Elisa sets 5G uplink record with old pals Nokia, Qualcomm

Finnish operator Elisa likes breaking 5G speed records.

About 20 months ago, working in collaboration with Nokia and Qualcomm, Elisa clocked up 8 Gbit/s on the downlink in test conditions. The trio claimed at the time it was the fastest 5G speed ever recorded.

Elisa has now turned its attention to 5G uplink throughput. Again, working with Nokia and Qualcomm – and using 26GHz mmWave spectrum (as was the case with the high-speed downlink test) – Elisa has apparently demonstrated "record-breaking" 5G uplink speeds of 2.1 Gbit/s.

The demo involved a Nokia AirScale basestation and Qualcomm's Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System "featuring fourth-generation QualcommQTM545 mmWave antenna modules."

Nokia's carrier aggregation tech, which included four component carriers of 100MHz, was also used in the trial.

The 5G uplink was put through its paces at the Nokia Arena in Tampere, an indoor stadium with access to Elisa's 5G mmWave spectrum. The Finnish operator expects the "solution" to be "fully deployed" next year, with fans attending Nokia Arena – as far as Light Reading can tell – likely the first beneficiaries. "[It] will deliver incredible and enhanced services to visitors of the Nokia Arena," said Sami Komulainen, Elisa's EVP of production.

Upbeat on uplink

The three companies highlighted the possibility of new "at-venue data services," courtesy of higher 5G uplink speeds.

These included real-time multi-user 8K ultra-high-definition video streaming. Augmented reality content for smartphones or wearable devices for immersive experiences also got a mention.

Moreover, visitors to the Arena are promised the ability to watch live performances from 360-degree camera locations via VR headsets, and all from the "comfort of their seats."

Broadcasters look set to benefit, too. According to the official announcement, they will be able to take advantage of "enhanced video capture" to support ultra-high quality live reporting and content delivered to mobile devices and televisions.

5G tech, added Nokia, can also help out with improving venue security.

Samsung playing catch-up?

Samsung, too, has clocked up fast 5G throughout. Earlier this year, and in collaboration with Qualcomm, the vendor demoed 5G download speeds of 8.08 Gbit/s in its lab in Plano, Texas.

5G uplink speeds still seem a bit off the Nokia Arena pace, however. Samsung, along with Verizon and Qualcomm – in a lab trial conducted late last year – managed "only" 711 Mbit/s using aggregated bands of mmWave spectrum.

There's also Keysight Technologies to consider as a speed contender. At Mobile World Congress 2021, a few months after Elisa conducted its 8Gbit/s downlink demo, Keysight and Qualcomm showcased a 10Gbit/s data connection using 5G new radio dual connectivity (NR-DC).

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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