StarHub clocks 35Gbps speeds in 5G trial with Huawei

Singapore's StarHub has also been trialling 5G with Huawei, having attained speeds of up to 35Gbps during tests in January.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Singaporean telecommunications provider StarHub has revealed that it attained speeds of 35.15Gbps during a trial of 5G network technology with Chinese technology giant Huawei earlier this month.

The field trial was conducted using 2GHz at the e-band -- which sits between the 60GHz and 90GHz frequencies -- using three layers of e-band, as well as 64 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM).

"To future proof our network, we have been trialling gigabit-speed solutions, which for instance can deliver over 30Gbps on 5G," Chong Siew Loong, head of Network Engineering at StarHub, told ZDNet.

Back in November, StarHub and Nokia also attained speeds of 4.3Gbps and latency of 1ms during a 5G trial over centimetre-wave (cmWave) frequency between the 3GHz and 30GHz bands using the Nokia AirScale platform.

These 5G trials followed StarHub and Nokia's demonstration of 600Mbps data transmission speeds over 4G using 4x4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (4x4 MIMO) and carrier aggregation in May, as well as announcing a showcase of 1Gbps indoor 4G coverage in conjunction with Huawei in April, which combined 55MHz across the 1800MHz, 2100MHz, and 2600MHz spectrum bands.

StarHub also trialled network technology in July for the purposes of upgrading its 4G network in partnership with Nokia to triple peak upload speeds to 150Mbps using 64 QAM and aggregating spectrum in the 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands, with the aim of commercially launching such a 4G upgrade in Marina Bay and Orchard Road in December 2016.

"Download speed is just one measure of network quality; upload performance is as important, as mobile customers increasingly share high-definition videos and photos instantly with the world," Chong Siew Loong told ZDNet.

"StarHub is the first telco to triple 4G upload bandwidth to 150Mbps. Available in Marina Bay and Orchard, this network upgrade will reach the rest of Singapore within the first half of this year ... StarHub's nationwide 4G LTE-Advanced network offers mobile customers peak download speeds of 300Mbps.

"As part of our ongoing 'live' trials, 4G 800Mbps coverage has been deployed at Clarke Quay, with 4G 1Gbps to be made available in other crowded areas later this year. Further deployment is dependent on the availability of spectrum and supported phone models."

Like Singtel, StarHub also enabled the embedded SIM (eSIM) to be usable across its 4G LTE-Advanced network in January, allowing customers to connect their smart wearables without needing to pair with a smartphone via Bluetooth.

The "SIM-less" technology involves a permanently fitted SIM, around 10 times smaller than a nano SIM, being pre-installed in wearables. The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier LTE is thus far the only compatible device within Singapore.

Rival telecommunications carrier M1 earlier this week also announced attaining speeds of 35Gbps during a trial of 5G network technology with Huawei. The lab trial was conducted at M1's main operating centre in Jurong, and made use of millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum in the 73GHz E-band.

M1 and Huawei have been working together on improving 4G speeds for more than a year; in January last year, they announced attaining 1Gbps download/130Mbps upload speeds across M1's 4G mobile network using a CAT14 Huawei device for the trial.

The 4G trial was also conducted inside of M1's LTE Advanced test lab, and attained through the combination of four network technologies: 4x4 MIMO; two-component carrier (2CC) uplink carrier aggregation; 3CC tri-band downlink carrier aggregation; and Higher Order Modulation 256 QAM.

M1 also partnered with Nokia on 5G network technology, and conducted the nation's first live demonstration of narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) in October last year.

While incumbent telco's Singtel's CTO Tay Soo Meng has acknowledged that there is a "global race" towards 5G, Singapore's largest telco carrier has yet to announce the outcome of any of its own trials, simply working on a "blueprint" for 5G deployment since January 2015 with Ericsson. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding two years ago to "study the future of 5G networks and its applications" for consumers and enterprises.

Singtel also upgraded its own 4G network to be capable of 450Mbps speeds and undertook 1Gbps live tests across 4G with Ericsson last week using 256 QAM downlink combined with 4x4 MIMO and triple carrier aggregation.

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