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Qualcomm teams with Verizon and Ericsson to set 5G speed benchmark, boosts 5G offering

Comms carrier and tech companies continue to drive advancements in 5G technology using aggregation technology on mmWave spectrum while new portfolio of 5G RAN platforms aims to enable a new generation of cellular networks

On the heels of the carrier advancing the deployment of 5G and making innovations in the technology, especially with the roll-out out of private enterprise 5G networks in Europe and Asia, leading communications provider Verizon has teamed with Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies to demonstrate 5G peak speeds of 5.06Gbps, while the latter has announced a full portfolio of 5G infrastructure semiconductor platforms designed for broad deployment scenarios.

The three companies said that when fully mature, 5G technology had the potential to reach speeds of up to 10Gbps, with latency under 5ms (milliseconds) and service deployment times of 90 minutes. It would enable mobile connections to happen at up to 500kph with the ability to manage over one million devices per km2 and data volumes of 10Tbps/km2. This makes the technology ideal for use cases such as autonomous vehicles, telemedicine and Industry 4.0 applications, and augmented and virtual reality.

The 5.06Gbps speed benchmark is said to have been set using 5G mmWave spectrum with carrier aggregation, a technology that combines multiple channels of spectrum to provide greater efficiency for data sessions transmitting over a wireless network. The companies combined eight separate channels of spectrum to achieve the multi-gigabit speeds.

The demonstration, completed in a lab environment, used 5G infrastructure equipment from the Ericsson Radio System portfolio and a 5G smartphone form factor test device powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System featuring third-generation Qualcomm QTM535 millimetre wave (mmWave) antenna modules.

The 5.06Gbps speed was delivered using 800MHz bandwidth in 28GHz mmWave spectrum combined with 40MHz for the 4G LTE anchor. This band combination is commercially supported in the Ericsson Radio System portfolio and several 5G devices available today powered by the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System.

“We have been driving the evolution of 5G technology from the early days and we continue to aggressively drive innovation, pushing the limits of the technology farther and faster for our customers. This latest achievement is yet another milestone in providing a genuinely differentiated service for our customers on mmWave,” said Verizon vice-president of device technology Brian Mecum.

“Our strategy from the beginning has always been to reshape the world by driving innovation and leading the way in deploying the keenly differentiated 5G Ultra Wideband experience customers can only get from the mmWave-based 5G network. It is the 21st century infrastructure that will shape the future,” said Mecum. “[The] demonstration shows the advancements we are making to provide our customers with the mobile technology and capabilities they don’t even yet know they need.”

Hannes Ekström, head of product line 5G, business area networks, at Ericsson, said it was excited to partner with Verizon and Qualcomm to push the envelope and break another data speed record, achieving the 5Gbps data speeds. “This shows the fruits of our collaboration and our investments in technology leadership to harness the millimetre wave spectrum. The technology to aggregate vast amounts of spectrum in these bands is enabling a new world of opportunities.”

For its part, Qualcomm said 5G mmWave would enable many new use cases for consumers and businesses, as well as enable many of today’s mobile devices to take advantage of its enhanced network capacity, multi-gigabit speeds and low latency. And in a further step of this commercialisation, the new portfolio of 5G infrastructure semiconductor platforms is designed for broad deployment scenarios, ranging from macro base stations with massive multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) to micro base stations with compact designs, to accelerate the cellular ecosystem transition toward virtualised and interoperable 5G radio access networks (RAN).

Qualcomm is introducing three new 5G RAN platform offerings: radio unit platform, distributed unit platform and distributed radio unit platform. The new platforms are claimed to be the world’s first-announced solutions purposely designed from the ground up to support leading mobile operators in the deployment of a new generation of converged, open and virtualised RAN (vRAN) networks. These platforms are designed to enable infrastructure suppliers to transform public and private wireless networks into a platform for innovation and deliver on the full potential of 5G.

The portfolio of 5G RAN platforms is designed to allow established and emerging network vendors to accelerate deployment and commercialisation of vRAN equipment and features that address the demands of 5G for both public and private networks.

“Our 5G expertise and global technology leadership uniquely positions Qualcomm Technologies to provide a comprehensive horizontal infrastructure platform to enable the deployment of innovative, high-performance, virtualised and modular 5G networks at scale,” remarked Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon. “We are working closely with mobile operators, network equipment vendors, standards bodies and other key stakeholders to make the deployments of these networks a reality.” 

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