Elisa, Nokia and Qualcomm trumpet 8Gbit/s 5G speeds

5G is getting even faster. According to announcements from both Nokia and Qualcomm, speeds of 8 Gbit/s were achieved in tests with operator Elisa in Finland.

The test was carried out on a commercial network using millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum in the 26GHz band.

Nokia supplied two AirScale radios, each using 800MHz of the mmWave spectrum, and Qualcomm provided two 5G test devices based on Snapdragon and the X55 5G Modem-RF system. Each device reached 4Gbit/s speeds from the basestation.

Speed freak: Nokia, Qualcomm and Finland's Elisa notched speeds of 8 Gbit/s over 5G.  (Source: Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash)
Speed freak: Nokia, Qualcomm and Finland's Elisa notched speeds of 8 Gbit/s over 5G.
(Source: Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash)

The two vendors said 8 Gbit/s is currently the fastest 5G speed to have been achieved on a commercial network worldwide.

Indeed, it certainly represents a step up from the 5G peak speed of 5.06 Gbit/s that was demonstrated by Ericsson, Qualcomm and Verizon in October, as well as the 5.6 Gbit/s showcased by T-Mobile US and Ericsson in the same month.

Why this matters

Speed was never meant to be as big a focal point for 5G as it was for 4G and 3G, when bits per second was a primary way to differentiate service offerings. 5G was always going to be about much more than faster speeds, with the promise of new and exciting use cases and heightened emphasis on enterprise services.

Having said that, speed is of course still an incredibly important aspect of future 5G-enabled networks, allowing the deployment of new services that require very high bandwidth to perform well.

As Qualcomm and Nokia point out, higher speeds enable more high-bandwidth and latency-sensitive enterprise services.

This means, for example, remotely controlled devices for industrial needs, mission-critical applications, augmented and virtual (AR/VR) reality experiences, downloading 4K video content or triple-A games, and enabling enhanced capacity fixed wireless access (FWA) connectivity as a fiber broadband alternative.

With regard to 5G FWA, for example, US Cellular CEO Laurent Therivel pointed out that the operator recently achieved 100Mbit/s speeds over a mmWave connection at distances up to 5km with partners Ericsson and Qualcomm.

Verizon was also found to be able to deliver between 1 and 2 Gbit/s using around 400MHz of mmWave spectrum across distances of around 1km.

Finnish front-runner

Elisa, meanwhile, was an early starter with 5G, launching services as far back as June 2018. Indeed, the Finnish mobile operator claimed to have launched the world's very first "commercial" 5G service, tearing past US and Asian frontrunners.

In more recent developments, the operator has extended its 5G partnerships with both Ericsson and Nokia. In September, Elisa and Ericsson claimed a Nordic first with their switch-on of an end-to-end 5G standalone (SA) connection in Kirkkonummi, near Helsinki.

Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on Light Reading.

Elisa has also placed an emphasis on working with partners to develop new products and services.

In June, for example, the Elisa 5G Showroom in Helsinki displayed a total of nine 5G solutions and services.

This included a tractor controlled remotely over 5G, a 360-degree camera developed by Elisa and agricultural machinery specialist Valtra, a mobile 5G app to review 3D models in real time developed together with Aalto University, and 360-degree live streaming VR with 8K resolution for use in rescue operations.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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