US Cellular, Qualcomm Technologies, Ericsson and Inseego have achieved a 5G wireless communications extended-range milestone over millimeter-wave (mmWave) on a commercial network. The milestone was accomplished at a distance of 7 kilometers km (4.34 miles), the farthest 5G mmWave fixed wireless access (FWA) connection in the United States, with sustained average downlink speeds of ~1 Gbps, sustained average uplink speeds of ~55 Mbps and instantaneous peak downlink speeds recorded at greater than 2 Gbps.
Additionally, at a distance of 1.75 km (1 mile) with no line of sight, the companies achieved sustained average downlink speeds of ~730 Mbps and sustained average uplink speeds of ~38 Mbps. The test operators achieved the results in Janesville, Wisconsin, on US Cellular’s commercial network by applying Ericsson’s extended-range software to commercial Ericsson hardware Antenna Integrated Radio (AIR) 5322, along with an Inseego Wavemaker Pro 5G outdoor CPE FW2010e powered by the Qualcomm 5G fixed wireless access platform gen 1 featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G modem-RF system and a Qualcomm QTM527 mmWave antenna module. The achievement demonstrated the impressive range and connectivity speeds 5G mmWave can provide to homes and businesses everywhere.
Why It’s Important
With its massive capacity, in particular achieving gigabit speeds at this wide range, 5G mmWave is a robust and crucial solution to meet the increasing traffic demand and expand broadband services to help bridge the digital divide throughout rural, suburban and urban communities. 5G mmWave will enable new business opportunities in FWA by providing a cost-effective and future-proof way for communication service providers to deliver high internet speeds. 5G FWA will address the last-mile connectivity challenges by allowing operators and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to deploy 5G connectivity to homes and institutions such as schools and hospitals. FWA provides the bandwidth required to support high-definition video streaming that can improve remote education and healthcare experiences in suburban and rural environments.
“We believe that every household and business deserves access to reliable Internet access no matter where they are located, and the results we achieved in this latest mmWave test further confirm that wireless technology is key to providing high-speed broadband service in both urban and rural areas,” said Mike Irizarry, executive vice president and chief technology officer at US Cellular. “By collaborating with companies like Ericsson, Qualcomm and Inseego, we will continue to drive innovation with extended-range technology to ensure that wireless customers across rural America have an exceptional wireless experience designed for their communities.”
Manish Tripathi, vice president of engineering at Qualcomm Technologies, said his company was pleased with its s collaboration with US Cellular, Ericsson and Inseego.
“This milestone continues to highlight the growing momentum we’re seeing across the industry to bridge the digital divide,” Tripathi said. “Our innovations in 5G FWA will help operators and OEMs offer flexible and cost-effective, low-latency, extended range, multigigabit 5G broadband to their customers. The Qualcomm 5G fixed wireless access platform gen 1 was designed to deliver the first fully integrated extended-range mmWave solution to deploy 5G connectivity to homes, small businesses, schools, hospitals and town halls.”
Ashish Sharma, president of IoT and mobile solutions at Inseego, referred to the Inseego Wavemaker Pro 5G outdoor CPE FW2010e as an exciting, high-performance product within the company’s growing portfolio of 5G fixed wireless access solutions.
“In addition to providing long-distance millimeter wave connectivity, we’re delivering the exceptionally high throughput that’s essential for enterprise, SMB and home internet users,” Sharma said. “This performance will get even better with other features we support in our Wavemaker PRO FW2010e 5G solution. It’s truly a game-changer for the FWA market.”
Chicago-based US Cellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States. It provides national network coverage and innovations designed to elevate the customer experience.
Qualcomm is a wireless technology innovator and a force behind the development, launch and expansion of 5G.
Ericsson enables communications service providers to capture the value of connectivity. The company’s portfolio spans networks, digital services, managed services and emerging business, and is designed to help customers go digital, increase efficiency and find new revenue streams.
Inseego offers smart device-to-cloud solutions that extend the 5G network edge, enabling broader 5G coverage, multigigabit data speeds, low latency and strong security to deliver highly reliable internet access.
Source: US Cellular
The C band is good spectrum but will it play in Peoria? How about western Kansas? Several speakers on the FierceWireless Keynote Panel: New Frontiers for 5G spoke about the role mid-band spectrum will play in rural wireless networks, during last week’s Mobile Carrier Show, produced by the Competitive Communications Association.
The spectrum layer cake – high-, mid- and low- band – is important for 5G in the less populated areas, as well as the cities, according to Mike Irizarry, chief technology officer, US Cellular,
“You need to have a fair amount of depth in low-band spectrum, that amount of depth in mid-band spectrum and a good amount of depth in high-band spectrum to meet all the myriad use cases that are contemplated in 5G,” Irizarry said. “I don’t think you can focus on any one band, if your intent is to provide service across the gamut of use cases.”
US Cellular is currently seeing asymmetric traffic on its network of 8:1, downlink to uplink. 5G will allow it to decouple the uplink from the downlink. So, carrier routes the heavier trafficked downlink across the high band and uses the low band to carrier the uplink.
Mid-band spectrum will not prompt the deployment of additional cell sites to densify the network, according to Irizarry. Instead, the carrier will layer in mid-band spectrum over existing cell sites.
“What’s exciting about 5G and really different from 4G is that it is a unifying technology which allows you to take the different bands and seamlessly create a pipe to the customer,” Irizarry said. “We’ve not had that capability before.”
Mid-band spectrum allows a carrier to exploit multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) technology, which increases both its capacity and gain, Irizarry said. As a result, the carrier is able to offload traffic from the low-band spectrum.
“The reality is it will never propagate as far as low-band spectrum and it will not penetrate buildings, more effectively than low-band spectrum,” Irizarry said. “But, if you view the spectrum assets as a portfolio that is unified by 5G, what it allows you to do is offload traffic from the low-band spectrum that they can be used to provide more resources to serve people in building.”
Nex-Tech has been active in acquiring mid-band spectrum, according to Nathan Sutter, Kansas-based Nex-Tech. Contrary to what you might believe, he said the spectrum is important to the regional, tier three wireless carrier.
“We’ve bought mid-band spectrum specifically for the surgical deployment areas where it’s needed,” Sutter said. “I’m of the opinion that mid-band spectrum is the currency on which 5G will be printed. If you don’t have the depth of mid-band spectrum, you won’t be able to find provide a meaningfully differentiated experience to your customers, and they need that, no matter where they live.”
In particular, Nex-Tech is developing its mid-band spectrum strategy to provide coverage for in-building special events and precision agriculture.
“The mid-band spectrum in my network isn’t going to reach out and touch more than several kilometers,” Sutter said. “There may be rural areas where you do need to densify or put in a small cell to serve a small area. It’s something that we’re actually really excited about.”
T-Mobile is upgrading 1,000 towers a week with mid-band spectrum and it expects to have nationwide coverage by the end of the year, according to Ulf Ewaldsson, chief network officer, T-Mobile. The carrier wants to maintain its user experience from coast-to-coast, he said.
“So we’re, we’re spending a lot of money and a lot of effort to upgrade our network,” Ewaldsson said. we look at this as a nationwide coverage story; we believe that mobility is expected by users. The user experience that we can provide on mid-band combined with low-band is outstanding; it’s more than 10 times better than what you get on an LTE.”
T-Mobile is trying to build out a 2.5 GHz band network that will maintain the high speeds required by new applications as users travel in between cities.
“How do we make the best possible customer experience? How do we avoid drops?” Ewaldsson said. “The devices are changing the way they operate on the network. Applications are changing. Everything that’s going on with the devices will get adjusted to higher and higher speeds.”