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Why Is mmWave Important For 5G and How Deutsche Telekom & Facebook’s Initiative Can Help


Why Is mmWave Important For 5G and How Deutsche Telekom & Facebook’s Initiative Can Help

Deutsche Telekom, a member of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), has launched three initiatives, which also includes a Millimeter Wave (mmWave) initiative. A new Millimeter Wave Networks Project Group has been set up as part of TIP and will be chaired by both Deutsche and Facebook.

The TIP project was launched jointly by SK Telecom, Intel, Nokia, Facebook and Deutsche Telekom at Mobile World Congress 2016. The project was started with the intention of exploring newer and innovative ways of building telecom infrastructure. It also hopes to discover new methods to handle ever-increasing internet traffic.

Why Is mmWave Important For 5G?

The millimeter wave bands start from 30Ghz and go up to 300Ghz and this spectrum can be used for high-speed wireless communication. This particular band has come to prominence now as the industry moves towards adoption of 5G because this range of spectrum means that it can help the telcos in catering to the increased demand for capacity and high speed.

This spectrum has smaller wavelength (as is evident from mmWave) and so requires smaller antennas. Beamforming techniques have been explored recently to resolve the challenges associated with this band.

However, the telcos would need to develop new approaches to use this spectrum. Traditionally they have not been able to use this spectrum because of low range and it is also vulnerable to factors like rain and humidity. Besides, there were only a few electronic components to use these waves. This spectrum has smaller wavelength and so requires smaller antennas. Beamforming techniques can help in resolving these challenges.

However, the telcos are interested in this band now because a lot of spectrum is available in these frequency bands and with the right technology and approach, it can be used for 5G which envisions connecting billions of devices.

A number of mmWave trials are being held now. (See: SK Telecom, Samsung Successful Test Handover Technology Between mmWave 5G Base Stations; Qualcomm, Nokia To Conduct 5G Interoperability Tests and KDDI Conducts 5G Trial With Samsung.)

TIP, TEAC And More

The mmWave Project is supported by the first European TIP Community Lab in Bonn, Germany. Besides, a TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Center (TEAC) will be launched in Berlin, Germany focused on network infrastructure innovation.

The newly formed Millimeter Wave Networks Project Group within TIP has the goal to develop innovative solutions for very high performance and cost-efficient access and metro networks, initially using the 60 GHz unlicensed spectrum range. The project group is focusing on key telecom operator use-cases and appropriate system architectures, e.g. delivering fiber-like gigabit data rates to residential and consumer customers, mobile backhaul, and dense connectivity for Smart Cities.

“Our goal is to deliver the best network services to our customers, and at the same time deliver a superior capital efficiency,” says Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO Deutsche Telekom. “This requires more radical approaches. We value Facebook’s contributions to this space and enjoy the excellent partnership we have as part of TIP and beyond.”

Andreas Gladisch, DT co-chair for the project group, said “We are aiming to deliver cost efficient solutions, truly innovating within the market. We expect our work to create a vibrant open, community-driven ecosystem, that will meet the needs of telecom and city operators.”

To complement the work done in the mmWave area, Deutsche Telekom announced the first European TIP Community Lab in Bonn, Germany. The lab will initially focus on mmWave technology. TIP Community Labs provide space and equipment for TIP members doing project group work, making the labs an important tool for the development and rollout of innovative technologies.

The third initiative under TIP is the formation of Ecosystem Acceleration Centers (TEAC) to address the global challenge that very few startups are innovating in the field of network infrastructure. Bruno Jacobfeuerborn stated, “Telco is generally a market with high entry barriers and is dominated by established vendors. Small startups have problems entering the telco market, even for proof of concepts. As a result, the venture capital community has been very hesitant to make infrastructure-related investments. The TEAC center in Berlin, jointly announced by TIP, Facebook and Deutsche Telekom will help to break this deadlock. Our work on 5G has shown DT’s leadership in driving telco innovation, and I am very confident that we will also be successful in helping push the broader telecom infrastructure ecosystem forward.”

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