The forthcoming 5G wireless standard won’t become a commercial reality until around 2020, but businesses and consumers are already salivating about the performance potential — particularly as it will manifest itself in Internet speed. For the average consumer, Internet speeds will be so high that downloading such content as high-resolution 4K video, games, and other intensive files will happen almost magically fast.
In 2017, service providers—namely, AT&T and Verizon, using Samsung routers—began testing 5G routers for businesses and homes. The resulting performance is giving the market a real taste of the speeds to come. Network slicing is a key technology that enables diversified network features for different industries in the 5G era. These early prototype 5G routers are coming into shape as we approach the 5G reality.
AT&T Trials With 5G Routers
In August 2017, AT&T began expanding its fixed wireless 5G trials to business and residential customers in Waco, Texas; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and South Bend, Indiana. The company had already launched its second fixed wireless 5G trial in Austin with local businesses, using 5G routers.
The company gained new insights into millimeter wave (mmWave) performance and propagation. It has also learned important lessons about how things like foliage, building materials, device placement, surrounding environment, and weather impact the 5G router signal and overall system in a real-world environment.
AT&T used Samsung’s products and solutions in the trial, including the 5G router for businesses and homes.
Verizon Trials Using 5G Routers
Earlier in 2017, Verizon partnered with Cisco and Samsung for a multi-vendor 5G network field trial in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The fixed wireless 5G trials took place in 11 markets, each one offering unique test parameters such as vendors, geography, population density, and demographics.
The trial involved the Cisco Ultra Services Platform, as well as Samsung virtual RAN (vRAN) solutions, paired with Samsung vRAN solutions and Samsung 5G radio base stations and 5G routers. The trial highlighted how important multi-company collaboration will be to 5G success. The interconnectedness of various components of the 5G network—such as the 5G router—will demand that companies work together for the Internet of Things (IoT) to come.
5G Routers Connect the Next-Gen Future
Aggressively deploying 5G routers and related equipment is key to laying the foundation for the evolution to 5G while 5G standards are being finalized. The 5G routers we’re hearing about so far are pre-commercial products that will continue to be used in trials, with no guarantee that the tech will become part of the final 5G standard. Expect more vendors to join in soon.