How are Japanese operators approaching mmWave 5G?

KDDI, NTT DoCoMo, Rakuten Cell and Softbank have all deployed mmWave 5G

Proper now mmWave 5G deployments are centered on including capability to congested community scorching zones, locations like stadiums, music venues, buying malls, transit hubs and dense central enterprise or downtown areas. Along with capability offload, mmWave 5G guarantees to ship new sorts of client and enterprise experiences that make use of excessive throughput, low latency and big knowledge pipes. To get an concept of how mmWave 5G is getting used at this time, look no additional than Japan the place all 4 main operators—KDDI, NTT DoCoMo, Rakuten Cell and Softbank–have deployed a collective 20,000 mmWave 5G base stations. 

Qualcomm is a driving pressure in mmWave 5G with work starting from standardization, system-level testing and optimization, modem assist for suitable gadgets and RF front-end growth that extends the vary of high-frequency transmission and improves handover. Qualcomm’s Philippe Poggianti, vice chairman of enterprise growth and consummate mmWave evangelist, not too long ago wrote in a weblog put up about his journey to Japan and expertise with native mmWave 5G networks. 

Conducting take a look at utilizing a Samsung Galaxy S22 in elements of Tokyo, together with Harajuku and Shijuku, Poggianti and his native colleague Junko Sunaga “noticed greater than 2 Gbps obtain speeds, and better than 300 Mbps add speeds. Sometimes, this was over six occasions (obtain) and 5 occasions (add) sooner than a premium non-mmWave smartphone on the similar location on the identical community,” he wrote. 

mmWave 5G in Japan

KDDI: KDDI has labored with Samsung all through the deployment of its low- and mid-band 5G deployments, in addition to for mmWave. This community additionally makes use of Samsung’s virtualized RAN options. KDDI has been working with its distributors to check mmWave because the mid-2010s, together with taking a look at delivering new sorts of fan experiences in stadiums. 

NTT DoCoMo: Working with guardian firm NTT, operator NTT DoCoMo is exploring superior purposes of mmWave, together with bettering indoor connectivity by utilizing a reconfigurable clever floor to mirror mmWave alerts to successfully observe cellular gadgets. The “metasurface” has a “user-tracking perform to ship radio waves even in locations the place the bottom station antenna is just not straight seen as a result of obstructing objects.” The testing from November 2021 used the 28 GHz band. Additionally on mmWave mobility, NTT DoCoMo has examined base station hand-offs to take care of connectivity to a bullet prepare. 

Rakuten Cell: Rakuten Cell constructed a greenfield 4G and 5G community in Japan utilizing a virtualized, Open RAN structure. With regard to mmWave, the operator has deployed round 13,000 distributed radio models which use Altiostar software program and Airspan {hardware} containing Qualcomm silicon. In testing carried out in December, Rakuten clocked a 1.77 Gbps throughput pace. 

Softbank: Within the first quarter of 2021, Softbank launched mmWave 5G service additionally utilizing Qualcomm tech. On the time, the operator put in market a mmWave-compatible cellular scorching spot and has since made obtainable extra gadgets that assist high-band spectrum. Softbank has additionally labored with Kyocera on wi-fi backhaul utilizing mmWave. In a trial that ran from January to April, the companions related base stations in Akiruno Metropolis, Tokyo, to relay nodes with the system conforming to O-RAN Alliance specs. The objective of the take a look at was to show out high-capacity wi-fi backhaul for sooner deployment in environments the place operating fiber is tough and time consuming. 

The mmWave 5G outlook

Reflecting on his expertise utilizing mmWave 5G in Japan, Poggianti referred to as out the significance of a “strong” native ecosystem, together with provider assist, authorities assist, system availability, enterprise instances centered on monetization and deliberate community enlargement.

“It’s a distinctive second in historical past when a brand new know-how as transformative as 5G mmWave takes root in a market,” he wrote. “We’re witnessing this in Japan at this time and imagine that any enterprise not taking part within the mmWave revolution in Japan can be lacking out on a singular alternative in time.”

Whereas Japan is usually an early-adopter in new cellular and different applied sciences, there’s important international traction for mmWave. Claro in Puerto Rico, LGU+, KT, and SKT in Korea, APT and Chungwha in Taiwan, China Cell and HKT in Hong Kong, and Optus and Telstra in Australia, are all within the early levels of commercialization. 

Elsewhere, regulators are working to allocate mmWave frequencies for 5G companies within the following nations: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Peru, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Uruguay. 

A variety of requirements enhancements are additionally coming with 3GPP releases 17 and 18. Launch 17 expands mobile in unlicensed spectrum to the 60 GHz band; provides licensed frequency assist between 52.6 GHz and 71 GHz; improves inter-band uplink and downlink provider aggregation; provides spatial separation for full-duplex IABs; and helps easy repeaters. Launch 18, the start of 5G-Superior, might embody enhanced mobility with decrease latency and higher Layer 1 and Layer 2 inter-cell mobility, in addition to additional enhancements to IABs and repeaters which might make densification sooner and cheaper.  

For extra from Qualcomm on the position of mmWave in bettering 5G community experiences, take a look at Poggianti’s mmWave grasp class session from the San Diego-based agency’s 5G Summit.