Four radio cells in the Deutsche Telekom network are demonstrating the future of communication right now. The antennas in Berlin are the first in Europe with a live 5G connection in a real world setting. Using pre-standard 5G New Radio (5G NR), the future mobile communications component of 5G, the network is achieving throughput of more than two gigabits per second to a single customer device, as well as a latency of three milliseconds on commercial sites in Berlin’s Schöneberg district. Extremely high throughput and very short network reaction times are the key capabilities of 5G, which is set to drive forward the development of exciting new applications.
“We are demonstrating 5G live here, in the middle of Berlin, rather than in a lab. This is a very decisive developmental step on the way to the global launch of 5G, which is planned for 2020,” said Claudia Nemat, Member of the Management Board responsible for Technology & Innovation at Deutsche Telekom. “If everything is connected to everything else, customers need a high-performance, reliable and secure network. Industry in particular will benefit from 5G as a powerful enabler for a wide range of applications. We are ready for 5G.”
Deutsche Telekom demonstrated the network’s high performance by showcasing some early application ideas that are enhanced by 5G. The augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications benefit from 5G’s super high data rates and real-time responses. A particular highlight was the live transmission of an ultra-high-definition video stream over 5G NR to a VR device.
The next communication standard
5G is more than the next mobile communications standard; 5G is the future telecommunications standard that will bring mobile and fixed network communication together. A new network architecture and design will also play a significant role. 5G networks will be controlled by software, will be programmable and will be managed end-to-end. This creates the enabling platform for the provision of a large number of different services.
5G New Radio, the new 5G air interface, will work in combination with the evolution of 4G/LTE technology, which means that this will also play a decisive role in future communications. A key technology in 5G NR to increase capacity and data rates is the use of advanced antenna techniques: Known as Massive MIMO (multiple input/multiple output), it increases the number of antenna elements deployed at both the base station and in the subscriber device, which can increase capacity through a much more efficient use of the frequency spectrum.
First step on the way to 5G for all
“5G New Radio in Berlin is the first major step towards 5G for everybody,” said Deutsche Telekom CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn. “As soon as the standard is defined and is available, we will proceed in 2018 to lay the foundation for large-scale build-out. This is how we are driving the technology development in Europe and demonstrate our innovation power.”
Deutsche Telekom is using the frequency spectrum in the 3.7 gigahertz range coupled with Huawei equipment for its implementation in Berlin. The four Huawei antennas are located at three different sites: Winterfeldtstraße (two cells), Martin-Luther-Straße and Pohlstraße.
“5G is getting close to prime time. The successful live transmission over 5G is an important technical contribution to the 5G community for the two companies. Huawei will continue investing in Research & Development and enhance its cooperation with partners to make progress in 5G technology and the development of an industry ecosystem,” said Deng Tai Hua, president of the Huawei Wireless Network Product Line.
A 5G pre-standard system is the technical basis for the network in Berlin. This means that the specifications in the Huawei equipment used are following the progress of the global 3GPP specifications for the 5G New Radio standard. It is anticipated that the specifications of the system used will be completed by 3GPP in December 2017.
5G live in Berlin
In Berlin, Deutsche Telekom demonstrated how the 5G network’s multi-gigabit data rates and low latencies can enrich, for example, an AR application around a slot car track. For this, the 5G network delivered additional context information from an edge cloud in real time using the AR glasses. Thanks navigational prompts and race position, as well as other real time information, the user can experience really interactive and immersive AR.
The example makes it clear how the 5G enabled offloading of computational and power hungry tasks to edge clouds will enable lighter AR glasses with longer battery lives and will at the same time open up a vast range of new possibilities.
To accelerate the development of new applications for 5G, Deutsche Telekom recently launched the Low Latency Prototyping Programs at its hub:raum sites in Berlin and Krakow. The programs are aimed at innovative developers who want to develop products benefitting from Edge Computing, as well as 5G network performance as it emerges.
Deutsche Telekom is piloting the use of 5G for industry at the Port of Hamburg. The aim is to tailor the 5G network to meet the diverse requirements of the port. Traffic control data, reliable traffic light steering and environmental monitoring are the first application scenarios for 5G. This enables the digital transformation of the port to support its future growth.