Qualcomm and Nokia have announced that they will conduct joint testing to ensure interoperability of the 5G equipment developed and marketed by the two companies. Tests will be conducted at select locations in China, Europe, Japan, and the United States next year. Both firms will examine how well their products perform on specifications defined in the Release 15 of the upcoming 3GPP 5G New Radio specification, and the results of the trials will show if the devices are compliant with new standards. If all the field trials and lab testing goes well, it may enable Qualcomm and Nokia to build commercial 5G networks using their offerings as early as 2019.
To conduct joint trials, Nokia will supply its AirScale base stations, a part of its 5G FIRST portfolio, while Qualcomm will provide a prototype device containing a 5G-capable modem. Both suppliers will test the 5G New Radio operation on the sub-6GHz bands, covering 3.5GHz and 4.5GHz frequencies, and millimeter wave (mmWave) bands, which include the 28GHz and 39GHz frequencies. Lower spectrum, like the sub-6GHz band, allows for better building penetration and wider coverage, advantages that are especially important for mobile data users, while networks running on higher frequencies provide more bandwidth for increased download speeds, which is useful for fixed wireless broadband applications of 5G. In addition, engineers from these two firms will also examine performance of technologies like Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antennas, beamforming, adaptive self-contained TDD, and scalable OFDM waveforms. All of these technologies should work together to bring increased data speeds, reduced latency, and more robust mobile broadband connections.
Stakeholders like carriers and equipment makers are already testing their products and infrastructure in preparation for the launch of commercial 5G networks. AT&T has just expanded its 5G fixed wireless broadband network trials to include 3 more cities in the United States. The carrier is implementing a setup where data originates from a single base station and it is then relayed to smaller transmission points until it reaches the consumers’ devices. T-Mobile, on the other hand, has stated that it is testing a 5G infrastructure that will cater to mobile data subscribers, and it will utilize the existing small cell installations and its 28GHz spectrum holdings to boost the construction of networks based on the upcoming wireless communications standard.