Major OEM Samsung recently partnered up with Japanese carrier KDDI to run a successful multi-device 5G trial in a controlled environment. The trial consisted of setting up a basic, short-range 5G network in a baseball stadium, then using prototype 5G tablets made by Samsung to stream a 4K video over a 5G connection. The test took place at Japan's Okinawa Cellular Stadium, a massive venue that boasts a capacity of 30,000. Using 28GHz spectrum on prototype 5G equipment, the pair were able to successfully run a 5G network in a consumer-facing use case on devices set up in the stands, where fans may be seated.
This test addresses a perfect use case for the kind of high-bandwidth spectrum that 5G will be running on, and that's large amounts of devices doing data-intensive tasks in a relatively small space. Samsung-made 5G equipment was placed on a light tower just outside of the stadium's left field fence, and pointed toward home plate and the first and third bases, providing coverage to all of the test tablets mounted up in that general direction. In order to achieve this wide-range coverage at high data speeds across multiple devices, the Samsung network equipment employed beamforming, a technology that allows network access points to dictate, to a limited degree, the direction, angle, and shape of the radio wave clouds that they emit. This technology allows both expansive and focused coverage from a single access point, and also allows access points to cross their beams or have each other in their coverage areas, making it easier to build out a cohesive network.
Samsung is one of the largest makers of network equipment worldwide and has been doing extensive 5G tests with KDDI as far back as 2015. These tests have included testing a 5G connection in a device moving at high speeds, in congested network conditions, and using civilian cars, race cars, and trains. According to Samsung and KDDI, this particular use case could revolutionize live entertainment venues, giving customers a dual-experience that far surpasses only being able to watch a concert on a device. In a more widely practical sense, this kind of setup could translate very easily to busy office environments with hundreds of users crunching data, apartment buildings with tons of tenants streaming Netflix, or even eSports arenas full of commentators, streamers, and broadcast network employees all focused on the games at hand.