Finnish kit maker Nokia and US-based industrial test equipment vendor National Instruments (NI) demonstrated what they described as a 5G speed of 10Gbps peak rate over the air at the 73GHz band (millimetre-wave). Nokia claimed the real-life like conditions of the demo set it apart from other similar ones recently by other players.
The demonstration took place at the second annual Brooklyn 5G summit, jointly organised by Nokia and NYU WIRELESS Research Center at the NYC University Polytechnic School of Engineering. Nokia said it is one of many to be showcased at the event, and will feed discussions around the summit’s special focus, the use of higher spectrum bands of 6GHz and over for 5G. Other items on the agenda include massive MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) systems and beam-forming and beam-steering.
To achieve low latency and high peak rates, Nokia used 2×2 MIMO with single carrier Null Cyclic Prefix modulation and frame size of 100 micro seconds. The demo, according to the vendor, is proof of how users will be able to perform any function without a drop in speed or connection regardless of the number of people simultaneously connected.
“At Nokia we strive to expand the human potential of the connected world,” Nokia Networks Research and Technology VP, Lauri Oksanen said. “5G mobile network speeds as high as 10Gbps and with extremely low latency are a driving force for massive mobile broadband and totally new applications in the future programmable world.
NI’s CEO James Truchard said: “We are excited to collaborate with companies like Nokia as they define 5G. Our software-defined platform based on LabVIEW and PXI is ideal for researching and prototyping cutting-edge technology such as achieving 10 Gbps data rates in the millimetre-wave spectrum.”
According to Nokia’s Head of Innovation Marketing, Volker Held, 5G will be about three core use cases: throughput and capacity, connections (IoT/M2M), and ultra-low latency. Talking to Telecoms.com, he said propagating the higher spectrum bands is vital in order to achieve these goals.
“This millimetre-wave spectrum, and also centimetre-wave spectrum, is quite interesting because the spectrum range is so huge compared to what we’re currently using,” Held said. “For example at the millimetre-wave you have about 1GHz bandwidth per carrier available, whereas in the below 6GHz bands you have just up to 100MHz.”
But as Held admitted, the propagation of the millimetre wave spectrum is not without its challenges, as the process is very different than with the lower frequencies currently used in mobile communications.
“The waves don’t travel that far so you need to think about the potential for interruption in connectivity. So first of all we need to understand the propagation characteristics in that band to understand how to deploy base stations that operate in that spectrum. We also need to think about ways to guarantee the throughput and to make as much use of this spectrum as possible.”
“The biggest challenge I would say is to direct the beam of the base station to the end-user. It’s not like you have a base station and it’s sending and sending [signals], there needs to be a very targeted beam towards the end-user. Therefore another hot topic area at the event is around beam-forming and beam-steering. You form the beam in the way that it’s usable in the best way possible for the end-user.”
Held claimed that unlike some similar demos previously by other players, Nokia conducted its under realistic conditions. “We have used a realistic amount of spectrum [in this demo] and it uses a wireless connection, not a cable connection. It’s really achieved over a wireless connection you can have in a real-life environment, and that I think is the interesting thing about it.”
According to Held, the technology is pretty much there in terms of deployment-readiness, and it is now just the case of getting access to the spectrum. “From technology point of view we are very much there. The missing link is that this spectrum needs to be available for mobile communications, and this is something the next World Radio Conference needs to decide.”