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Qualcomm and Nokia collaborate on mobile 5G NR deployments

Qualcomm Technologies and Nokia are to conduct interoperability testing and over-the-air field trials based on the 5G New Radio (NR) Release-15 specifications being developed by 3GPP.

The testing and trials are intended to help drive the mobile ecosystem toward faster validation and commercialisation of 5G NR technologies at scale, and to enable commercial network launches in 2019 based on 3GPP standard compliant 5G NR infrastructure and devices.

A recent consumer survey conducted by Qualcomm Technologies has revealed that 48% of the respondents are likely to purchase a smartphone that supports 5G, when it's available, and 5G was found to be the top feature that consumers were willing to pay more for in their next mobile device.

Those and other research findings suggest that there is a clear and growing industry interest for 5G mobility applications to meet increasing mobile broadband needs and emerging use case requirements globally.

In the testing and trials, the companies will showcase 5G NR technologies to achieve multi-gigabit per second data rates at latencies as low as 1-millisecond and significantly better reliability than is currently the case with existing networks..

These technologies are seen as critical to meeting the connectivity requirements that are associated with streaming high-fidelity video, immersive virtual/augmented reality, and connected cloud computing, as well as enabling new high-reliability, low-latency services for use cases such as autonomous vehicles, drones and industrial equipment.

The testing and trials will use Nokia’s 5G FIRST solution, incorporating the Nokia AirScale base station transmitting over the 5G NR radio interface to the device prototype from Qualcomm Technologies. The companies will look to test end-to-end applications over-the-air between the base station and the device to simulate real-world scenarios across a broad set of 5G NR use cases and deployment scenarios. The testing will include 5G NR operation in sub-6 GHz spectrum bands such as 3.5 GHz and 4.5 GHz, as well as millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum bands such as 28 GHz and 39 GHz, to trial the 5G NR unified design across diverse spectrum bands.

To demonstrate the performance and efficiency enhancements 5G NR will bring, the testing and trials will showcase advanced 3GPP 5G NR technologies including Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology, beamforming techniques, adaptive self-contained TDD, scalable OFDM-based waveforms to support wider bandwidths, advanced coding and modulation schemes, and a new flexible, low-latency slot structure based design. This will include 5G NR operation in mmWave spectrum, employing advanced 5G NR antenna technology to deliver robust and sustained mobile broadband communications, including non-line-of-sight (NLOS) environments and device mobility.

The interoperability testing, which is to start in the second half of 2017, is intended to track closely with the first 3GPP 5G NR specification that will be part of Release 15. Both companies are also collaborating with network operators to conduct 5G NR over-the-air field trials starting in 2018 across various regions including China, Europe, Japan, and the USA.

Tracking the 3GPP specification is important because it promotes adherence and validation with the global 5G standard, accelerating the time to standard-compliant devices and infrastructure. It will also ensure forward compatibility to future 3GPP 5G NR releases.

Author
Neil Tyler

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