5G: Is Fixed Really In?

DALLAS -- 5G North America -- You know what? It's difficult not to get a bit jaded after you've been to a few conferences dedicated to the next generation of wireless technology. With all the wild promises and predictions spewing from keynotes and sessions, it is hard not to feel that -- to use a delightful American colloquialism -- people are blowing smoke up your butt.

Particularly as the first likely application for 5G will be useful but distinctly boring. In 2017-18, pre-standard 5G radios will (probably) arrive for operators that want to deliver 1Gbit/s fiber-like services to the home over the air.

In the US, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is the loudest champion of this approach, as it thinks that a wireless approach will be cheaper than digging up the street. This could be true, but backhaul and small cell zoning rights could all add up, too.

Verizon's fixed wireless specification is very much an evolution of LTE. It uses a wideband-OFDM radio scheme, twinned with 10MHz radio channels that can be combined to deliver 800MHz in the high-band 28GHz range.

What is undeniable is that the fixed route is the easiest way to tell consumers you've delivered 5G. Going mobile on 5G is so much harder, and people at the show variously described it to me as "an interesting test case," as well as a way to not have to deal with the large range of use case options in a 5G core architecture.

We know what fixed 5G is right now: A ramped-up version of the old LMDS system with dramatically better antenna technology giving it muscle.

So the next time someone tells you that 5G will deliver the next industrial revolution, you might want to remind them, baby steps, first, kid, baby steps...

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

DanJones 11/18/2016 | 12:00:22 AM
Re: Samsung 5G works at 93 mph Er, it won't be fully mobile before 2020. They are doing fixed first, as they have repeatedly said.
TV Monitor 11/16/2016 | 5:16:38 PM
Samsung 5G works at 93 mph Verizon's 28 Ghz 5G network will be fully mobile with Samsung basestations, now that Verizon's V5GTF is fully harmonized with 5G-SIG.


5G Development Moving Quickly; NTT Docomo, Samsung Achieve 2.5 Gbps at 150 km/h

On Nov. 16, Docomo announced that a data speed exceeding 2.5 Gbps had been achieved using a 5G mobile device in a vehicle traveling 150 km/h (93.205 mph), thereby confirming for the first time that 5G mobile device users will be able to connect to next-gen wireless broadband networks while traveling in fast trains.

The test took place Nov. 7 in a controlled, outdoor environment – the Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture, a province situated in central Honshu bordering Japan's Pacific coast. NTT Docomo transmitted signals over the high frequency 28 GHz band, one of several that Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is considering for commercial 5G network transmissions, the carrier explains in a news release.
georgegilder 11/16/2016 | 12:53:56 PM
5 G antennas The key to mobile 5G is moving baseband processing from the antenna or cell tower back to the base station or cloud. With antennas stripped of their compute functions they can be cheap and ubiquitous. This virtualization of baseband is now being made possible by ASOCS of Israel and means that mobile 5G may be closer than it seems.

George Gilder
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