KT, NEC test 5G backhaul solution using E-band spectrum

NEC Corporation completed a Proof of Concept (PoC) trial with South Korea's KT Corporation (KT) for a 5G wireless backhaul solution using E-Band (70-80 GHz) spectrum. The PoC was conducted at Phoenix Park Ski World in PyeongChang, the mountain resort region where the 2018 Winter Olympics will take place.

A press release announcing the successful trial did not mention the Olympics, but KT has said it wants to launch 5G trial services in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. The trial with NEC used KT's commercial mobile network infrastructure.

KT also aims to introduce radio transmission using E-Band spectrum in order to establish mobile backhaul networks for 5G services, especially in mountainous areas, where it's difficult to lay optical fibers. E-band spectrum's characteristics, such as wider communications channels, higher linearity and lower atmospheric attenuation compared with other spectrum bands, make it ideal for large-capacity wireless transmission.

In the U.S., some vendors have said the E Band got a bad rap over the years due to vendors overpromising and under-delivering, but interest in the band has grown as operators look to fill needs for small cell backhaul and 5G. Nokia has said the band is the only one where the bandwidths are comparable to unlicensed band operation at 60 GHz.

In their PoC, NEC's iPasolink EX, which is an ultra-compact microwave communications system that operates with E-Band spectrum, was used to interconnect KT's LTE base stations with high-speed and high-capacity wireless links.

NEC says iPasolink EX supports ultra-multilevel modulation (256QAM) technology, so high capacity transmission of up to 3.2 Gbps -- on par with fiber optic cable -- is possible. In addition, its support of narrow band transmission (channel width of 250 MHz and 500 MHz) enables telecom operators to efficiently use the frequency bands assigned to them, NEC said.

The PoC is based on a collaboration agreement on 5G networks signed between KT and NEC in August 2015. Prior to that, the two companies already were collaborating in SDN and NFV.

For more:
- see this release
- see this PC World story

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