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Monday, June 3, 2013

Future 5G wireless

Samsung is testing 5G wireless technology in New York, sending and receiving more than a gigabit of data per second up to about 2 km - and possibly tens of gigabits per second at shorter distances.  The current design incorporates 64 antennas, which can be used to dynamically shape how the signals are divided up as well as providing directional transmissions.

Reaching these transmission speeds for stationary systems is one thing; getting them to work for mobile handsets is another - which is why several experts have been skeptical of their claims.  However, it appears that they have the system working for mobile speeds of about 8KM per hour (about 5MPH).  Additional testing has shown that the link could reach 200 meters even when there is no direct line-of-site between the mobile and tower.

Using the new technology - where a transmitter is mounted on an outside wall at the third-floor level of an 11-story concrete building, and with the receiver moving, they were able to deliver error free data at 256 Mbits per second, and nominal errors at 512 Mbits per second - where the maximum theoretical for 4G LTE would be about 75 MBits per second (under similar conditions); a 3-6 fold increase in data transmission speeds.

Transmitting and receiving data at these high rates have several challenges - including building obstructions or natural atmospheric phenomenon such as rain or fog.  Using the 64 antennas and rapidly switching between them to get the clearest signal is referred to as 'beam forming', and is mentioned as part of the Samsung patent filing.

Though Samsung is working on this technology, only the International Telecommunications Union can formally declare a new standard.  Nevertheless, companies like Samsung are competing heavily to help influence future communication standards.  Such new speeds will be required for the anticipated heavy influx of real-time multi-stream video and data that mobile devices will be expected to handle in the future.