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Driving 5G NR technology evolution forward to unlock the full potential of 5G

Feb 19, 2019

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Next week marks one of the most important annual events in the wireless industry — Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This year’s event will be an especially exciting one as our 5G vision turns into a commercial reality for both mobile mmWave and sub-6 GHz spectrum bands, with 5G network and device launch announcements coming from all over the world. As 5G R&D lead at Qualcomm Technologies, I take this as a moment to celebrate, as I first began explaining in public our 5G vision for a unified connectivity fabric almost five years ago.    

Going forward — to enable our customers and partners to be more innovative, grow, and compete more effectively — we’ll continue to push 5G technology boundaries by investing in cutting-edge systems research and development. This is exemplified by the recent announcement of our new end-to-end over-the-air 5G test networks to accelerate 5G innovation. These test networks include both sub-6 GHz and mmWave deployments, and they will be essential for validating our advanced 5G NR designs, refining algorithms to further optimize 5G performance, and demonstrating future 5G capabilities such as ultra-low latency extended reality (XR).

New end-to-end over-the-air 5G test networks will drive 5G innovations
New end-to-end over-the-air 5G test networks will drive 5G innovations

What to expect at MWC19 Barcelona

Just like previous years at MWC in Barcelona, we are bringing our advanced technology demonstrations to let the world take a sneak peek into the future of 5G. Below is a quick overview of the different 5G technology demonstrations that will be hosted at the Qualcomm Technologies booth at the Fira Gran Via in Hall 3 Stand 3E10.

Our future of 5G demo experiences at Mobile World Congress 2019
Our future of 5G demo experiences at Mobile World Congress 2019

Sub-6 GHz SA Massive MIMO OTA Network

We built a 3.5 GHz end-to-end test network in San Diego in compliance with 5G NR Release 15 specification, including the Option 2 Standalone (SA) mode, to validate 5G NR operating in the SA configuration before its commercialization in the second half of 2019. This demonstration showcases the system benefits of an advanced multiuser massive MIMO gNodeB implementation working with the 5G NextGen Core and 5G NR mobile test devices. The implementation is also being used to prototype and validate features for Release 16 and beyond.

Outdoor mmWave OTA Network

We also built a 28 GHz end-to-end outdoor hotspot network in San Diego to showcase mmWave mobility, robustness, and performance. It covers many different real-life operating scenarios such as hand/body blocking as well as line-of-sight (LOS) and non-line-of-sight (NLOS) communications. Like the sub-6 GHz OTA network, this Release 15 network is designed to be forward compatible and is also being used to prototype and validate features in Release 16 and beyond.

Indoor 5G NR mmWave

5G NR mmWave is opening doors to new indoor deployment opportunities such as venues and enterprises, bringing massive capacity, multi-Gigabit per second speeds, and low-latency connectivity to smartphones, laptops, and more. We have built an end-to-end OTA network in our New Jersey R&D office to serve as an indoor mmWave testbed. We’re demonstrating the results from a complex system simulation to showcase the achievable coverage and user experiences when co-siting 5G NR mmWave RF with existing LTE and Wi-Fi infrastructure.

Sub-6 GHz Evolution

With 3GPP Release 15 establishing the foundation for enhanced mobile broadband, 5G NR technologies continue to evolve and usher in new levels of performance and efficiency. This simulation showcases several Release 16 features that can enhance massive MIMO performance and device power saving efficiency, as well as enable new ultra-low latency services essential for the wireless edge.

5G NR Cellular-to-Everything (C-V2X) Experiences

Building on 3GPP Release 14 C-V2X momentum, 3GPP Release 16 5G NR C-V2X is designed to not only be backward compatible with Release 14, but also help enable advanced use cases beyond safety. This demonstration illustrates that even during early 5G NR 5G NR C-V2X deployments, the technology can enable lower energy usage and faster travel for autonomous vehicles. It can also provide higher situational awareness when assisting human drivers as we move towards higher levels of autonomy.

Ultra-reliable 5G NR for Industrial IoT

3GPP Release 16 can extend and optimize 5G for high-performance industrial IoT applications, delivering new functionalities that include enhanced ultra-reliable low-latency communication (eURLLC). Following up on last year’s low-latency 5G NR demonstration, this year’s IIoT demo will show 99.9999% reliability was achieved in the company’s over-the-air 5G test network.

Shared Spectrum opportunities

5G Coordinated Multi-point (CoMP) is becoming a key enabler for many new use cases. For example, CoMP can be used to provide spatial diversity to help meet the enhanced ultra-reliable, low-latency (eURLLC) communication requirements. In addition, CoMP can be implemented to provide efficient spatial multiplexing for boosting network capacity and deployment options, for cases such as when two network operators are using the same spectrum simultaneously.

Boundless XR with 5G

We are taking mobile extended reality (XR) — including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) — to the next level of immersion within the power and thermal constraints of a mobile device. In this demonstration, we will show how 5G’s wider bandwidth and lower latency can join forces with advanced on-device processing and edge cloud processing to help make boundless mobile XR experiences with photorealistic visuals possible. 

See you at MWC19 Barcelona

To see our latest 5G demonstrations in action, stop by our booth (Hall 3 Stand 3E10) at MWC19 Barcelona from February 25-28. You can also come hear us talk about the future of 5G at the Fierce Wireless Executive 5G Panels.

If you can’t make it there this year, you can check out our 5G technologies web portal for the latest information and downloads.


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Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Dr. John E. Smee

Vice President, Engineering, Qualcomm Technologies