Executive: Verizon On Track To Offer 5G Services In 2018

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Verizon is currently on track to begin offering fixed wireless broadband solutions over 5G networks by the year 2018, according to the company's chief network officer, Nicola Palmer. The carrier is already testing its 5G offering in 11 cities across the United States, with the carrier delivering internet connectivity to a set of non-paying customers by utilizing the 28GHz band, 120 nodes, and several hundred cell sites. Some of the cities where the carrier is conducting its  5G network tests include Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, and Washington DC. Results of the initial tests conducted so far seem promising. For example, users located 2,000 feet or roughly 610 meters away from the base station can still achieve maximum download speeds of around 1Gbps per second, much farther than the initial expectations of industry observers who predicted that the Gigabit speeds can only be achieved by users positioned 600 feet away from the base stations. The latency of the internet service has also been reduced to 10 milliseconds, which is much lower compared to the 50-millisecond average latency commonly experienced on 4G LTE networks.

Verizon also plans to start testing mobile 5G service next year, even though the company already had initial trials earlier this year. In order to test 5G service inside a moving vehicle, the carrier partnered with the Swedish telecommunications equipment manufacturer, Ericsson, and chipset maker Intel. The network operator claimed that it was able to record data speeds of 6.4Gbps inside a vehicle running at 60 miles per hour. To achieve this high data speed, the parties involved in this test used beam tracking, a technique wherein the base station focuses its data transmission to a specific device, effectively reducing latency and increasing network speed.

In the deployment of 5G networks, carriers can choose to utilize either the sub-6GHz spectrum or the mmWave frequencies, which consists of both 28GHz and 39GHz bands. Utilizing lower bands will allow the companies to achieve improved building penetration and wider coverage per cell site while higher frequencies have the capability to deliver increased download speeds due to their higher bandwidth. Verizon noted that it will be focusing on mmWave frequencies in the meantime, with the focus on delivering higher data speeds at reduced latency, while the carrier executive claims that 4G LTE networks will still be around in the near future.

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