US Cellular, the No. 5 mobile operator in the United States, collaborated with Nokia to conduct preliminary 5G wireless tests. The company used Nokia’s AirScale radio platform to stream six simultaneous channels of 4K video.
The tests occurred in the 28 GHz spectrum, and US Cellular used an experimental license from the FCC.
For outdoor testing, US Cellular set up a point-to-point, line-of-sight scenario between a base station and the user equipment. The goal of the test was to see the impact of interference from foliage, walls, and windows.
Indoor 5G tests were conducted in a lab, and US Cellular looked specifically at latency and speed.
Both environments resulted in test speeds of 5 Gb/s and latency under 2 milliseconds.
In September at the CTIA SuperMobility Conference in Las Vegas, Mike Irazarry, CTO of US Cellular, said that the company would be conducting two to three 5G trials. Irazarry said the first trial will use 28 GHz band spectrum, and the second will use 15 GHz spectrum.
Interestingly, Irazarry also said that he envisioned 5G being a “network of networks” where for the first time all technology domains will converge. In other words, he believes that 5G will allow seamless interoperability between licensed spectrum, unlicensed spectrum like Wi-Fi, and more.
Of course, software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are going to play a key role for operators as they roll out 5G. SDN will be necessary for operators to carve virtual “sub-networks” or slices that can be then used for bigger bandwidth applications. That includes video, which might need throughput speeds of 10 Gb/s as well as lower bandwidth applications to connect devices that are less demanding on the network, such as some of the Internet of Things (IoT) use cases.