More kms added to mmWave range using 5G radios

5G mmWave base station approx. location

5G mmWave base station approx. location

  • The LEO billionaire boys club may find their potential markets shrinking fast as telcos find ways to beam signals sideways into the rural divide
  • To that end, Nokia, Qualcomm and UScellular are claiming an ‘extended-range 5G’ world record
  • Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) continues its remarkable ascent 

Last month TelecomTV reported that mmWave radio trials on UScellular’s network involving vendors Qualcomm, Ericsson and Inseego had yielded encouraging results from a Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) perspective, cranking “sustained” average downlink speeds of 1 Gbit/s at a range of 7km. 

Today that result has been improved upon, according to a slightly new lineup of trialists on the same network. This time Nokia has joined the fray and the group - Nokia, Qualcomm and UScellular - claims an ‘extended-range 5G’ world record over mmWave (the CPE is a Snapdragon X55 and Qualcomm’s QTM527 antenna module).  

Nokia’s ‘extended-range’ 5G over mmWave has managed more than 10 km on UScellular’s commercial network with an average downlink speed of around 1 Gbps and an uplink of around 57Mbps. Pushing the distance up to  11km yielded a downlink of around 750 Mbps which indicates that 10 kms is the sweet spot for this configuration.  

The field trial used Nokia’s AirScale Baseband and mmWave Radios in the 28 GHz (n261) band, and was conducted on UScellular’s commercial network in Grand Island, Nebraska.  

 Nokia says that result shows that  its 5G extended-range mmWave solution and the Qualcomm Fixed Wireless Access Platform gen 1 enables mobile operators such as UScellular to cost-effectively  address the connectivity gap in communities that previously were not serviced or may not have had an adequate internet connection. 

Last month’s FWA tests involving  Qualcomm, Ericsson and Inseego, also used mmWave technology on UScellular’s commercial network, and managed “sustained” average downlink speeds of 1 Gbit/s at a range of 7km with a clear line of sight, and “sustained” average downlink speeds of 730 Mbit/s at a distance of 1.75km with no line of sight.

Nokia and UScellular recently announced an agreement to add 5G mmWave capabilities in the 24 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum bands with UScellular deploying Nokia’s  AirScale portfolio, with Cloud RAN capabilities, to provide enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) 5G mmWave.  

The latest announcement is yet another boost for FWA as a major 5G use case and  another step on the road to FWA going properly mainstream.

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