With 5G services expected to use higher frequencies than today's cellular networks, operators are starting to develop ways to extend the range of the high-band signals that will be used for 5G.
To that end, SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) says that it has developed a radio signal repeater "to resolve the issue of 5G coverage limitations caused by the propagation characteristics of radio signals at super-high/above-6GHz frequency bands."
A repeater is one of the most straightforward ways to extend the range of cell service signals. A repeater simply receives a radio signal and retransmits it.
Extending 5G coverage and range is especially important to SK Telecom, one of the early advocates of using 28GHz millimeter waves for next-generation 5G services. 28GHz operates at such a high frequency that it can be subject to quality issues in penetrating foliage, walls and more. (See SKT Airs 28GHz Concerns, Eyes Mid-Band 5G.)
Sk Telecom says that it has tested the repeater on its 5G test network deployed near Gangnam Station in Seoul, South Korea. SKT is expecting to launch commercial 5G in the second half of 2019.
"SK Telecom is moving closer to launching a commercial 5G network by applying key 5G technologies to our 5G trial network in Gangnam, an area with the highest data traffic," said Park Jin-hyo, senior vice president and head of the Network Technology R&D Center at SK Telecom, in a statement.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading