Trials undertaken for 5G technology

Monday, 27 February, 2017

Trials undertaken for 5G technology

Future 5G technology will be tested under a partnership between NEC Corporation, BT, EE and the University of Salford.

Testing will be undertaken on the performance of V-band point-to-point mobile backhaul, using millimetre-wave spectrum in the 60 GHz band. The test will focus largely on how these links may cope with the British weather.

Using the University of Salford as a base, the companies have created a testbed to measure the performance of the V-band radio system over a 12-month period when exposed to rain, wind, fog and ice. 

The university has installed a radio system complete with transceivers and antennas on the Newton Science and Engineering building and the Maxwell Building at its Peel Park Campus and will monitor transmissions at the test site from now until early 2018.

“This will be one of the most detailed tests of this type done anywhere in the world to date, so we are delighted it will be hosted in Salford with our partners NEC, BT and EE,” said Nigel Linge, professor of telecommunications at the University of Salford.

“Millimetre-wave point-to-point links operate at very high frequencies to transmit high volumes of data over relatively short distances. However, the high frequency does mean that it is possibly affected by climatic conditions — the question being by how much. This is a vital technology for the future of 4G and 5G networks, so this research can play a major part in influencing deployment in years to come.”

According to Stephen Walthew, manager – transport networks at NEC Europe, Salford was a perfect choice for the testing.  

“We were looking for an urban area; somewhere the weather is very variable and where there is expertise in network engineering. Given our longstanding relationship with Professor Linge and his colleagues, we are delighted the University of Salford can host the tests,” said Walthew.

“The 60 GHz connection has the opportunity to become the solution of choice for high-capacity backhauling, so the more scientific evidence we can collect about its performance, the better we can make decisions about design and deployment.”

V-band radio systems have potential as a backhaul solution for small cells within a heterogeneous network.

“This is the most extensive testing we’ve ever undertaken,” said Professor Andy Sutton, principal network architect at BT.  

“Having a full year’s worth of results against a diverse range of weather and atmospheric conditions will provide a critical input to our future network strategy and architecture.”

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