Blu Wireless unveils ‘landmark’ 5G mmWave testbed in France

5G mmWave wireless systems provider opens testbed to drive mobility, 5G backhaul and security applications

To date, a number of gating factors have held back the global proliferation of mmWave 5G technology, namely spectrum issue and affordable and available devices. But as these issue become resolved, operators are now lining up to take advantage and Blu Wireless has now launched what it says is the first outdoor mmWave 5G testbed site in France.

5G mmWave uses spectrum resources in frequencies above 24GHz to complement sub-6GHz roll-outs and offer the full potential of 5G, delivering increased bandwidth, fast data speeds and lower latency to users, allowing operators to add massive capacity to cellular networks with multi-gigabit wireless speeds and low-latency connectivity.

These capabilities are likely to see use in applications, giving subscribers fast and responsive connectivity in areas such as fixed wireless, enterprise (such as offices and campuses), ultra-HD video, security, precise remote guidance, telemedicinesmart factories and smart ports. It also particularly benefits densely populated areas, such as campuses and entertainment and sports venues, as a cost-effective way to increase network capacity.

In November 2021, the GSMA, the global association for the mobile industry ecosystem, announced the formation of a global accelerator initiative to drive awareness of 5G mmWave and underline the role that mmWave is playing in unlocking the full potential of 5G. It estimates that by 2025, mobile technologies and services will contribute almost $5tn to the global economy, and that there will be 1.8 billion 5G connections.

It also claims that as stakeholders benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency resulting from the increased take-up of very-high-speed mobile services, mmWave is emerging as an important element of the 5G technology mix.

Based mainly in Bristol, UK, with over 100 staff, Blu Wireless works with its customers to provide complete design, testing and validation, serving emerging markets in mobility, 5G backhaul, perimeter security and public safety and smart cities. It says it is “disrupting the market” with 5G mmWave wireless systems that are driving technological change to meet global connectivity needs, both now and in the future.

The new facility in France will showcase how 5G technology is driving mobility, 5G backhaul and security applications for multiple industries and will accelerate the roll-out of innovative applications that require high speed, low latency and network flexibility.

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The company says its move has been prompted by French regulatory body ARCEP’s announcement that the 57-71GHz band will be available licence-free in France, following the example of many other European countries.

The 5G mmWave testbed just outside Paris combines Blu Wireless’ IEEE 5G mmWave products with complementary products from Mentor Consultant, Lynceo and 4G Technology, demonstrating high-bandwidth, low-latency 5G backhaul in a real wireless environment. Blu Wireless says its 5G mmWave product is the first certified in Europe for operation between 57 and 71GHz available under CEPT 70 03 licence-exempt regulations.

The company said this will offer customers licence-free operation of over 14GHz of spectrum in order to deliver gigabit-grade performance for a wide range of infrastructure and mobility applications.

“The 5G network deployed at Cergy demonstrates how mmWave technology can overcome some of the common challenges faced by security and defence industries,” said Blu Wireless CEO Alan Jones. “By attaching mmWave distribution nodes to an existing site and surveillance infrastructure, we have created a high-performance, reliable mesh network that overcomes any possible line-of-sight issues, can be deployed rapidly and is suitable for diverse applications, including 8K video.” 

Philippe Vertuaux, strategy director at Mentor Consultant, added: “We are very satisfied with the partnership with Blu Wireless – with the quality of performance, the ease of product installation in the range that we tested on different use cases, and the responsiveness of the entire team. We look forward to seeing continued success for Blu Wireless’ mmWave equipment.”

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