Technology comglomerate Samsung does not think that a fast-moving train is a strange place for consumers to demand access to 5G mobile internet, and neither does Japanese mobile carrier KDDI, if a recent successful joint test that they ran is any indication. Their joint 5G test took place on a train traveling at about 100 kilometers per hour. While the speed from their previous stunt has been halved, this test sticks out because of the sustained speed and uninterrupted connection over the span of 1.5 kilometers, close to a mile, running a section of track that length between two substations. The handover was reportedly done with no issues, and 5G speeds were sustained on the uplink and downlink throughout the entire trial, with peak speeds reaching as high as 1.7 gigabits per second.
Much of the commuting in Japan is done by train, making this test a fairly important one in the process of testing and building out a 5G network. KDDI has not been able to do much 5G buildout just yet, since the standard is still not officially defined, so this test took advantage of two fixed wireless points that used Samsung’s equipment and KDDI’s network backhaul. Even though the substations were close to a mile apart, they were able to complete a flawless handoff at almost 100 kilometers per hour, maintaining speeds with no dips or breaks in the connection. The testing took place between the 17th and 19th of October, in the Saitama area of Tokyo, Japan. Along with speed tests, the pair tested the connection by streaming 8K video to the train, and uploading 4K video from a special camera mounted on the front of it. It’s worth noting that the towers along the tracks were not the only network equipment used in the test; there was a special network access point mounted onto the train itself.
Samsung and KDDI are no stranger to using fixed wireless access points to make 5G connections work at high speeds. A previous test took place in a race car, and saw land speed go upwards of 200 kilometers per hour, all with flawless tower-to-tower handoff and high uplink and downlink speeds, just like in this test. Fixed wireless and small cells are agreed upon as the main vehicle for future 5G buildouts by most authorities on the matter, and many companies that are involved in 5G research and development, like Samsung, are almost completely ready to start working with carriers on deployment as soon as the official standard is announced. Much like this test and the previous one, actual 5G deployments are currently set to rely heavily on adding fixed wireless and small cell access points to carriers’ existing networks, and refarming their current spectrum for network backhaul. At this point, 5G is mostly a matter of fine-tuning the software running on the equipment to ensure that it’s up to par with the official standard once the 3GPP announces it. This means that carriers can begin deploying true 5G very soon after the announcement, and some have already begun deploying 4.9G and pseudo-5G solutions in commercial network markets, with plans to refarm them into actual 5G access points once the standard is announced.