Private Networks: Embracing mmWave 5G

The stage is set for private 5G

5G promises to change the business landscape perhaps more than any other generation of wireless technology. While 4G enabled a host of enterprise-specific mobile applications, 5G will enable a new form of business connectivity. Enterprises will be able to choose wireless as their primary form of connectivity, for both IT and OT.

Private networks will change the game for both service providers and enterprises. For service providers, private networks will be one of the biggest revenue generators associated with 5G. For enterprises, these networks will combine the flexibility of Wi-Fi with the security and reliability of cellular.

As offices reopen after the pandemic, hardly a day goes by without news of another company that has committed to a private cellular network. The global pandemic underscored the value of robust, secure wireless networks, and now that Release 16 has been finalized vendors are bringing to market equipment that will help enterprises realize the promise of 5G.

The promise of 5G is high bandwidth, ultra-low latency networks that can connect people, machines and cloud-native applications. Actionable analytics, IoT, artificial intelligence and augmented reality are all enabled by private 5G networks.

But not all 5G is created equal. The fastest, highest capacity 5G connections are mmWave connections. For environments such as factory floors, stadiums or retail centers, mmWave 5G networks can offer the most value because their speed and bandwidth is unparalleled.

The advantages of mmWave

Many of the enterprise use cases that will benefit from 5G will require high bandwidth connections. For example, when robots are used to perform surgery or operate mission critical machinery, the humans controlling these machines need ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC).  The stakes are high and milliseconds can be crucial.

To ensure performance, mmWave connections currently need to prioritize URLLC traffic over mobile broadband traffic in these high-stakes deployments. Private networks enable enterprises with the capacity and ability to prioritize mission critical traffic and safeguard data.

Data analytics enabled by edge computing will also be made possible by mmWave 5G private networks. Platforms like AWS Outposts and Azure Edge Zones enable companies to install cloud-based applications on or near their premises, and mmWave 5G private networks will deliver the bandwidth needed to leverage these applications.

Millimeter wave connections can transmit large files quickly and securely. Hospitals will use mmWave networks to send images and video files, and factories will use them to upload and download video instructions and enable augmented reality when they need to repair equipment in real time.

Samsung leads in mmWave

Samsung pioneered the use of mmWave for 5G. In 2009, researchers at Samsung discovered that the application of cutting-edge beamforming technology could effectively overcome the technical challenges in the mmWave band. In 2013, the company announced that it had successfully developed the world’s first adaptive array transceiver technology operating in the millimeter-wave Ka bands for cellular communications. Samsung was the first company in the world to receive regulatory approval for 5G mmWave equipment. In 2020, mmWave technology enabled Samsung to achieve the industry’s fastest 5G download speed of 8.5 Gbps across multiple devices.

Now, Samsung’s equipment is driving 5G mmWave commercialization efforts in North America. Samsung’s Compact Macro is one of the simplest radio network configurations in the industry, integrating the baseband, radio and antenna all together in a small form factor. It uses advanced in-house modems, radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) and digital analog front end (DAFE) ASICs to support all mmWave frequency bands with high performance and low power consumption. Samsung has also introduced Link Cell, a small cell that enables operators to extend 5G mmWave to indoor environments. 

“In addition to delivering some of the highest performing massive MIMO solutions, our radios have also been widely recognized for their compact, light-weight and easy to deploy designs that leverage natural convection cooling for further efficiency for the operator,” said Derek Johnston, Head of Marketing and 5G Business Development at Samsung Networks.

Work with Operators

Samsung has been at the forefront of operator testing and deployment of mmWave, from trialing and deploying mmWave for fixed wireless access with Verizon to deploying 39Ghz radios with AT&T in various US markets.

As 5G networks started to move indoors, Verizon became the first carrier to trial Samsung’s Link Cell mmWave small cell radio.

Verizon said the commercialization of these indoor systems is a critical step on the way to private 5G networks, which allow industries and enterprises to build robust, indoor and outdoor wireless infrastructure — a super-efficient business enabler. These options allow organizations flexibility in how they advance their networks to create efficiencies like improving productivity through automation and machine communication, enhancing customer engagement and providing a unified communication path across all business locations—remote and corporate.

With mmWave 5G private networks, factories can take manufacturing to the next level, freeing workers to upskill into new roles by connecting automated guided vehicles to move items around the factory floor and connecting tiny cameras to inspect equipment previously monitored by humans. Wireless connectivity enables factory lines to be reconfigured quickly because equipment and cameras stay connected to the network as they move.

“For the industry 4.0 use cases to take flight, one of the remaining tools needed is the 5G sensor technology to address the various environmental and system IoT use cases in the factory,” said Johnston. “As 5G networks continue to evolve, mmWave will prove to be an essential spectrum band for all applications requiring higher data rates and more uplink capacity.”

Johnston highlighted a recent report from GSMA Intelligence which found that mmWave can be a cost-effective deployment strategy for dense urban networks, indoor enterprises, and fixed wireless access scenarios. He believes the benefits for enterprises will include AR remote learning and holistic VR teleconferencing to autonomous robots.

Samsung spans the 5G market

Samsung brings several unique value propositions to the private networks equation since its business spans the wireless ecosystem. In addition to a leading mmWave radio access network portfolio, Samsung makes 5G consumer devices, so its teams can optimize network performance all the way to the end user.

Samsung’s device and network expertise led to a 5G partnership with IBM. The two companies are collaborating to develop new private 5G solutions targeting the enterprise market. “5G devices and network solutions from Samsung, along with IBM and Red Hat’s open, hybrid cloud capabilities, can help organizations across all industries accelerate their transformation and solve real business problems, while unlocking the true power of 5G and edge,” said Steve Canepa, Global GM and Managing Director, Communications Sector at IBM.

In addition, Samsung has a world-class chip manufacturing business, so the company has silicon expertise and a reliable supply of semiconductors. Its chipmaking business also presents Samsung with opportunities to trial its 5G mmWave private network solutions in real factories, and the company has done just that in Suwon, South Korea and Austin, Texas.

“We deployed a full 5G network within our networks manufacturing facility in Suwon, South Korea and began leveraging 5G, AI and Big Data’s impact on manufacturing,” explained Johnston. “We looked at challenges manufacturing companies face that can benefit from 5G.”

In Suwon, Samsung created test cases around quality and assurance, massive connected IoT, production lines, robot control monitoring, maintenance, worker safety and virtual training. Engineers are using the test cases to learn how to optimize network deployment models for cost efficient and limited operational disruption and about how operators or enterprises can best architect a system to deliver these 5G use cases.

At Samsung Austin Semiconductor in Texas, Samsung worked with AT&T to create the first manufacturing-focused 5G innovation zone in the U.S.  Use cases the company is trialing include industrial IoT for automated material handling, health and environmental sensors, and mixed reality for training.

“Both our Suwon factory implementation and the innovation zone in Austin provide a view into the unique value that Samsung brings to the table, which is our ability to partner with our own business units to develop the new use cases 5G calls for,” said Johnston.

Samsung is the only company that can combine real-world mmWave 5G private network experience with leading mmWave radio products, and a world class portfolio of 5G end user devices. The time is right and the technology is in place for mmWave 5G private networks. Working with Samsung is the way to leverage all that private 5G can offer.

Samsung Networks has pioneered the successful delivery of 5G end-to-end solutions including chipsets, radios, and core. Through ongoing research and development, Samsung drives the industry to advance 5G networks with its market-leading product portfolio from fully virtualized RAN and Core to private network solutions and AI-powered automation tools. The company is currently providing network solutions to mobile operators that deliver connectivity to hundreds of millions of users around the world.

Visit Samsung’s Private Networks website: https://www.samsung.com/global/business/networks/solutions/private-networks/ 





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