While many consumers may still be pining for faster 4G LTE data speeds, the industry is already keenly testing out its early 5G implementations. At MWC 2016, Samsung and Deutsche Telekom put on a live demonstration using their 5G 60GHz millimeter wave small cell solution and compatible smartphones, the world’s first successful showcase of a complete end-to-end solution.
During the demonstration, two Samsung smartphones were used to track the precise movements of a robotic arm from two different angles, and 4K UHD video content was transmitted over the air without any perceivable latency. The demo smartphones contained 16 antenna elements that support beam-forming alongside standard 3G and LTE connections, showing that the multi-band modem is also capable of supporting existing, as well as future carrier technologies. 5G devices are set to make simultaneous use of multiple sources, standards and wavelengths to drastically increase the bandwidth available to users.
In terms of speed, the two companies achieved a peak throughput of more than 1.5Gbps on each smartphone, which is amazingly fast. Although we should always be aware that these tightly controlled demonstration speeds are not going to accurately reflect real world consumer scenarios.
“It is important for Samsung to take a realistic path towards 5G world by securing seamless mobility, which will enable people to enjoy immersive experiences such as virtual reality broadcasting services and hologram calls using 5G infrastructures. Samsung will continue its innovation with Deutsche Telekom to bring 5G technology closer to our lives.” – Youngky Kim, President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics.
The use of very high frequency unlicensed wavelengths, such as the 60GHz spectrum in this demonstration, is seen as a key technology for providing higher data speeds and lower latency communications across shorter distances. Longer distances can be covered by the traditional lower frequency radio methods with 5G, but this will be supplemented by numerous faster small cells. Many companies working in the 5G space are exploring the use of networks above the 6GHz spectrum, as there is plenty of empty bandwidth here to accommodate additional traffic.