Ericsson, TIM, Qualcomm, claim 5G FWA speed milestone

Although fixed wireless access has not yet gained as much publicity as other use cases for the next-generation infrastructure, its potential in connecting those in remote areas to 5G is vast and a consortium of technology vendors and leading Italian operators have established a new throughput benchmark

In a trial that aims to reveal how fixed wireless access (FWA) can help urban, suburban and rural areas boost connectivity capacity and prove the feasibility of 5G millimetre-wave (mmWave) frequencies in powering high-speed, long-distance FWA devices and helping operators generate new revenue streams, leading Italian operator TIM, Ericsson and Qualcomm are claiming to have set a world record for long-distance speed with 5G mmWave technology.

The demo across Rome on TIM’s live network saw a speed of 1Gbps with UDP protocol, 700Mbps on 26GHz mmWave frequencies clocked at a distance of 6.5km from the site, as measured by internet access performance metrics firm Speedtest Ookla.

The partners said the test record confirmed the usability of 5G mmWave spectrum, not only for urban, high-speed or high-density-only deployment, but also for wider 5G FWA coverage.

It builds on the success previously achieved with mmWave in September when the TIM network connection stably exceeded a speed of 4Gbps in downlink on a live 5G network.

The milestone is also said to pave the way to provide TIM customers with enhanced ultra-broadband connections, especially in those areas not yet covered by optic fibre. The firms added that it also ensured through these new 5G fixed wireless access solutions, known as fibre to the air, an increasingly widespread and efficient broadband coverage to the entire country.

The test, set up on the TIM 5G network, was based on an Ericsson 5G mmWave high-power, antenna-integrated radio AIR 5322, installed at the mobile site on Via Oriolo Romano in Rome, equipped with Ericsson’s extended range software.

To achieve the throughput, a new-generation 5G device was used, consisting of AurusAI from Casa Systems, said to be the industry’s first high-power 5G mmWave customer-premises equipment (CPE), and equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System with Qualcomm QTM527 extended-range mmWave antenna module.

The next phase of the test will see the setup deployed in the town of Front, in the Canavese area of the province of Turin. This is an area not yet reached by connectivity solutions, where a 5G mmWave site has been equipped with a high-capacity radio link connection, to allow selected users to try out the FWA 5G mmWave multi-gigabit per second speeds.

Other industrial districts will subsequently be identified where business customers will be able to try the new technology. 

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