This blog is by Volker Held, head of Innovation Marketing at Nokia Networks. Twitter: @V_Held
The cornerstones of 5G radio technology are in place
The recent progress in 5G technology has been remarkable. The Brooklyn 5G summit saw an impressive line-up of prototypes that will form the cornerstones of 5G. The demonstrations showed how to make best use of the entire frequency spectrum up to the 100 GHz area with advanced technologies such as Massive MIMO and beamsteering achieved by phased array technology using a large number of antenna elements. One of the highlights was the proof that 5G cellular technology is able to deliver peak speeds of 10 Gbps, over the air under realistic conditions. Downloading a full-length HD movie at 10 Gbps on a mobile device takes only a matter of seconds. In other words, we are very much where we need to be from a 5G technology research point of view.
Deploying 5G in real environments
Now the question is how to deploy 5G in real environments and topologies. This question is quite crucial as there is no deployment experience yet with the higher bands. On one hand, the spectrum above 6 GHz is critical for 5G because the spectrum range is huge compared to what we are currently using for mobile communication. For example, above 30 GHz you have about 1 GHz bandwidth per carrier available, whereas the bands below 6 GHz only offer up to 100 MHz.
On the other hand, propagation in the higher bands is not without its challenges. The waves don’t travel that far so the potential for interruption in connectivity needs to be considered. We also need to understand the propagation characteristics and consider them when deploying radios operating in that spectrum. Some experts have even raised concerns about the practical benefits of solutions in the so-called mmWave and cmWave bands.
5G deployment also needs to take the capabilities of the legacy infrastructure into account and utilize further developments of LTE-Advanced. LTE evolution will face many requirements on the macro layer as we approach 2020 and beyond, so 5G will complement LTE rather than replace it.
To understand the 5G deployment options and derive the best possible deployment scenario, Nokia conducted intense studies in Madrid and Tokyo that provide detailed results on how 5G should be rolled out in practice.
The graph below shows the coverage and capacity of a 5G HetNet deployment in Tokyo.
The study results of this deployment are summarized in our new white paper: 10 key rules of 5G deployment. The paper contains the 10 key recommendations for deploying a 5G system from 2020 towards 2030.
A 10,000-fold capacity increase is feasible
An important result of the study is that a 10,000-fold capacity increase can be provided in a dense urban environment as well as in dense indoor areas, resulting in an overall capacity of 1 Terabit/ second/ km2 using the available spectrum range from below 1 GHz up to 100 GHz.
The study also provide the answers to the specific deployment challenges in the upper frequency bands: The higher path loss at higher frequency bands can be effectively compensated by very large antenna arrays. For deployments above 6 GHz, an inter-site distance of 75-100 m can provide full coverage and satisfy the required capacity, depending on the environment.
For more information on demonstrations, please contact Nokia Networks Solution Experience Center.
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