US telecom operator Verizon and Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson have joined hands and doing pre-commercial trials of 5G technology in various cities across the US. The fixed wireless, pre-commercial customer pilots, scheduled to begin in the 1st half of 2017, will enable the refining of an end-to-end 5G network using a mixture of new technology and existing Verizon infrastructure.
By working closely with Verizon, Ericsson has been able to identify deployment challenges and develop the techniques required for a quick and scalable deployment.
“Verizon is driving the commercial deployment of 5G with the collaboration and innovation of the Verizon 5G Technology Forum, including partners like Ericsson. This partnership keeps us on-track to be first to bring 5G to Verizon customers,” said Ed Chan, Senior VP, Technology Strategy and Planning at Verizon.
Ericsson believes there would be around 550 million 5G users in next five years and in North America alone, there would over 100 million such customers.
The end-to-end 5G pre-commercial customer pilot begins in the subscriber location. Fixed wireless subscribers will use a variety of applications, many of them centered on video, bi-directional and/or low-latency. Ericsson has been field testing various applications across the 5G network to evaluate the application behavior.
Arun Bansal, Head of Business Unit Network Products at Ericsson, says: “Ericsson 5G Radios have been providing multi-gigabit speeds into subscriber locations by using advanced radio techniques. For example, beamforming can be used to find the best path for the 28GHz radio signal to reach the user.”
5G technologies in both the radio and the core network will enable operators to provide new services to their customers due to higher bandwidth and lower latency. The fully virtualized core enables network slicing, with fixed being the first slice of many for the next generation core network.
Verizon’s pre-commercial customer pilot will span multiple deployment scenarios, geographies and RF morphologies. New techniques are being developed in order to meet the constraints associated with massive 5G small cell deployments. The learnings from the pilot are vital to a scalable deployment.