Currently ZTE is testing its 5G solution in Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China. At the moment it looks very promising. It looks interesting from the perspective of eMBB (Enhanced Mobile Broadband), the true broadband mobile Internet. The tests were performed on the 3.5 GHz band (for example, the WiMAX network worked on it), where a total of 28 streams with a total bandwidth of more than 19 Gbps were obtained. This translates to about 680 Mbps in each stream. ZTE points out that this result is much better than 10 Gbps defined by ITU. These types of solutions are supposed to be used in densely populated areas.
In the millimetre band, ZTE has reached a speed of 13 Gbps for a single user. The approach to mobile Internet has changed in the 5G. Currently, operators and equipment providers advertise LTE-Advanced as a solution that delivers Internet speeds of 300 Mbps, 450 Mbps and even 1 Gbps. However, this is the speed that only one user in a particular cell can reach. In addition, it must be quite close to the base station. Therefore, the cell capacity concept is often used, which determines the total data rate of all subscribers using the same cell at the same time. On the other hand, with the new 5G technology, the base station has far more capabilities than the user terminal. Also, ZTE is proud of the 13 Gbps result for a single user with a 26 GHz band. Interestingly, this result was achieved with a device that supports a channel narrower than 1 GHz.
Another success is the ultra low delay of 0.416 ms.
For reminder, latency in LTE networks is defined as 10 ms, while 5G is 1 ms. On the other hand, ZTE has achieved more than 2x better result, which is very important for real time applications. Such solutions will be crucial for smart cities, or communication between vehicles, where system response time is critical. This is consistent with the IoT (Internet of Things) vision, where the 5G network will connect everything. It’s not just about the fridge or the coffee machines. It will be more practical to connect all the traffic lights, which will be able to facilitate the transfer of privileged vehicles (e.g. ambulances). Currently, ZTE’s IoT performance test has reached 90 million connections per hour using 1 MHz bandwidth per 1 km².
So far everything looks promising.
It would seem that ZTE does something here and does it only on its own hardware. However, tests were also made with chipsets from other vendors who also work on 5G. So far we have heard that Qualcomm and Intel are stubbornly working on the implementation of the first 5G modems. Their products are supposed to be found in Samsung and Apple smartphones. So ZTE will not be the only company offering new technology. Competitors know well what’s up and all companies are working on 5G. Who will win this race? For now, we do not know, but everything will be resolved until 2020, because that is when we should see the first commercial deployment of new technology.