Electronics giant Samsung claims to have successfully delivered record setting Mobile Broadband speeds of a staggering 7.5Gbps (Gigabits per second) using a prototype of their next generation 5G technology, with the uninterrupted speeds falling away to 1.2Gbps when the service was tested while travelling at just over 60Mph (Miles per hour) on a 4.35km long racetrack.
A number of major tech firms are racing to be the first to develop a viable 5G technology for Mobile Network Operators (MNO), which many expect to surface in a commercial form by around 2020 or later, and so for all of them it’s important to keeping highlighting any achievements as this could impact whether or not they’re considered for the future standard.
In Samsung’s case it’s not just the performance that forms part of their claim to fame this time around, as both their stationary test to 7.5Gbps and moving test to 1.2Gbps were conducted in an outdoor setting. Prior to this most of the other demos have occurred under indoor lab conditions, where the hardware was often placed in close proximity.
ChangYeong Kim, Head of R&D at Samsung Electronics, said:
“We will continue to build upon these milestones and develop advanced technologies that contribute to the 5G standard. In addition to leveraging our own global R&D capabilities, we will also continue to cooperate with other industry leaders and research centers across the world. Whether you are talking about mobile devices, the cloud, or the Internet of Things, the demand for 5G telecommunications standard and its supporting technologies will continue to grow.”
The test itself also made use of the 28GHz radio spectrum band, which is good for performance but not ideal for a mass market mobile network where wide-coverage is require since it would struggle to penetrate through walls and the signals tend to suffer from reduced distance. This is why most mobile networks prefer the longer reach of cost-effective spectrum in the 800MHz – 2.6GHz bands.
Never the less Samsung claims that at least some of these issues can be overcome by using the company’s new Hybrid Adaptive Array Technology (HAAT), which uses millimeter wave frequency bands to enable the use of higher frequencies over greater distances. But those laws of physics can be pesky little things and it’s notable that Samsung’s report makes no firm mention of actual transmission distances.
On the other hand the speed of 7.5Gbps still marks a massive improvement over the firms prior 2013 test, when just 1Gbps was achieved using the same frequency. The demonstrated performance puts Samsung close to achieving the expectations of the 5G standard, which call for a peak performance capability of 10Gbps+.
It’s important to remember that the 5G standard will also need to be adaptable to modern spectrum, which means that the 28GHz tests may not be all that applicable to the wider consumer market and performance may thus end up being a lot lower when squeezed down into longer-reach frequencies. But it’s still early days for 5G development and there’s a long road ahead, so we won’t make any judgements today. The progress is good.