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Research behind the efficiency of mobile phone networks - one of the most highly cited

Published Nov 27, 2023

The research behind using mobile phone masts with many small electrically steerable antennas has been included in Clarivate's annual Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers 2023 list.

”This is of course very exciting and honourable. Even if only my name is mentioned in this context, it is a team effort where many PhD students, postdocs and colleagues have contributed,” says Emil Björnson, Professor of Wireless Communication.

Already in 2012, Emil Björnson started working on a new technology that uses mobile phone masts with hundreds of electrically controllable antennas. This makes it possible to send targeted signals to many mobile phones simultaneously instead of letting them take turns. This technology known as “Massive MIMO” is now a core component of 5G.

”Ten years ago, few people believed in this technology, but after hard work, we managed to convince the scientific community and industry. This in turn has led to faster connections in 5G through the concepts and algorithms we have developed and published in articles and books,” he says.

Now it's all about efficiency

The data traffic in mobile networks has increased by 40 per cent annually in recent years and now the technology is about to take another leap, but Björnson believes that this leap is about efficiency.

”The economic growth of the future is created by digitalisation, where we connect devices and use them more efficiently than today. Wireless technology is the enabler of that. Today we also see large variations in mobile coverage and I believe that the focus will shift from making the technology faster to making it more accessible, reliable and sustainable”.

Emelie Smedslund