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5G Perspective

Partnering to be early movers

The appearance of fifth-generation (5G) mobile systems, using different technologies than previous 3G and 4G (LTE) systems, such as inclusion of both wireless and wired technologies,is driving large network (social infrastructure) innovations. This 5G innovation is accelerating developments in various industrial fields (utilization 5G), especially in the automotive industry supporting self-driving vehicles and the connected car. In the 5G-based Internet of Things (IoT), in addition to automotive applications, medical, security, construction (remote control), entertainment, agriculture, etc., applications are also being examined and commercial tests have started already.

Use of 5G is also being examined in other fields, such as healthcare, tourism, distribution, retail services, forestry/ farming/fisheries, insurance, and household electrical goods.

The appearance of these various new services using 5G is increasing data traffic volumes, which is in turn spreading to wireless access networks, as well as base station and transmission equipment, and data centers.

5G Frequency Bands
The frequencies used by each nation are gradually becoming clearer for full-scale deployment of 5G mobile communications, and can be divided broadly into two groups.

The first frequency band defined by 3GPP for 5G services is from 410 MHz to 7125 MHz and is described as the sub-6 GHz or sub-7 GHz band. It is also used by the LTE/ LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) and WLAN technologies, and has been extended in recent years. It suffers from relatively few technical issues, such as RF characteristics, and, depending on the selected frequency, has the advantage of making use of RF resources, validated previously for 3G (W-CDMA) and 4G (LTE/LTE-A). One disadvantage is that an orderly wide-frequency band cannot be secured because most frequencies are already in use.

The second band is from around 30 GHz to about 100 GHz; 3GPP defines the frequencies between 24250 MHz and 52600 MHz called the millimeter band (mmWave), where a wideband can be assured because this frequency band is hardly used, offering the advantage of easy support for high-speed, large-capacity, data transmissions.

One disadvantage is the large over-the-air (OTA) signal attenuation, presenting a number of technical issues that must be cleared owing to the lack of actual usage by mobile operators.

As well as two frequency bands, there are also two operation modes:

  • The non-standalone (NSA) mode using a combination of a new radio (NR) technology for 5G and LTE/LTE; and
  • The standalone (SA) mode using a unique 5G NR technology, where data is sent and received using control between base stations and mobile terminals (UE).

For new 5G market entrants
The 3GPP 5G standard defines mobile and wireless communications specifications and test items in the same way as for LTE, LTE-Advanced, Cat-M, and NB-IoT. To assure network quality when connecting to 5G communications networks, mobile terminal communications carriers and manufacturers must confirm compliance with the 3GPP mobile terminal specifications (RF performance, test specifications, etc.) and with national radio legislation.

Consequently, new makers offering 5G products and services must assure the necessary compliance before they can enter markets in the automotive, medical, etc., fields. For example, specialist measuring instruments and test systems for guaranteeing the performance of communications chipsets and modules used in 5G products must themselves be tested for compliance with the 3GPP standard (messaging, protocols, RF performance).

With its wide line of test solutions and partnerships with key market players, Anritsu is a world-leader in support for development, manufacturing, and maintenance of wireless and wired systems in the 3G and 4G markets. By leveraging its experience in 3G and 4G, as well as supporting key communications players entering the growing 5G market, such as mobile operators, and vendors of chipsets, communications modules, terminals, transmission equipment, etc., Anritsu helps customers catch early market growth by partnering with them to offer the best high-quality test solutions for 5G product development, conformance, manufacturing, maintenance, and service.

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