Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson conducted a wireless backhaul test that produced results seen as essential to meeting the low-latency requirements of 5G systems. The test was conducted at a DT lab in Athens, Greece, using millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum over a distance of 1.4 kilometers (0.8 miles). It produced round-trip latency of less than 100 microseconds (0.1 milliseconds) and a data transmission speed of 40 Gb/s.
The latency results go a long way toward fulfilling one of the performance targets for 5G networks of less than 1 millisecond. Those targets are seen as essential for the technology to support use cases like autonomous vehicles and telemedicine.
Even more impressive is that the latency results were accomplished on a wireless backhaul link rather than a wired connection. Wireless connection latency often suffers from the overhead required to establish that connection compared with the more immediate setup inherent in wired backhaul connections.
The test’s speed results were around four-times faster than what has been achieved with current commercial wireless backhaul platforms. Though they are still far from the 100 GB/s or more that will be needed to support broader 5G deployments.
Glen Hunt, principal analyst in global telecom technology and software at Global Data, noted in a recent column that these performance requirements will result in operators relying on both options. He explained that a combination of fiber and microwave deployments will likely remain the preferred option of mobile operators in the future, with fiber expected to be the first choice for connectivity.