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5G Demonstrations and trials

This week some of the AMTA and Deloittes Access Economics staff were invited to Nokia's demonstration of 5G technology at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) where we were able to see for ourselves some of the improvements and capabilities that 5G will deliver. This photos shows the demonstation of the latency improvements with 5G as compared to 4G as the robotic arms balance the ball using either 4G or 5G networks. The difference was significant and underlines the potential benefits that 5G promises to deliver to applications such as remote surgery. We also experienced virtual reality and a demonstration of how network slicing will offer improvements in efficiency to manufacturing processes.

 

5G – the next generation of mobile technology – promises to completely transform our lives by revolutionising transportation, health, agriculture, education and other sectors of industry.

While wide deployment of 5G is not anticipated before 2020, AMTA members are already collaborating and testing 5G technologies as carriers continue to invest in 4G (LTE and LTE-A) networks.

Telstra has partnered with Ericsson and conducted trials in Melbourne in 2016 to test one of the world’s first radio 5G test beds. The test demonstrated 5G capabilities in a real world environment, including speed and beam steering tests.

Telstra said that 5G speed will be much faster than today’s networks. The Ericsson test bed used 800 MHz of spectrum in a previously unattainable, high frequency band, which is 10 times more spectrum than Telstra currently uses for its 4G service. Telstra reported that the testing resulted in total download speeds (to two mobiles) greater than 20 Gbps.

Beam steering technology enables the antenna to direct a mobile signal straight to a user’s device, rather than sending it out in all directions as happens today. Telstra’s tests showed that beam steering can achieve greater accuracy as a result of less interference and a higher quality signal which enables more capacity in the network and improved network performance.

Optus partnered with Huawei in testing 5G and completed a successful infield test of Massive MIMO (128T128R) technology in February 2017. The Optus trial achieved aggregate cell throughput of 665Mbps over a single frequency channel of 20MHz on Optus’ 2300MHz frequency band, shared by 16 devices.

Optus explained that Massive MIMO is an important technology enabler that lays the foundation for 5G. Optus previously launched its 4.5G network in Macquarie Park, Sydney where speeds of 1.03Gbps were achieved in testing.

The Optus 5G trial demonstrated an aggregated speed improvement of up to eight times of what is currently being experienced through existing 4G cell sites. It significantly increased the cell site capacity within the same spectrum channel, to serve more users especially for multimedia content delivery simultaneously.

In addition to overall aggregated speed improvements, the Massive MIMO testing indicated a significant improvement to areas with high density populations, such as vertical buildings, with the new beamforming function.

To complete the trial, Optus used Huawei’s Massive MIMO AAU solution which has 16 beamforming streams in a 128T128R configuration, boosting Optus wireless network capacity and user experience by maximizing existing sites and spectrum resources.

 Vodafone and Nokia  have also conducted a public live demonstration of 5G in Sydney in 2016, working in partnership with the University of Technology (UTS). The public trial included a demonstration of potential applications - controlling a robot, virtual reality and speed tests using 5G capabilities.

The live demonstration took place in front of media, students and staff of UTS. They witnessed potential applications including controlling a robot, a virtual reality demonstration and speed tests using 5G capabilities.

Using 200 MHz of spectrum, the tests produced speeds of up to 5 Gbps. And demonstrated latency of just 3 ms. Latency is crucial to the future of the Internet of Things (IoT) and refers to the speed in which a packet of data gets from one device to another. Latency will be critical in applications such as connected vehicles, where live updates of a car’s position can be communicated to other vehicles.

Virtual Reality (VR) was also demonstrated through through footage recorded with Nokia’s OZO 360 degree virtual reality camera. The VR trial shows the transmission of 8 simultaneous streams of VR content, achieving throughout of up to 1.5Gbps. A full speed of 4.5Gbps is possible over the system.

Vodafone has said that 5G will be a fundamental leap forward in mobile network technology, bringing with it the power of the Internet of Things.

While 4G networks will be with us for many years to come, the demand for 5G is growing as consumers, businesses and industrial applications require more data and faster speeds. Ericsson’s Mobility Report (June 2017)* forecast (globally):

•     5G subscriptions will exceed half a billion by the end of 2022;

•     5 billion LTE subscriptions by the end of 2022;

•     In 2022 there will be 9 billion mobile subscriptions and mobile broadband will account for more than 90% of all subscriptions;

•     Mobile video traffic is forecast to grow by around 50% annually to 2022, when video will account for around 75% of mobile data traffic;

•     More than 90% of mobile data traffic will come from smartphones in 2022;

•     Asia- Pacific, as the most populous regions, has the largest share of mobile data traffic and total mobile data traffic for the regions is expected to exceed 30 Exabytes in 2022;

•     There will be 1.5 billion IoT devices with cellular connection by 2022; and

•     In 2022, around 15% of the world’s population will be covered by 5G.

While the impact of 5G on daily life and work will be revolutionary, the technological changes will be more of an evolution, as 5G will necessarily build on 4G technology and networks.

5G will make networks faster and more responsive and the Internet of Things promises to connect everything – from cars and household appliances to livestock and crops in the field. The benefits for health, education, agriculture and transport logistics will be significant.

Some of the expected benefits of 5G include:

  • Smart cities
  • Safer cars and transport systems
  • Improvements to health e.g. remote monitoring and diagnostic tools
  • Use of real-time video, virtual and augmented reality will revolutionise education and training

The evolution of 5G technology promises to continue to deliver benefits across the whole economy by enabling faster mobile broadband speeds; providing the infrastructure to supporting the Internet of Things; and delivering new services and applications.

To deliver the benefits of 5G, the mobile industry will continue to invest in infrastructure and will rely on sound Government policies around the availability of radiofrequency spectrum and the ability to deploy networks.

Lisa Brown - Manager, Policy
7 September 2017

 

 

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