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VIDEO Ericsson and Verizon Hit 6.4Gbps in 5G Test on Moving Car at 60MPH

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017 (8:50 am) by Mark Jackson (Score 785)
5g indy500 test

Ericsson has teamed up with mobile network operator Verizon (USA) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Indy 500) to demo how their future 5G Mobile technology can deliver downlink data speeds of up to 6.4Gbps (Gigabits per second) and “extremely low latency“, all in a car travelling at 60MPH.

Judging by the accompanying video it looks as if much of the test was conducted on the track’s interior road rather than the speedway itself, with several transceivers being placed strategically around the course so that the car was never very far from a distribution point. The peak speed achieved was 6.4Gbps, although performance dipped to around 1.2Gbps+ at the furthest distance between any two stations and this was still at fairly close range.

The demo would have been much more impressive had it not been for the fact that Samsung has already achieved speeds of between 1.2Gbps to 7.5Gbps when testing similar 5G tech at 28GHz while travelling at just over 60MPH (Miles per hour) on a 4.35km long racetrack, which occurred all the way back in 2014 (here). Nevertheless today’s kit is clearly a lot more compact.

Sadly we’re not given much in the way of information about the setup of the test itself (e.g. what radio spectrum was being used?), although we do know that it involved a gateway based on the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform and will be used to live stream races in both 4K 360-degree video and Virtual Reality (VR).

Ericsson Statement

How did they pull this off this kind of high speed and low latency? 5G uses advanced radio, antenna and processing technologies, including beamforming and beam tracking. Instead of broadly transmitting information towards a user with a relatively wide antenna pattern typical for cellular coverage, beamforming and beam tracking beam information at a specific user with a much narrower beamformed pattern. This provides greater antenna performance and less radio interference, with rapid beam tracking allowing uninterrupted high throughput connectivity even if the user is moving at over 80 miles per hour.

Beamforming extends the reach of the high frequency bands and allows a user device to be serviced by multiple beams. Beam tracking then monitors the quality of connections available to the device and switches between beams to ensure the best user experience at all times.

The latest example of what 5G can do follows just a few days after Ericsson and Celcom Axiata Berhad conducted their first static 5G trial in Malaysia, which was able to achieve a peak throughput up to 18Gbps (Gigabits per second) and latency as low as 3ms (milliseconds) via the 28GHz band. All these peaks speeds sound wonderful but it will still degrade rapidly over distance and the capacity must be shared between many users.

Celcom itself hopes that 5G will provide users with data speeds up to 400Mbps (megabits per second), which is a much more realistic peak for urban expectations where a dense / expensive network of small cells and larger base stations can be constructed. Meanwhile consumers in rural areas will have to use lower frequency spectrum and won’t benefit from the same depth of infrastructure, which means slower speeds but better coverage.

At this point it’s worth remembering that the first commercial roll-out of 5G technology in the UK is not expected to begin until 2020 and it will then take several years to deploy.

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