KDDI, Samsung declare record in high-speed 5G mobility racetrack test

There are speed tests and there are tests at high speeds. In the case of Japan’s KDDI and Samsung Electronics, they’re mixing it up a bit in that they put Samsung base stations on a racetrack in South Korea and had a car accelerate from 0 to 205 km per hour while they measured a variety of metrics, including handover interruption time, uplink, downlink and jitter.

The 5G tests demonstrated the viability and performance of 5G millimeter wave mobility solutions at speeds over 190 km/h (~119 mph)—the fastest record in the world, they said.

As part of the demonstration at Everland Speedway using Samsung’s end-to-end 5G mmWave technology at 28 GHz, the duo demonstrated a successful handover scenario, with Samsung’s 5G device attaching to the 5G base station as it approached the service area and successfully being handed over to the target cell at a speed of 192 km/h, which sounds pretty impressive considering that millimeter wave has been considered by many as OK for fixed wireless but more challenging for mobile applications.

Earlier this year—right before Mobile World Congress in Barcelona—KDDI and Samsung announced they had completed a 5G handover trial using the 28 GHz spectrum band in an outdoor environment, on Tokyo's metropolitan expressway among towering skyscrapers. That involved a device mounted on a vehicle that traveled at a speed limit of 60 km/h between two 5G base stations on a metropolitan expressway.

So it’s no surprise they’re ratcheting it up with the demo at the racetrack—and the announcement comes as the industry prepares to convene in San Francisco for the inaugural Mobile World Congress Americas Sept. 12-14.

“It is becoming increasingly important that we accelerate our focus on 5G’s ability to meet a growing number of performance metrics,” said Woojune Kim, senior vice president and head of Next Generation Strategy in Networks Business at Samsung Electronics, in a press release. “Until now, peak bandwidth has been the common refrain, and certainly a big component of the future of 5G. However, the test we conducted with KDDI will help us build a more diverse portfolio of future 5G use cases.”

“The trial successfully showcased stable performance under high-speed mobility conditions which will dramatically increase the service experience of users in vehicles,” said Akira Matsunaga, senior director for mobile network technical development at KDDI, in the release. “We will continue our joint efforts with Samsung to test next generation technology to unprecedented levels and discover new service cases.”

Samsung says one of the most exciting prospects of 5G technology is the potential for new and highly specialized service scenarios that go beyond traditional smart device connectivity. 5G’s ability to deliver on this promise is directly tied to its ability to meet the unique performance needs of a wide number of increasingly connected industries, from Smart City IoT to Connected Cars and more. Samsung said it also continues to actively explore the potential for 5G-driven services under common high-speed scenarios.

RELATED: Editor’s Corner—Verizon’s 5G demo at Indy 500 race track is kind of mind-blowing

Racetracks are a popular place to conduct 5G speed tests in a controlled environment. Just before Memorial Day of this year, Verizon and Ericsson conducted a demo at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to show how a driver, guided only by a video feed, used virtual reality goggles to steer around the track while the windows were blacked out. The car was going around 60 mph, and the demo used more than 180 beams tracking to keep the connection going strong to the radio in the car.