Ericsson has announced attaining a data transmission rate of 40Gbps during a trial of millimetre-wave (mmWave) wireless backhaul in partnership with Deutsche Telekom.
The trial, which took place at the Deutsche Telekom Service Center in Athens, was used to demonstrate that "wireless backhaul connections provide an enhanced customer experience in the 5G era", Ericsson said.
The latency was under 100 microseconds, the networking giant said, which means it fits into the latency requirements for 5G networks. The trial involved a hop distance of 1.4km and used Ericsson's Mini-Link 6352 microwave solution and Router 6000.
"While fibre is an important part of our portfolio, it is not the only option for backhaul. Together with our partners, we have demonstrated fiber-like performance is also possible with wireless backhauling/X-Haul solutions," Deutsche Telekom SVP of Strategy and Technology Innovation Alex Jinsung Choi said.
"This offers an important extension of our portfolio of high-capacity, high-performance transport options for the 5G era."
According to Ericsson head of Product Area Networks Per Narvinger, the trial also shows that "higher-capacity microwave backhaul will be an important enabler of high-quality mobile broadband services when 5G becomes a commercial reality".
Deutsche Telekom is also working with Telefonica Deutschland on interconnecting their mobile and fibre networks, with an expanded agreement announced in October that will see around 5,000 Telefonica Deutschland mobile base stations be connected using Deutsche Telekom's fibre-optic backhaul, which they said will enable 5G upgrades in future.
The two had first signed a mobile backhaul contract back in 2011, with Deutschland Telekom MD Dirk Wössner calling the expansion "an important step toward ensuring the future viability of Germany's mobile communications infrastructure".
"The resources that we save will be dedicated directly to our own network upgrades and the development of 5G," Wössner said.
"Deutsche Telekom is building and operating the largest fibre-optic network in Germany by far.
"Utilising our infrastructure together with Telefonica ... will benefit Germany and millions of people."
Telefonica Deutschland CEO Markus Haas added that using existing infrastructure rather than building out its own will mean an acceleration of its mobile network expansion, enabling it to "get a significant portion of our mobile base stations in shape for the future 5G standard".
"As a result, our customers will benefit directly from a more powerful mobile network and a better user experience," Haas said.
Deutsche Telekom has been upgrading its network ahead of 5G, in December 2017 signing a five-year contract with Ericsson to lay the foundations across its mobile network as part of what it called an "important step towards 5G".
Under the partnership, Ericsson is supplying its multi-standard radio access network (RAN) using its Baseband 6630 product and radios for one of Deutsche Telekom's two market areas across Germany, providing radio system products for both macro and small cell sites along with Ericsson Network Manager.
Ericsson is also supplying hardware and software solutions and support.
"We listened to Deutsche Telekom and understood their urgency to have 5G-ready infrastructure in order to stay at the forefront of customer service in Germany. We can run multiple standards on the same baseband hardware, and a 5G upgrade will be able to be performed by a simple software download to the radio sites," Ericsson senior VP and head of Market Area Europe and Latin America Arun Bansal said at the time.
"During these deliveries, we will use the experience from our 5G activities around the world to be sure that Deutsche Telekom has the most advanced hardware and software in the industry."
Deutsche Telekom CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn previously told ZDNet that Germany's largest mobile telco is ready for 5G, with its live 5G NR trial network in Berlin the first in Europe to be deployed across commercial sites.
Deutsche Telekom's Berlin network, launched in October 2017 of its 5G Haus development program, was constructed in partnership with Chinese networking giant Huawei.
Deutsche Telekom has also worked with Intel on 5G, making use of its x86 chipset and 5G Mobile Trial Platform, and with SK Telecom on federated network slicing technology and on applying the South Korean telco's quantum-safe system to its trial network.
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