Operators racing to beat their competitors to 5G mobile services are using residential fixed wireless access (FWA) service to demonstrate leadership and boost their 5G street cred, according to a GlobalData report.
The company’s latest report: ‘5G Fixed Wireless – An Early 5G Use Case’ states that 5G FWA offers higher bandwidth than previous generations of fixed wireless, theoretically at lower costs once sufficient scale is reached. This in turn offers the ability to offer data speeds comparable to fiber in markets where deploying fiber is deemed too expensive.
Ed Gubbins, Mobile Infrastructure Senior Analyst at GlobalData, said: “Fixed-mobile integrated operators have shown particular interest in 5G FWA because it serves dual functions of enabling last-mile connectivity and providing a stepping stone to future mobile 5G. Fixed service providers have also shown interest in 5G.”
However, the technology has challenges, including in the spectrum bands envisioned for fixed wireless. According to Gubbins, “there has been particular interest in using millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum for 5G, because of its high capacity and throughput potential. However, mmWave faces signal retention issues and limited propagation. These challenges are much more manageable at lower band sub-6 GHz spectrum; however, for fixed wireless, these bands are more likely to be used in rural areas”.
In addition to technical challenges, there is also an open question whether fixed wireless will ultimately become a widespread 5G use case. Gubbins concludes, “operators with existing fibre infrastructure, but which face difficulties in the high cost of last-mile delivery, are currently the most likely to benefit from 5G FWA to deliver last-mile services, but a successful 5G portfolio will need to include multiple services beyond fixed wireless to generate ROI. Vendors should address operator concerns about cost and longevity more directly, and with clearer timelines.”
Juniper Networks’ CEO Rami Rahim has warned that networks have become too complex, and firms are ill prepared for IoT and 5G which will make matters worse.
He told the assorted throngs at Juniper Networks’ annual EMEA shin-dig in London that Networks have become too complex, fragile and difficult to manage… this could be this industry’s biggest challenge so far.
“Our driving strategy is what we call the pursuit of simplicity, because what I see as the main challenge of today is managing complexity,” he said.
He claimed his outfit’s Juniper’s PTX series core routers and packet transport routers were a solution to increasing complexity.
“We knew that there needed to be a more effective, and cost-effective, approach to deploying networks, and we invented this new concept of a lean core network with a product called the PTX which has been growing incredibly well for us. In fact, this year for the first time ever we have achieved number one market share in North America in core routing and that’s primarily because of this product line”, he said.
Rahim added that IoT and 5G were the two tech trends that will exacerbate the problems of excessive complexity and “fundamentally change network architectures”.
“This concept that we know today of the cloud being a central datacentre that is delivering services to the masses will reach a breaking point due to IoT and 5G”, Rahim said.
“If you think of the billions of devices that are going to be connected to this global network, the time between sensing the data from sensors – that are typically going to be video cameras – then collecting, acting, processing and then feeding back the intelligence into the network, that process is going to need to get tighter”, he said.
Huawei is spending a bomb to improve its 5G patent portfolio.
The outfit said that it wants to spend $600 million on 5G wireless research and development from 2013 to 2018.
But speaking to reporters at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday, Huawei Chief Executive Ken Hu said that 5G research spending was likely to rise, without giving specific figures.
Huawei was Europe’s seventh-largest patent filer in 2014, up from 13th the previous year, according a report published last week by the European Patent Office (EPO). It was granted 493 patents by the European agency in 2014, although they were not all 5G related.
5G is supposed to be the next big thing, promises superfast internet speeds, broader network coverage and peace in our lunchtime.
It is also expected to be the driver to hook up objects to the internet from cars to health monitoring devices or the internet of things. The commercial launch of 5G is expected to begin in 2020.
“We have made quite a large number of technology innovations and breakthroughs,” Hu, deputy chairman and ‘rotating’ chief executive of Huawei, said.
These give Huawei a stronger position in terms of intellectual property, he said.
Hu urged cooperation among telecom operators, equipment makers and other industries to agree on a single set of standards for 5G technology to ensure a global market.
University of Surrey researchers working on 5G mobile broadband claim to have broken the transfer speed limit of 1Tbps (Terabits per second).
Normally when people talk about 5G they are happen to hint at speeds of 10Gbps to 50Gbps (Gigabits per second). Samsung managed 7.5Gbps in a car moving at 60MPH over a distance of 4.35km and using the 28GHz radio spectrum band.
The Surrey test said that its performance was managed over 100 metres via new transmitters and receivers.
The plan is to take the technology outside of the lab for testing between 2016 and 2017, which would be followed by a public demo in early 2018.
Professor Rahim Tafazolli, who leads the project said that the technique is independent of centre frequency whether mm wave or below 6GHz.
“It is a new detector that works really well in environments where there is a lot of interference I.e dense cells (for example cells of ~100m) and cells with lots of interfering antennas like massive MIMO. The indicated rate was measured in 100MHz of bandwidth.”
While most people haven’t even moved to 4G phone networks yet, manufacturers are already talking about standards for the next faster generation of 5G phones.
Major vendors are engaging with the formal standards process, according to ABI Research. Those include Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung, mobile operators and academic bodies.
Research director Philip Solis sad: “These companies are all waving their 5G flags, although 5G definitions and visions remain very vague. But this is not merely marketing. These companies are most certainly putting a stake in the ground that will leverage their, work, competitive strengths, and, most crucially, patents.”
He said that Qualcomm in particular is keeping its head low, but other vendors such as Apple and Google are getting actively involved.
Solis said that efforts by vendors to use their patents will be fiercer than for 4G.
But despite the competitive edge, Solis said that companies are working together “so the standardisation process can hit the ground running”.
Consumers and carriers are slowly but surely transitioning to 4G and the hunger for high speed broadband on the go is transforming the way we use our clever mobile devices, including traditional kit like notebooks. Earlier this week Samsung announced its first 5G milestone, proudly telling the world that 1Gbps 5G is coming by 2020.