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Nokia Networks Demos 5G Mobile Broadband Speeds of 10Gbps

Friday, April 10th, 2015 (2:02 pm) - Score 1,878
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Nokia Networks and National Instruments (NI) have demonstrated a future 5G technology that can deliver peak rate Mobile Broadband data speeds of up to 10Gbps (Gigabits per second), but as usual there’s a catch in the choice of frequency band.

The demo is taking placing at a summit in Brooklyn, which shows how the 10Gbps capable system uses 2×2 Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO) links via single carrier Null Cyclic Prefix modulation and frame size of 100 micro seconds to achieve low latency and ultrafast data rates.

But crucially there’s no information about the distance being used in this demo, although it’s almost certainly going to be conducted over a very short range (that’s usually what happens with big public demos), and on top of that the performance was only achieved by using a millimeter Wave (mmW) style high frequency band(s) of 73GHz.

Lauri Oksanen, Nokia Network’s VP of Research and Technology, said:

At Nokia we strive to expand the human potential of the connected world. 5G mobile network speeds as high as 10Gbps and with extremely low latency are a driving force for massive mobile broadband and totally new applications in the future Programmable World. We’re excited to showcase these achievements with our partners. Our progress, coupled with the joint organization of the Brooklyn 5G Summit, underscores our commitment to be a leader in 5G.”

However it’s important to put this demo into some perspective. Most UK mobile operators currently prefer to use lower frequencies, such as the radio spectrum bands between 800MHz and 2.6GHz, which travel further and penetrate much more easily through walls.

By comparison the frequency bands used in Nokia’s demo would struggle with coverage and penetration through walls (not to mention a lot of other pesky environmental obstructions, such as bad weather), which means that a much more dense and complicated arrangement of infrastructure would be required to deliver the best coverage (this might become very expensive).

Various other 5G development groups are also building solutions that can deploy a similarly ultrafast 5G mobile service using mmW frequency bands (i.e. delivering higher frequencies over greater distances), although the real question is what these networks will be able to deliver when forced to use the more commercially viable lower frequency spectrum bands.

But for now everybody is so focused on the peak speeds that they’re forgetting about the need to be economically realistic, which means the ability to deliver a consumer affordable service that can cover a wide area, with low maintenance, and without having to stick a base station on every single street corner.

The reality of 5G performance for ordinary consumers is likely to be a lot slower than the top speeds being talked about above, although that’s not to say it’ll be slow. A recent practical test of similar technology in the 28GHz band from Samsung was able to deliver speeds of 1.2Gbps from a vehicle moving at 60MPH around a 4.35km long test track, which hit 7.5Gbps when stationary and is a lot more realistic (here). Just remember that in the real world this peak capacity would also have to be shared between multiple users.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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