The rules for 5G may not be well-defined even until about 2020; however, several companies, including Samsung Electronics, are testing their 5G equipment to enter the market early on. Cooperating with Arqiva in the UK and Verizon in the US, Samsung plans to show off the potential of its 5G technology by establishing fixed wireless networks.
A fixed wireless system allows communication between two stationary points. For example, the data is beamed from a base station to a rooftop antenna and the users within the antenna get access to broadband internet via Ethernet cables. These networks, which are capable of ultra-high speed wireless connectivity to homes and businesses, may eventually replace today’s fiber networks.
The pre-commercial tests of Samsung’s 5G equipment have achieved multi-gigabit throughputs at a distance up to 500 meters.
Samsung's Partnership with Arqiva
In the UK, Samsung will collaborate with Arqiva to build the first 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network of the country. Arqiva has the license to use the 28GHz spectrum across the UK. The field trial will be in central London in the second half of this year.
According to the Arqiva officials, the 5G FWA technology can bring a subscriber online in a matter of minutes. This not only makes service roll-out faster but also reduces the costs to both the service provider and the subscriber.
According to Simon Beresford-Wylie, CEO of Arqiva, the technology will provide 1Gbps connectivity along with significantly reduced latency (delay). Samsung will use beam-forming to enable high-density coverage and ultra-high-bandwidth connectivity.
Samsung's Partnership with Verizon
In the US, Samsung will work with Verizon to establish 5G networks in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas and Washington DC. While these trials will begin in April, the test network of a fifth location in Michigan is set to be built later in Q2 2017.
These trials will provide some insight into the user experience and the technology performance especially in different topographies and areas where different building materials are used, for example.
Verizon will provide wireless Internet access and Voice over IP (VoIP) calling.
Samsung's Portfolio of 5G Products
In 2011, Samsung started its development of the 5G technology. After two years, the company achieved the world’s first Gigabit (1.2 Gbps) connectivity using the millimeter-wave band. Then, it established the 1.2-Gbps connection in a mobile environment from a vehicle traveling at 110 kilometers per hour.
Over the last few years, Samsung has continued to heavily invest in 5G technology and has achieved a number of patents in the field. In fact, Samsung holds 17 percent of the total LTE and LTE-Advanced patents. Considering the fact that a 5G radio base station utilizes a concept similar to that of small cells in today’s LTE, we can expect that Samsung’s portfolio of LTE patents will make the company an industry leader in the 5G technology.
The trial networks set to be established in the UK and the US will test the pre-commercial version of Samsung’s 5G products. These include a 5G home router, a 5G radio base station (a 5G access unit), next-generation core network infrastructure, and more.
Samsung’s 5G products. Image courtesy of Samsung.
Samsung has the world’s first 5G handover technology. Moreover, the company has recently announced the commercial availability of an RFIC targeting 5G wireless connectivity applications.
Samsung’s 5G RFIC
Samsung claims that the new 5G chip, which brings together the outcome of many previous endeavors of the company, is a big step towards commercial 5G. It achieves a low-cost, high-efficiency operation in a compact form factor.
The technology utilizes a high-gain power amplifier which can significantly improve the coverage range– a primary challenge for millimeter wave connectivity. Moreover, the chip offers much lower phase noise in its operating band. This helps to preserve a high-speed, high-quality connectivity even in a noisy environment. Besides, Samsung’s technology incorporates 16 low-loss antennas to improve the communication performance.
The chip, which will power Samsung’s 5G home router and 5G radio base station, is slated for use in the 28GHz band, a frequency band which has been a primary target for many 5G test networks in the US, Korea, and Japan.
Samsung hopes that the FWA connectivity would be a low-cost alternative for FTTH deployment. To this end, the user would only need to place the 5G Home Router close to a window facing a nearby 5G Radio Base Station.
- The Role of Millimeter Waves in Ever-Expanding Wireless Applications
- Working Towards 5G’s Incredible Data Rates
- Estimating Wireless Range
Since true 5G must deliver high-speed data to mobile users rather than just to some fixed points, fixed wireless networks have attracted some criticism. Paul Struhsaker, for example, the chief technical officer for the investment group Carnegie Technologies, believes that fixed wireless networks are distractions and will delay mobile 5G. However, the customer feedback will be soon available and will certainly hold some vital clues to what successful business models of the future 5G technology will look like.