Japan’s NTT DoCoMo is claiming the world’s first 8 Gbps 5G communications with a vehicle equipped with glass-mounted antennas in a 28 GHz field trial with Ericsson and AGC.
It’s certainly not the first 5G demo involving DoCoMo and a car traveling at relatively high speed. Earlier this year, DoCoMo announced it had achieved a 28 GHz wireless data transmission between a 5G base station and a 5G mobile station using a car moving at about 189 mph. The speed was a nod to high-speed railways where the operator will need to provide adequate handoffs.
What’s different here is the On-Glass Antennas, which were designed and developed by AGC. A total of eight On-Glass Antenna elements were installed in the Nissan GT-R test vehicle—on the windshield, both side windows and rear window, so the radio waves could be received from various directions, according to the vendor.
The vehicle was moving at about 62 mph when the 8 Gbps speed was achieved, but at slower speeds, they achieved a maximum of 11 Gbps. The main objective was confirming that high-speed in-vehicle communications could be attained by using On-Glass Antennas.
The trial was done along a straight section of test course at the National Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. The vehicle was equipped with a 5G mobile station to which several On-Glass Antennas were connected and three 5G base stations were set up along the sides of the course.
Ericsson provided the 5G base station and mobile station equipment. The base stations supported vertical/horizontal polarization—2 x 64 elements for each polarization, transmitting up to two beams per base station. MIMO and beam-forming techniques were applied in the band, where bandwidth was 732 MHz.
Japan expects 5G to arrive in 2020. It’s been an especially aggressive arena for the connected car, where Toyota had about 100,000 dedicated short-range communication (DSRC)-equipped Toyota and Lexus vehicles deployed as of March 2018. DSRC was introduced in Japan in 2015.
Qualcomm has been involved in both DSRC and Cellular-V2X technologies but lately has been a big proponent of C-V2X. During the company’s most recent quarterly call with analysts, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said expectations are for 5G-enabled cars to make a showing in 2021, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.