MWC 2018: Samsung 5G fixed-wireless gains FCC approval

Samsung has announced a swathe of networking news at MWC 2018, including the US FCC approval of its end-to-end commercial 5G fixed-wireless solution; partnering with Verizon on 4G Open RAN; and working with Reliance Jio in India to improve 4G and roll out an NB-IoT network.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Samsung has announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 in Barcelona that its 5G access units, part of its fixed-wireless access (FWA) 5G solution, has become the first globally to receive approval by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The end-to-end 5G FWA solution operates over the millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum band, and includes commercial indoor and outdoor 5G home routers and customer premises equipment (CPE); 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) involving a radio access unit and virtualised RAN (vRAN); a next-generation core; and artificial intelligence-powered 3D radio frequency planning services and tools.

The equipment and solutions received FCC approval last week thanks to what Samsung said was "close collaboration with the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology".

"Since the beginning of our 5G research in 2012, Samsung stood firm among industry players to trust in the potentials of the millimetre-wave spectrum," Samsung Electronics president and head of Networks Youngky Kim said at MWC on Monday afternoon.

"Our efforts towards advancing this technology will see the light this year, making 5G a reality and opening up new territories' possibilities for consumers, operators, and enterprises."

During MWC, Samsung is demonstrating 5G use cases such as smart cities, stadiums, homes, cars, and trains, along with its new LTE radio units and Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) solutions aimed at improving 4G networks ahead of the transition to 5G.

Read also: MWC 2018: Huawei unveils first 5G customer premises equipment

Such LTE solutions are being used in partnership with Reliance Jio Infocomm, Samsung also announced, with a goal to bring 4G coverage to 99 percent of the Indian population and implement a Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network on top of that.

"Jio's LTE network will unlock the potential of IoT and promise a much more convenient and safe environment for users," Kim said.

The NB-IoT network will be deployed using Jio's existing spectrum assets, and will be enabled via a software upgrade at existing base stations.

"The commercial NB-IoT network successfully established by Jio and Samsung in Mumbai in February 2018 will soon impact other parts of the country," Samsung added.

"The IoT network, the first of its kind in the country, will support a variety of consumer and enterprise use cases such as vehicle tracking, smart appliances, smart metering, security, surveillance, and more."

Lastly, Samsung revealed that it has been chosen by US carrier Verizon to take part in its 4G LTE Open RAN initiative, through which the companies will work to "increase network efficiencies, advance inter-carrier interoperability, and prepare a path for virtualised RAN and 5G commercialisation".

Under the project, Samsung will provide its Remote Radio Heads (RRHs) and Baseband Units (BBUs) to Verizon, with the equipment to support its current Cat-M IoT network and its future planned NB-IoT network.

In addition to supplying Verizon's femto cells, Samsung will now also provide larger-scale 4G Macro equipment, including incorporating these with the BBUs and RRHs.

"We are committed to offering our customers a best-in-class network experience through enabling new technology partnerships in an open network ecosystem," said Ed Chan, SVP and chief technology architect of Corporate Network and Technology at Verizon.

Earlier this month, Samsung and Verizon had also partnered with KT to carry out a 5G video call using Samsung's first 5G tablet prototype, which enables multi-gigabit per second speeds.

The companies tested a live video call between Minneapolis and Seoul using a 5G test network with Samsung's 28GHz 5G access units, 5G home routers, vRAN, and virtualised core network at both ends.

The prototype tablet not only uses 5G networks, but is also able to complete handovers between 4G and 5G thanks to its chipset and antenna technology, Samsung said.

This followed Verizon last month choosing Samsung to provide the routers and 5G RAN for its initial 5G rollout, which will begin in Sacramento, California, in the second half of 2018.

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