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Ericsson, Nokia researchers make headway in 5G spectrum

Posted: 05 Mar 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Nokia  Ericsson  5G  4G  Wi-Fi 

Nokia Networks is looking at 6GHz to 100GHz for 5G. It has a 70GHz demonstration at Mobile World Congress that uses a lens antenna system with a three-degree beam width. That thin beam can track and acquire the signal for a user who has gone out of coverage, providing 2Gb/s throughput.

"We picked 70GHz as an interesting band because there's potential of maybe 10GHz of spectrum being allocated to mobile," Cudak noted. "There are some challenges of working at these higher frequencies is you need these high beam antennas to close that link budget," he said.

There are also challenges around interference with multi-layered networks and dense base stations. Increased use of beam forming and careful dedication of control signals will be key to limiting signal pollution in control channels, Frodigh said.

Covering IoT and beyond

The industry is expecting a large increase in device-to-device communications, also called machine-type communications (MTC), driven by IoT. MTC is one of many device categories slated for LTE and 5G that don't yet have a dedicated frequency or an idea of what may work best.

"To really be able to guarantee a service, you need some kind of dedicated spectrum which you can complement with some shared spectrum...but when it comes to really reliable services I think we need to stick to dedicated licensed primary spectrum," Frodigh said.

Discussion about sharing spectrum is well underway, with several major chip makers announcing LTE and LTE-Unlicensed hybrid products. Shared spectrum between industries and in unlicensed bands further begs the question of how to regulate this future space.

"I think we know that we...have to do consensus building and research," Cudak said. "We need to do fundamental groundwork in building channel models then figure out what is the best radio access technology," he said.

Frodigh said he hopes decision makers at the World Radiocommunications Conference, held later this year and every four years, will focus on lower frequencies. "We really need to provide capacity in systems now for next couple years. [Getting] spectrum as quickly as possible is important. It's a little unfortunate that we can't talk about 6G [cellular] and about below 6GHz at the same time."

Several panelists at Mobile World Congress were encouraged by the progress already made in cellular standards.

"We really have to pause and think about how 4G was the first worldwide standard; we did not have global map for 3G technology," said Gerhard Fettweis, professor at TU Dresden and mobile communications chair for Vodafone. "What's going to be very interesting and exciting is to see how this now pans out...China is getting ready, Europe is getting ready, every company is getting ready to see if we can manage [the rollout]."

- Jessica Lipsky
  EE Times


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