Semiconductor company Qualcomm and Chinese telecommunications equipment supplier Datang Mobile have conducted a successful 5G New Radio (NR) interoperability test. The test is a crucial step in the deployment and commercialization of the 5G network standard in China, as it ensures that user equipment, core networks, and cell sites from the two companies communicate with each other properly over the 3.5GHz frequency. For the interoperability tests, the two companies used the 5G NR spec compliant base stations designed and manufactured by Datang Mobile, and 5G-enabled user equipment from Qualcomm. The semiconductor firm further noted that the test setup was based on the 3GPP Release 15 specification, the first implementable 5G wireless standard which was completed by the consortium in December last year.
Within the last few months, Qualcomm has partnered with a number of telecom equipment suppliers and carriers to conduct interoperability tests. In February, the semiconductor firm announced that it had worked with the South Korean tech giant Samsung and carrier KT Telecom to conduct an interoperability test that focused on the Non-Standalone (NSA) implementation of the 5G standard. This implementation utilizes the existing core infrastructure of 4G LTE networks, and 5G-enabled smartphones will only connect to 5G networks when transmitting data. Qualcomm has also worked with network equipment suppliers Huawei and Nokia to ensure interoperability between the 5G devices designed by the three companies.
Additional interoperability tests are expected to take place in the near future as large-scale deployments of 5G networks begins within the next few months in Japan, China, South Korea, Europe, and the United States. In the US, all four major carriers have already announced their plans to deploy 5G networks, with Verizon already planning to deploy 5G-based fixed wireless broadband services in a number of locations across the country as early as the second half of this year. The 5G network standard supports a number of use cases that were not possible with older generations of network technologies. These include remote surgeries, cloud-based virtual reality services, and autonomous cars. The new use cases are made possible by the increased data speeds and reduced latency offered by 5G networks.