In trials at Deutsche Telekom’s Mobile Backhaul Service Center in Cosmote headquarters, Athens, the partners successfully proved the viability of frequency bands beyond 100 GHz, such as W-Band, for multi-gigabit wireless backhaul capacities for 5G and 6G.

5G’s increasing capacity demands also apply to transport. Just as radio access networks are starting to use higher frequencies such as 26 and 28 GHz to allow more capacity, wireless backhaul is also looking into the possibility of higher frequencies with broader channels to enable greater capacities. Wireless backhaul currently uses frequency bands from 4 to 80 GHz to support 5G transport requirements.

The joint field trial demonstrated for the first time a W-Band wireless hop over a 1.5 km range with telecom grade availability using pre-commercial equipment. This W-Band hop was installed parallel with a 1.5 km E-Band hop, to show that the W-Band has a similar long-term performance to E-Band. The trial recorded speeds of 5.7 Gbps over the 1.5 km distance and topped 10 Gbps over 1 km hops.

The result proved that W-Band (92 to 114 GHz) can perform on the same level as the E-Band (70 to 80 GHz), which is currently the only frequency band supporting 10 Gbps wireless backhaul capacities for 4G and 5G. The W-Band is expected to add more untapped spectrum needed for high capacity wireless transport.

Dr. Konstantinos Chalkiotis, vice president 5G Solutions, Access & Home Networks, Deutsche Telekom said, “The evolution towards future-proof, cost-efficient and high capacity wireless backhaul networks will play an important role to accommodate growing traffic demand, increased site location (including small and pico cells) and extend 5G services in the future. The results of our innovation trial with Ericsson confirm the feasibility of using higher frequency bands with wider channels as another solution in our portfolio to deliver high capacity and high performance backhaul for our customers in the 5G era. We hope soon to see those solutions brought into real production in a cost-efficient manner.”

Ericsson, Deutsche Telekom and Cosmote have a long history of joint innovation spanning 3G, 4G, 5G mobile and wireless backhaul networks. Ericsson has been researching technology for high capacity radios above the 70 to 80GHz band for more than a decade.

Jonas Hansryd, research manager, Microwave Systems, Ericsson, said, “Ericsson has a proud history of innovation with Deutsche Telekom. Two years ago, we showed for the first time the possibility to transport more than 100 Gbps over a kilometer distance using mmWave bands. In our latest joint project, we continue on that path showing the ability to evolve today’s wireless transport by supporting additional, high capacity backhaul spectrum for 5G and future 6G.”

Spectrum availability is critical for reliable and wider 5G deployment, ensuring that the benefits of the latest technology reaches more people. 5G-enabled use cases are expected to not only enhance mobile broadband services for consumers but also speed up digital transformation and automation technologies across industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, public safety and transportation.