Huawei's latest 5G trial is taking place in Canadians' living rooms as the Chinese tech giant partnered with wireless carrier Telus in order to set up a "5G Living Lab" in downtown Vancouver, the company said Thursday. The new project is of the end-to-end variety, providing select users with a brief glimpse into the future of wireless communications, with the experimental setup relying on a 5G customer premise equipment unit which is essentially a small terminal. All network equipment used for the test is compliant with the 3GPP's Release 15 specification, the world's first implementable 5G standard completed in late December. The exact scope of the trial hasn't been disclosed but is understood to only encompass some Telus employees, so the setup is likely currently being tested by dozens of people.
Huawei and Telus said the main point of the experiment was to gain additional insight into the kind of a networking footprint wireless carriers can expect to see from the fifth generation of mobile networks, adding that they believe their project is the first test of its kind in North America. Additionally, the trial is meant to mark the next step in Huawei's efforts to bring commercial 5G-ready products to the market as soon as possible, the Chinese company said. The partnership saw the duo build a 5G fixed wireless access solution, not unlike the one that Verizon is currently developing with Samsung with plans to commercialize it in the second half of the year. The service uses millimeter-wave spectrum in the 28GHz band with 800MHz of bandwidth and support from a number of contemporary wireless technologies such as F-OFDM, Polar Code, and Massive MIMO, the partners said, adding that the end result of their efforts is a high-speed home Internet setup that offers a "fiber-like experience."
The experimental service still isn't envisioned as a broadband alternative but a method of complementing it by delivering a "last-mile" Internet delivery solution that can make 5G available to more people and companies in a timely manner, consequently accelerating network deployment efforts, according to the two firms. The trial started in early December and quickly managed to reach peak download speeds surpassing 2Gbps on a single device. Huawei is expected to continue its 5G R&D efforts in Canada in order to maintain its existing footprint on the continent, especially as doing the same in the U.S. currently isn't an option.