Verizon has begun lab trials with Corning and Samsung on in-building 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) technology.
The technology could provide coverage of 5G indoors for facilities such as hospitals, factories, warehouses, schools, ports, retail stores and more.
While mmWave is the technology that will allow 5G to reach its full potential of delivering 10 times the download speeds, low latency and higher bandwidth for consumer and industrial applications, the technology currently has trouble connecting indoors. Without obstacles between mmWave and a mobile device, mmWave is fast. However, a tree, a building or walls could disconnect the service from the user. Sub-6 Ghz 5G technology is able to flow through obstacles easier and thus has become the majority of the deployments that telecoms and equipment companies have rolled out thus far.
The goal of the lab trial tests is to enable mmWave to work indoors at greater capacity, higher reliability and with enough coverage to apply to many users simultaneously. The 5G indoor solutions being tested are more compact, lower power and compatible with Verizon’s virtualization strategy.
Corning has successfully completed testing in the Verizon test lab in Westlake, Texas, and has started field testing the technology on a live network environment. The mmWave solution uses Corning’s composite fiber for data transmission and copper for powering in one cable. The trials have begun using Samsung’s 5G mmWave indoor small cell in-building product, which, after competition, will advance to field trials.
Verizon will seek to commercialize the indoor systems as a path toward private 5G networks. Private 5G networks are smaller, self-contained networks whose components all reside in a single facility. These networks rely on three components: a private core for the single system, a radio access network such as an indoor cell site being tested by Corning and Samsung, and an MEC platform.
“By combining a private core, an indoor cell site and the MEC platform in a facility, an enterprise can have a private and secure ultra-reliable, high-speed, low-latency 5G network,” said Adam Koeppe, senior vice president of Technology Planning and Development at Verizon. “A private 5G network will offer customers the potential to have the cloud within their facility. It will accelerate enterprise automation and digitization efforts, and with Verizon’s mmWave bandwidth and reliability, it will offer the scalability to manage massive numbers of devices along with advanced capabilities such as Edge AI, computer vision and other emerging technologies.”
Verizon said it expects to begin deployment of the commercial in-building product by the end of 2020.