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Nokia Achieve New 5G Mobile Broadband Speed Record of 3Gbps

Friday, January 28th, 2022 (10:29 am) - Score 1,752
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A joint trial conducted by Nokia, China Mobile (CMCC) and MediaTek has successfully achieved a new Standalone 5G (SA) download speed record of 2.94Gbps (Gigabits per second), which isn’t as fast as some previous tests but, crucially, it was achieved using modest amounts of spectrum within the common 700MHz and 2.6GHz bands.

Most of the past 5G speed records, which have gone significantly faster (e.g. Nokia, Elisa and Qualcomm’s 8Gbps test in 2020), have tended to reach such levels by harnessing much higher radio frequencies in the millimetre Wave (mmW) bands. The problem with mmW is that such signals are extremely weak and thus don’t travel very far in a regular mobile environment, which limits their usefulness.

NOTE: mmW bands go up to 300GHz, but 5G mobile networks tend to focus on the 24GHz to 40GHz range.

However, the new trial combined the first deployment 3 Components (3CC) Carrier Aggregation (CA) technology (i.e. combining multiple bands together to boost data speeds and coverage) with 5G FDD spectrum from a much more familiar band (30MHz from the 700MHz / n28 band) and some 5G TDD spectrum (100+60MHz from the 2.6GHz / n41 band). Both 700MHz and 2.6GHz are used in the UK, but the latter is currently a 4G service.

The trial, which utilized Nokia’s AirScale 5G baseband and MediaTek’s Dimensity 9000 5G flagship mobile platform on CMCC’s network in Shanghai, is the first time the n28 and n41 frequency bands have been successfully combined to reach 190MHz of spectrum bandwidth (n28 + n41) with CA technology.

Mark Atkinson, Nokia’s SVP of Radio Access Networks PLM, said:

“Nokia has put a strong focus on leading in 5G Carrier Aggregation. This new speed record, using commercially available hardware and software, highlights how Nokia’s pioneering approach continues to drive important innovation in the market. 5G Carrier Aggregation is a critical technology for mobile operators around the world to maximize the impact of their spectrum holdings and deliver enhanced coverage and capacity to subscribers. Nokia will keep pushing the boundaries of 5G to deliver industry-leading performance.”

In an ideal world we could perhaps take this as a rough indication of the sort of performance improvements that should be coming to mainstream 5G mobile networks in the next few years. This may be particularly true once 5G SA starts to achieve some good coverage (existing 5G deployments in the UK still have some reliance on 4G, which holds them back).

But as usual we don’t know much about the test setup above, particularly in terms of the antenna design, power levels, weather conditions (we suspect perfect weather) and distances involved. A speed of 2.94Gbps sounds great, but not so much if it only occurred over a handful of metres (we don’t know if it did or not). In any case, there’s clearly a lot more speed to come from future 5G upgrades.

Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Sham Networks says:

    3 Gbit/sec sounds great on the radio interface

    until you realise network providers are only ordering 1Gb backhauls and furthermore only leasing partial capacity on that link to absolutely skimp on costs.

    Total utter waste of money, networks are forever over-promising, forever under-delivering.

    Can’t even send a whatsapp message in the afternoons mon-fri in my area, that’s how bad it has become.

    Looking at Cellmapper, the network builds round here are a total disgrace, so many discrepancies in build, most sites are single band, they fought for 2600 bands but clearly hardly even been rolled out. What a farce.

    All this points to utter mismanagement, wilfully knowing the sites are hammered but not bothering to upgrade to additional bands.

    Sorry not impressed in the slightest. 3G has a brighter future.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Guessing you live in an area with a lot of those problems, and they certainly do exist, but across the wider UK the networks do seem to be getting faster – as shown via various benchmarks from Ookla, Rootmetrics, Opensignal, Ofcom etc. It’s also worth pointing out that operators can order more backhaul when it’s needed, and the realities of “best efforts” consumer provision means that the backhaul goes a lot further than you may think.

  2. Marcin says:

    What a BS, yes in the paper look good in realaity speeds are the same as 4h , no difference what so ever…

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