development effort with SkyCross has demonstrated that cost-effective, multimode, multiband antennas are technically achievable for global LTE handsets. We believe this demonstration will accelerate the development of universal handsets capable of roaming worldwide, as well as create the manufacturing volume to meet all operators’ requirements,” Bill Huang, general manager of China Mobile Research Institute observed in a statement.

The demonstration is the consequence of a joint memorandum of understanding (MoU) that the two organizations signed nine months back in September 2010. According to the contract, the two companies jointly pursued compact MIMO antenna design and implementation for multimode, multiband LTE handsets.

China Mobile made a multi-faceted contribution to the initiative. In addition to providing detailed requirements for global frequency band combinations needed including TD LTE/LTE FDD/TD SCDMA/GSM EDGE/WCDMA for potential global LTE and legacy network co-deployment, as well as target global roaming bands, China Mobile also provided detailed antenna performance requirements meeting 3GPP specifications.

On its part, SkyCross conducted all the antenna design and implementation, based on a software-configurable approach to tune the antenna frequency band coverage from 700 MHz to 2.7 GHz.

The final tunable, multimode, multiband, MIMO antenna design was tested at the China Mobile Research Institute and TMC laboratories in Beijing. The end product complies with China Mobile’s performance requirements, the companies confirmed in the press release.

Last month SkyCross secured $11 million in financing, in the first tranche of Series E, expected to be the company's final round of equity financing. SkyCross intends to close the second tranche of the round, up to $15 million, by the end of June. The capital raised will be used to support the company's rapidly increasing business in Asia and the United States, the company revealed in an earlier release.

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Madhubanti Rudra is a contributing editor for MobilityTechzone. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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