Verizon's 5G tests hit 10-Gig speeds, commercial deployment in 2017 possible

BARCELONA, Spain—Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) early 5G tests hint at blazing fast network speeds topping 10 Gbps and the ability to transmit 4K video while moving. The operator, which is conducting its 5G tests with partners Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, Intel, Samsung and Qualcomm, also revealed that it is on track to commercially launch 5G as early as 2017.

In a blog post, Verizon said its 5G tests include both fixed and mobile 5G in both indoor and outdoor environments and at both residential and commercial buildings. The tests, which are being conducting with the various partners include various tech innovations such as using antennas in millimeter wave and centimeter wave spectrum; beamforming, beam tracking and massive MIMO (multiple input, multiple output); and the deployment of flexible antenna form factors including millimeter wave antennas.

Samsung said it was involved in the 360-degree virtual reality testing using Samsung's Gear VR. The company live-streamed 17 independent video feeds to Samsung Galaxy phones using the Gear VR. In addition, Samsung used Verizon's FiOS wired network coupled with a 5G hybrid adaptive arrange antenna radio to deliver 5G speeds over millimeter wave spectrum. Samsung also said it was able to transmit 4K video in a moving vehicle using automatic beamforming MIMO technology.

Likewise Ericsson said that using beamforming and beam tracking features on Verizon's 5G trial, it was able to deliver 10-Gbps peak throughput during its trials. The company used its 5G radio prototypes mounted outside to deliver high-definition video streaming to devices located indoors.

Cisco also said that through its collaborations with Intel and Ericsson, it is developing a 5G router for Verizon's business and residential services.

And Nokia said it is conducting 5G field trials on Verizon's live Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex network. The tests are being done outdoors and in a residential area. One uses case included replacing a wired broadband connection with a wireless broadband connection to a residential and commercial building. During that test the company was able to deliver 4K video to multiple end user devices.

According to CNET, Verizon is testing 5G in five cities: Euless, Texas; Hillsboro, Oregon; and Piscataway, Bridgewater and Basking Ridge in New Jersey. CNET also said that select customers will be able use commercial-grade 5G equipment next year.

Interestingly, Verizon appears to be working closely with its Asian counterparts on 5G – perhaps in hopes of escalating its deployment. The company announced it has formed a new global initiative called the 5G Open Trial Specification Alliance with operators KT, NTT DoCoMo and SK Telecom. This alliance plans to develop a 5G trial specification for 5G trials around the world.

Specifically, the group said it will focus on 5G radio interface trials. One primary goal is to provide the wireless industry with the ability to test and validate key technical components. The operators involved in the group say they are already coordinating on their activities.

It's unclear how this group differs from the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance. The NGMN, which includes wireless executives from AT&T, U.S. Cellular and Verizon as well as operators globally, is working on 5G research, frequency planning and business principals as well as creating a 5G patent pool framework. The group recently announced a cooperation agreement with technology and solutions development group ATIS, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions.

For more:
- See this Samsung press release
- See this Ericsson release
- See this 5G Open Trial specification release
- See this Verge article
- See this CNET article

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