us cellularConducting an experimental field trial of next-gen 5G wireless technology in Madison, Wisconsin, Ericsson and U.S. Cellular announced peak throughput of 9 Gbps over 787 ft. and 1.5 Gbps over one mile. The Ericsson, U.S. Cellular 5G field trial involved the installation of 56 radios on a U.S. Cellular tower currently in commercial service.

Using 15 GHz frequency spectrum under an experimental license from the FCC, the partners tested new radio access (NX) carrier combinations in varying environmental conditions to verify expected enhanced performance as per emerging 5G technical specs, the companies highlight in a news release.

In addition to peak throughput, Ericsson and US Cellular also evaluated radio resource sharing, beamforming, beam tracking and multi-user MIMO, as well as other aspects of next-gen 5G radio performance.

Ericsson, U.S. Cellular 5G Field Test
Stakeholders initially are looking to deploy 5G in a fixed deployment and according to a U.S. Cellular spokesperson, the field test focused on fixed performance. Fixed 5G is viewed as a potentially more economical alternative to fiber-to-the-home and could be of particular interest to U.S. Cellular’s landline sister company TDS Telecom. Mobile 5G is expected to support low-latency as well as high-bandwidth applications. Low latency will be critical to supporting evolving Internet of Things applications, including connected cars.

There has been strong interest in fixed 5G on the part of some of the nation’s largest carriers that, like U.S. Cellular/ TDS, have both wireless and wireline businesses — particularly Verizon. U.S. Cellular’s early involvement with the technology suggests the company doesn’t want to be left behind the major players.

U.S. Cellular EVP and CTO Michael S. Irizarry had this to say about the field test results in Madison: “This latest trial with Ericsson demonstrates incredible 9 Gbps speeds in an environment that was close to a real world scenario, and we look forward to collaborating with Ericsson on the development of standards for a healthy 5G ecosystem. ”

“We are committed to giving our customers the best experience with the latest technology that can enhance their lives or businesses, and a fast, high-quality network that works whenever and wherever they need it.”

Rima Qareshi, who leads Ericsson in its North America region highlighted the speed boost and low latency demonstrated during the field trial, which he said would significantly enhance the user experience and open up beneficial business opportunities for enterprise-scale companies as well as more broadly across society.

Ericsson came out of the 5G equipment gate early, in August when management announced that its Air 6468 5G radio would soon be in production with initial deliveries set for 2017. “Together with the Ericsson 5G Plug-Ins announced in June and Ericsson’s already commercially available Radio System Baseband 5216, which currently powers Ericsson’s award-winning Radio Test Bed, Ericsson is first to deliver all components of a 5G access network,” management touted.

Joan Engebretson contributed to this post.

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