Mobile Devices

Nokia says it can bring mmWave to 5G fixed wireless access

13 October 2021

Nokia said it has made a 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) breakthrough that could increase broadband capacity by 5 to 10 times what it is today.

Nokia has developed a method to make 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) wireless access viable. Because mmWave requires line-of-sight to operate, signals can be disrupted by outdoor to in-home obstacles such as walls, trees and other objects.

Nokia’s 360 High Gain technology allows this by amplifying available signals and dynamically finding the strongest connection.

FWA is currently offered in lower bands of the wireless spectrum (sub 2 GHz to 6 GHz), but as millimeter wave (mmWave), the higher band of the spectrum, becomes ubiquitous, FWA will match or even outpace current broadband bandwidth. FWA could also be used to bring broadband services to remote areas where nothing exists or to places where broadband is extremely limited. It could also become a significant competitor to traditional broadband technology.

Operators want to increase FWA speeds using the high band spectrum of mmWave (24 GHz to 40 GHz) but the proliferation of the technology has been impeded by physical obstacles.

The 360 High Gain 5G technology captures a 360 mmWave fingerprint of the indoor environment and picks up direct and reflected signals from any direction.

“Fixed Wireless Access is on the rise,” said Kyung Mun, principal analyst at Mobile Experts. “It will represent almost $15 billion market cumulatively over the next five years and the mmWave-enabled 5G customer premise equipment will make up 80% by 2026.”

Nokia said it has already validated the technology in research labs and plans for volume deployments to begin in 2023, focusing on operators with subscribers in dense urban environments.

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