Adding to their recent 5G field trial at 28 GHz, Huawei and NTT DOCOMO announced a second trial at 39 GHz, conducted during November in Yokohama, Japan. According to the companies, the trial demonstrated that 39 GHz can be used for long distance transmission in both stationary and mobility scenarios, even in urban environments.

At a distance of 1.5 km between a stationary base station and user equipment (UE) equivalent to a mobile phone, the demo achieved downlink data rates greater than 3 Gbps and more than 2 Gbps at 1.8 km. With a fixed base station and a vehicle driving over 20 km per hour, the companies demonstrated downlink data rates over 2 Gbps from the base station to the UE in the vehicle.

The 39 GHz base station was located on Yokohama Media Tower and used an innovative metamaterials-based, compact, focal-lens antenna, with 31 dBi maximum gain, and advanced beamforming to point the beam to the receiver. The antenna beam tracked the UE on the vehicle, with algorithms to achieve the best beam selection, fast beam tracking and fast beam switching. High-speed transmission and stable throughput were maintained with the vehicle traveling up to 25 km per hour.

According to the companies, this was the first macro cell coverage trial to use long distance, millimeter wave transmission for mobility applications and demonstrated that millimeter wave links can be used for long distance, enhanced mobile broadband services, one of the use cases for 5G.

Takehiro Nakamura, the managing director of the 5G laboratory at NTT DOCOMO, said, “Long-distance transmission over 39 GHz millimeter wave will enable 5G network deployments in a large scale. It opens up the new stage of the 39 GHz millimeter wave technology and will deliver the ultra-fast experience with 5G high data speed.”

Dr. Wen Tong, a Huawei Fellow and the chief technical officer of Huawei’s wireless networks, said, “The wireless industry will start using the new spectrum 100 times broader than current network to foster next wave of innovations. The 5G millimeter wave technology will help our customer to reuse the existing network infrastructure, especially for sites resource, to protect their investment.”

Huawei and DOCOMO have jointly worked on the development of 5G, conducting various field trials since December 2014. The first version of the 3GPP's 5G standard, release 15, will be completed in 2018, with the industry entering the 5G pre-commercial stage.