Qualcomm Technologies and Nokia today announced plans 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 collaboration between the two prominent vendors is likely to accelerate the commercialization of 5G NR technologies and thus leading to timely launches in 2019.
The interoperability tests will be conducted in the second half of 2017. The two vendors 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.
A number of operators and vendors are aggressively conducting trials and demonstrations to push the deployment of 5G technology. It requires extremely high data speeds and low-latency of less than 1-millisecond and ubiquitous coverage which facilitates real time use cases such as autonomous driving and remote surgery. Smart City and Internet of Things also become a reality in 5G.
In the testing and trials, the companies will showcase 5G NR technologies to efficiently achieve multi-gigabit per second data rates at latencies as low as 1-millisecond. These technologies will be critical to meeting the increasing connectivity requirements for emerging consumer mobile broadband experiences such as 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 utilize the Nokia 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 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.
“Qualcomm Technologies is committed to deliver the most compelling mobile broadband experiences based on 5G NR technology. We are making 5G a reality for mobile devices – including smartphones – from sub-6 GHz to millimeter wave – globally,” said Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and president, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. “We are excited to collaborate with Nokia on trials based on the global 3GPP 5G standard, which are critical to ensure timely deployment of 5G networks.”
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 appetite for 5G technology is clear, amongst both consumers and communications service providers,” said Marc Rouanne, president of mobile networks, Nokia. “We firmly share Qualcomm’s view that the demand for wide-scale mobile 5G is accelerating, and that is why we are so enthusiastic to work jointly with Qualcomm on developing and driving commercial technology and applications based on 5G NR using our 5G FIRST.”
The interoperability testing, which will start in the second half of 2017, are intended to track closely with the first 3GPP 5G NR specification that will be part of Release 15. 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.