5G visions include drones, robots, high-altitude balloons

While providing comments on how the FCC should treat the use of spectrum bands above 24 GHz, interested parties also shared their visions for 5G--everything from M2M to robots and drones.

The comments came as part of the FCC's Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on spectrum bands above 24 GHz, which sought input on an array of issues, from base-station antennas to network architecture and power limits. The FCC received more than 50 filings from interested parties, including Samsung, Google and Qualcomm, by its Jan. 15 deadline.

Clearly, 5G services will need to accommodate the Internet of Things (IoT), Samsung noted in its 94-page filing. "Samsung believes that 5G systems will, among other things, enable the 'Internet of Things' and revolutionize the way mobile services are integrated into daily life," the company said.

Samsung also referenced President Obama's recent speech affirming his administration's commitment to higher-speed broadband, noting that the development of mobile broadband services at gigabit speeds can help to meet those objectives.

To be sure, 5G networks will be fundamentally different from their predecessors, relying on higher frequencies, greater bandwidth and higher-density cell deployments, the company went on to say.

Not surprisingly, Google said the high-frequency bands are well-suited for supporting experimentation and innovative uses and could be useful for a variety of nontraditional uses that don't already use reserved spectrum. It also referenced applications such as the type of balloons its Project Loon uses.

"The bands could, for example, be useful for offering broadband access via airborne platforms such as high-altitude balloons or unmanned aerial vehicles, where deployment of terrestrial networks is uneconomic," Google told the FCC. "The bands are also likely to be useful for the continued development of new terrestrial technologies. For instance, some machine-to-machine applications will rely on this band for backhaul, hub-to-device, or device-to-device communications. The Wi-Fi Alliance has already developed the 802.11ad (Wi-Gig) standard to support backhaul transmissions in the 60 GHz band."

Qualcomm also provided some insights into what it considers to be 5G, envisioning 5G services using low-band, mid-band and high-band spectrum, all in concert with one another to deliver "unparalled forms of connectivity," not just in terms of data rates, capacity and latency but also in terms of the mode of connectivity, such as device-to-device or mesh, and the support of new device types, including drones, robots and other industrial machines. "5G services will enable use cases that are not even imaginable today as supportable by traditional cellular technology," the company said.

Qualcomm took the opportunity to remind the commission that many LMDS and 39 GHz service licenses have been cancelled or forfeited due to the respective licensees' failure to meet construction requirements, so there are large areas of the country where mobile deployments won't need to contend with interference from or to other services. Requiring new mobile operations to work around the current incumbent users in a given band could limit the feasibility of supporting mobile services in millimeter frequency bands, but at the same time, Qualcomm said it believes it's worth exploring technical and regulatory tools that may be used to protect incumbent users.

Samsung noted that it has already conducted a 5G-network test in the 28 GHz band that achieved network data-transmission rates of 7.5 Gbps. As a baseline, 5G systems will provide gigabit-rate data services regardless of user mobility and/or location. Specifically, 5G systems will support a 1 Gbps cell-edge data rate to provide a uniform high-data-rate experience and will support data rates of at least 10 Gbps and as much as 50 Gbps for low-mobility users, according to Samsung.

The high data rates achieved by 5G systems will also help support myriad innovative applications that are already in the market or in development, the company said. Virtual-reality viewing of sports events through both end-user and content-capturing devices can take advantage of high bandwidth. Such technology is exemplified in Samsung's existing Gear VR, a virtual-reality headset that provides a 96-degree viewing angle, so users can view films, games and content beyond their peripheral vision.

Samsung also notes that its Project Beyond Camera, a 3D 360-degree camera, captures and streams omniview videos in high-resolution 3D. By way of example, each car in a NASCAR race could be equipped with that camera, enabling race fans to share the same perspective as their favorite drivers, for a "truly immersive experience." Capturing and delivering such experiences in a mobile environment, however, will require significant data rates, and 5G will play an essential role in delivering such experiences to consumers, the company said.

For more:
- see Google's filing
- see Qualcomm's filing
- see Samsung's filing

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