Qualcomm, Ericsson, and TIM demonstrated just how far a line-of-site mmWave connection can reach, which could make fixed-wireless access more practical. Qualcomm’s Gautam Sheoran explains in the video interview.
Fixed wireless access (FWA) could bring the internet to underserved areas. FWA reduces the amount of fiber needed to connect homes, schools, and businesses to the internet. Indeed, connecting everyone can’t come soon enough given the need for remote working and learning. While many people talk about government funding to get everyone connected, engineers continue develop the technology that can make connectivity easier and less expensive than running fiber everywhere.
While some people complain that only wired connections are acceptable, wireless internet continues to improve. 5G mmWave is one such technology, but it has suffered from short range. Recently, Qualcomm, Ericsson, and TIM have joined forces to provide 1 Gbps data rates at a distance of 6.5 km. There is, of course, a tradeoff between data rate and distance. In the video interview, Qualcomm’s Gautam Sheoran explains how the tests were conducted.
Performed in Rome, the tests used an Ericsson base station and a customer premise equipment (CPE) from Casa Systems built around a Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G modem and QTM927 mmWave antenna. Sheoran explains that these tests were more than simple physical-layer bit-error-rate (BER) tests. The data was encapsulated in packets higher up the protocol stack.
These tests showed what’s possible, though under the best of conditions. The tests operated using a line-of-sight rooftop setup under a clear sky. While a rooftop antenna will give the best results, it’s not always practical, especially in apartment houses. There, a window-mount might be possible. Even that might not be feasible, forcing users install indoor antennas. Unfortunately, that will reduce range resulting from signal losses through windows.
This test is one of several that Qualcomm has conducted. See target=”_blank”>5G FWA reaches 5 km: What’s behind it? for an interview with Qualcomm’s Mohammed Al Khairy.