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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 

During the recent Mobile World Congress, researchers from Nokia and Ericsson have revealed the progress they have made to find spectrum needed to carry a number of 5G services. The next-generation cellular networks are expected to span everything from low bands for the Internet of Things to 100GHz ultra dense links in urban areas.

Nokia principal research specialist Mark Cudak said 5G requires meshing new and current spectrum. "5G is going to be a tight integration of today's existing technologies, 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi, as well as the evolution of LTE and new cellular technologies at higher frequencies. 5G will require 10Gb/s peak rates, 1ms latency, and 10,000 times more capacity by 2025...We think 5G needs to be scalable to keep evolving all the way through 2030."

Both Nokia and Ericsson demonstrated 5G cellular connections using beam-forming technology and small cell base stations. Ericsson chose 15GHz for the first phase of a three-phase test system.

The 15GHz band was the first frequency available in Sweden to provide a good middle ground for initial testing. Spectrum used in future tests is likely to go up in frequency.

Ericsson's 15GHz test base station uses a 400MHz carrier aggregation modem, delivering about 5,250Mb/s total throughput. An additional video streaming demo managed 3,469Mb/s on 5G and switched to LTE when a user was out of range of a 5G base station. The LTE speeds dropped significantly to 96Mb/s but signal was not lost.

Ericsson research director Magnus Frodigh stated that his team is now working on test beds for higher frequencies and wider bandwidths, and will eventually focus on bands below 6GHz. From there, Ericsson will test multiple base stations, multiple terminals and beam forming to handle more switching between bands.

"There's [need for] much, much higher data rates, which will put requirements on baseband processing," Frodigh said. "We are forced to find enough spectrum, then we have challenges on the reach," he said.

Frodigh said Ericsson is primarily researching up to 30GHz, though coverage in the 1GHz to 2GHz range is still needed. Using the 60GHz frequency is possible though, perhaps, not ideal as it confines communications to a small, dense area.

Other frequencies are more suited for a home automation or Internet of Things (IoT) system in a building without fibre, Frodigh added. He envisions 5G functioning at up to 200m and up to 20Gb/s.

In preparation for LTE-Advanced, Japan's regulator, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, last year allocated 120MHz of the 3.5GHz band to three major mobile carriers. Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank are expected to begin operations in the band in 2016.

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