Network technology provider Nokia has successfully completed a series of Over-the-Air (OTA) 5G NR (new radio) trials in C-band spectrum, in Dallas, Texas.
The drive tests, which achieved stable peak throughput speeds of over 1 Gbps, confirmed that Nokia’s solution is ready for commercial deployment ahead of the US C-band spectrum auction in December. The C-band, between 3.4 GHz and 4.2 GHz, is a crucial resource for operators to offer the best mix of 5G network capacity and coverage to subscribers across the US.
The demonstration was performed in Dallas’s Cypress Waters neighbourhood using Nokia’s AirScale 5G base station equipment, a commercial end-to-end 5G solution enabling operators globally to capitalise on all their 5G spectrum assets (from 600MHz to 39GHz).
According to Nokia, it offers huge capacity scaling and market-leading latency and connectivity by enabling all air-interface technologies on the same radio access equipment. The set-up utilised 100 MHz of spectrum at 3.75 GHz with a 4×4 MIMO and configuration in Non-Standalone (NSA) mode combined with Nokia’s Core network.
During drive testing, Nokia monitored network performance and demonstrated that the ‘handovers’ successfully happened between C-Band base stations as expected. The connection and performance was stable throughout the entire test, highlighting the robustness of the solution and its readiness for commercial implementation.
The US will hold a spectrum auction for the C-band in December with network deployments expected in the first half of 2021. C-band spectrum will be prime spectrum for providing leading-edge 5G services in the US, especially when combined with already deployed network infrastructure and spectrum bands via TDD/FDD Carrier Aggregation and other interworking features.
Nokia’s C-band solution is based on its AirScale 5G radio frequency (RF) products. It has a full portfolio of 3.5GHz solutions, including 64TRX and 32TRX massive MIMO for extreme capacity; 8T8R radios for deployable coverage solutions; 4T4R micro RRH for street level and venue deployments; and Indoor pico RRH to provide extensive in-building coverage. Nokia is already shipping each of these solutions in high volumes to leading carriers around the world.
The difference between these global solutions and the solutions needed for the US C-band are the hardware changes needed to match the exact frequency range and country specific RF requirements. These adaptions are low technical risk based on Nokia’s already commercial platforms, including its own ReefShark System on Chip (SoC) technologies.
This C-Band demonstration was using Nokia’s AirScale 5G baseband solution. Nokia is also offering US Carriers the option of deploying C-Band with its 5G AirScale Cloud RAN solution in vRAN2.0 configuration, in which the whole baseband will be in Cloud connected to the radio via an ORAN compliant eCPRI 7.2x interface.
Nokia recently announced that it has achieved 5G speeds of up to 4.7 Gbps in OTA tests performed on AirScale base station equipment being deployed in major US carriers’ commercial networks. This most recent achievement in C-band is another example of the strong progress Nokia has made in 5G over the past 18 months.
“The mobile industry is dependent on the allocation of new spectrum to increase capacity and deliver enhanced mobile broadband services,” notes Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia. “This test, in the C-band, is significant because it proves that we have a solution ready-to-go following the completion of the spectrum auctions in the US later this year. We are already working with all major US carriers and look forward to strengthening our relationship with them further by deploying C-band and delivering incredible 5G experiences to business and subscribers across the country.”