That testing of 5G networks is ramping up is hardly news but, thanks to a new report and infographic from VIAVI Solutions, getting some perspective on that is now much easier. The increase in testing activity has jumped almost three-fold from last year, with as many as 72 separate companies now testing the technology in preparation for its launch. 28 of those companies are reportedly in field trials, while the same number have announced plans to begin field trials. While 5G is expected to be a serious boost to mobile data speeds, a few outliers in the report have claimed speeds in excess of 70Gbps. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the companies are reporting test speeds of between 10Gbps and 25Gbps – including the U.S. carriers, which all fell between 10Gbps and 12Gbps.
Beyond that, as many as fourteen network equipment manufacturers are said to be involved in field trials as well. Testing is occurring across a huge range of the wireless spectrum, from below 3GHz and up to 86GHz. However, of those frequencies, the 28GHz bands are seeing the most use by far. As many as 21 companies are operating in that band. Other frequencies where a lot of testing seems to be happening are the 15GHz, below 3GHz, 3.5GHz, 14GHz to 15GHz, and at 70GHz to 80GHz. With regard to which phase of testing each company is in, the vast majority are in either lab environment testing phases or in the planning stages. Interestingly enough, each of the big four U.S. service providers is currently well into the field testing phases.
As for vendors participating in the trials, Ericcson tops that list. That's not necessarily surprising since the company has been a named partner in a huge number of trials. However, its level of participation shows how well-placed the company is. According to the report, it is involved in a staggering 30-percent of the trials and no other company comes close to that. Huawei takes the second spot with 22-percent, followed by Nokia at 21-percent. Both ZTE and Qualcomm follow that, beating out Samsung with participation levels at 7-percent, 6-percent, and 5-percent respectively. Intel marks the final named entry, taking part in 4-percent of the 5G trials.