Japan’s DoCoMo claims 5G first in field trial involving 28 GHz and ultrahigh mobility

Continuing with the theme of 5G and “firsts,” NTT DoCoMo says it has achieved what is believed to be the world’s first successful 28 GHz wireless data transmission between a 5G base station and a 5G mobile station in 5G field trials using a car moving at 305 km/h, or about 189 mph.

The speeds in the field trials are designed to be similar to speeds of high-speed railways, so it’s understandable the operator wants to make sure it works, including handoffs, at these kinds of speeds.

Working with NEC and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), DoCoMo said the trials also achieved what are believed to be the world's first successful 1.1 Gbps ultrahigh-speed data transmission via downlink to a 5G mobile station moving at 293 km/h. It also conducted a fast handover during communication between 5G base stations and a 5G mobile station moving at 290 km/h.

The operator noted that the “world’s first” achievements are according to DoCoMo research as of April 23, 2018.

The trials were conducted last month at the Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI) using 700 megahertz of spectrum. They also included live wireless relay of 4K high-frame rate video via uplink from a 5G mobile station moving at 200 km/h, according to DoCoMo.

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The operator and its partners used beamforming and beam tracking to address propagation challenges in the 28 GHz band. The 5G base stations used massive-element antenna (96 elements, up to two beams), and the mobile station had massive-element antenna (64 elements, up to two beams). Sony Business Solutions provided a 4K camera for high-frame rate video, and DoCoMo’s own Dandelion racing manager provided a trial car and operated the car on the test course.

DoCoMo is gearing up to show off its 5G skills for the Olympics in 2020. Partners there include Intel, which revealed earlier this year that it is collaborating with DoCoMo to develop things like 360-degree, 8K-video streams for highly immersive watching of the games, where viewers feel like they’re riding the waves with the athletes rather than watching surfers from the beach.

Earlier this year, DoCoMo completed a trial with Huawei and Tobu Railway at Tokyo Skytree Town, the commercial center in the Sumida District of Tokyo that is the home of the iconic 634-meter high television broadcasting tower and landmark. The trial focused on delivering consistent 5G system performance for enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) applications within the complex, and was used to research radio propagation characteristics and other technical conditions for the 28 GHz band and other candidate spectrum within congested environments.