4.5G Pro and 4.9 G set the stage for rapid commercialization of 5G

Ahead of the planned release of the 5G New Radio specification in mid-2018, pre-standard lab and field trials have established a clear evolutionary path forward to a new era of communications marked by ultra-high-capacity and incredibly low latency. With the technological pieces falling in place, now the industry is working to help end users understand how to leverage 5G to support new business models and deliver new services capable of creating money-saving efficiencies while simultaneously creating new, sustainable revenue streams.

Inside the Nokia booth at Mobile World Congress Americas in San Francisco, Calif., Product Marketing Manager for LTE Arne Schaelicke shared his perspective on the vast potential of 5G in a discussion with RCR Wireless News.

The sum total of the evolution to 5G for operators and users, Schaelicke said, is “It allows them to create new services for new markets. It allows them to improve the user experience of existing services. The platform which we have for doing that is AirScale,” which includes base stations, active antennas, cloud-based RAN.

To further support articulation of new business cases for 5G, Nokia recently launched the partner-driven WIVE (WIreless for VErticals) project to help customers better understand how to use 5G to advance new, vertically-focused opportunities for enterprise and industrial users looking to quickly capitalize on 5G networks.  

There are three major use cases associated with 5G NR: enhanced mobile broadband, massive support for the internet of things and mission critical communications. And while the stage is set for rapid commercialization of 5G, it won’t be like turning on a light; rather it will be a gradual build-out marked by the coexistence of 5G networks with increasingly powerful 4.5G and 4.9G networks built on the LTE-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro specifications.

By harnessing multi-channel carrier aggregation–including both licensed and unlicensed spectrum–, multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) and 256 QAM, operators are pushing the limits of throughput and delivering gigabit-class experiences to users with compatible devices, which are becoming increasingly available.

“With each individual step on this path to 5G,” Schaelicke said, “we help operators to get higher performance on their LTE networks to enable better user experience, new services and finally address new markets.”

Nokia has developed the AirScale portfolio to support 4.5G and 4.9G today while laying the groundwork for 5G and, once the standard is complete, support a quick, software-based upgrade. One of the key aspects of AirScale is support for massive MIMO, which increases capacity and spectral efficiency by using up to 64 transmit and 64 streams to deliver up to a 5x increase in network capacity as well as enhanced coverage. Click here to learn how Nokia is working with Sprint to set the stage for 5G with massive MIMO.

Regarding 4.9G, Schaelicke explained, “We will drive data rates to extremely high data rates and latency to extremely low latency. We will also increase further capabilities of a network. And, in fact, we create, ultimately, not only a path over time to 5G, but also an environment of continuity beyond the initial 5G coverage areas. On the network side, we are ready for a multi-gigabit evolution.”

In addition to multi-gigabit throughput, latency–which Schaelicke described as “the responsiveness of a network” –continues to decrease with 4.9G to below 2 milliseconds, which is imperative to deliver on both consumer and industrial use cases, virtual reality and robotics, for instance.

On enabling continued network advancement for operator partners, Schaelicke said, “What is very important is we can do that step-by-step from today towards the 5G era, and the platform we have for doing that is the AirScale…which allows to create a 10-times higher performance at the cell sites, it allows to do also the evolution to cloud RAN which allows for better agility, faster scalability and also optimization of a cost position of a network. AirScale is really the future-proof, 5G-ready platform.”  

For a deeper dive on Nokia’s AirScale Radio Access Solution, check out Nokia’s latest eBook here.


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