Ericsson & Verizon Take 5G to the Races
Verizon and Ericsson are showing off 60mph 5G drive tests at the Indy 500 Speedway this week, as the pair eye the next-generation technology as an engine for growing the connected car business.
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s North American CTO, Glenn Laxdal, told Light Reading on Monday that the demonstration showed off downloads at 6 Gbit/s on a test car equipped with a 28GHz radio at the iconic speedway in Indianapolis. The vendor outfitted the raceway with four 28GHz radios spaced at 450-yard intervals around the track, using 64x64 antenna arrays.
"It's showing 5G in, really, three dimensions," Laxdal said.
You can see a video on the test drive below:
As you can see, the "blackout" test, where the windows of the car are blacked out and the driver uses a live video feed -- viewed through VR glasses to steer the vehicle -- is kind of an extreme way to make a point. "It does effectively demonstrate the low-latency capabilities of the network," Laxdal notes.
The CTO says that the connected car is an important 5G use case for Ericsson, along with other remote controlled vehicles, like drones. "The connected car should be a big part of that, not the only part, but a big part."
The Indy 500 test, however, is not the only 5G work Ericsson is doing with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) at the moment. The operator is testing 5G fixed wireless with Ericsson and Samsung Corp. in 11 cities in the US. (See Verizon to Start Fixed 5G Customer Trials in April and Ericsson Plots Customer Tests of Verizon's 5G.)
There have been some worries about the range and propagation of 28GHz radios for fixed wireless recently. Laxdal says that Ericsson, however, has been happy with the results so far. (See Big Questions Remain on Fixed Millimeter Wave for 5G.)
"You lose a lot from path loss but you can get almost all of that back by focusing the energy in the beam [using beamforming and beamsteering]," Laxdal says.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading