Qualcomm gets OK to conduct 4.4-4.94 GHz 5G tests in San Diego

The test network uses a single TDD 100 MHz channel bandwidth.

Qualcomm was granted FCC authorization to conduct experiments using a small 5G R&D development and demonstration network at 4.4-4.94 GHz in its hometown of San Diego.

Specifically, the location is within a 0.5-mile radius of Qualcomm’s campus in the Sorrento Valley area of San Diego. The authorization is effective until Oct. 1, 2019.

The application lists 30 mobile units and four base stations to be used in a test network that will use a single TDD 100 MHz channel bandwidth. Qualcomm explained that the requested frequency range of 4.4-4.94 GHz is for technology development purposes only and not targeted for future nonfederal wireless communication deployment in the U.S.

Qualcomm said the network supported by the experimental license is critical for the company to develop, validate and then demonstrate 5G technology wireless communications systems. Engineers designed the network to generate the smallest amount of RF interference to incumbents in the requested frequency range while also providing the RF coverage area required for engineering development and showcasing advanced wireless technology for indoor, outdoor, static and mobility user environments, the company said.

“The network is required to support both conventional passive antennas configurations as well as advanced beam forming technologies that will be utilized by 5G networks,” the application states.

The network as described uses four fixed sectors to provide the RF coverage area to a maximum of 30 mobile devices anywhere within the 0.5-mile coverage area. Three of the locations use one directional antenna while the third site has two directional antennas. The mobile devices can be used in static locations, in vehicles or in human mobility scenarios, according to the application. Most mobile testing will occur at ground level, but there’s a chance that some mobile may be located inside buildings exceeding one story.

RELATED: Apple, Facebook and more lobby for expanded unlicensed use of 6 GHz band

Qualcomm is part of a broader coalition that is calling on the FCC to open up the 6 GHz band to unlicensed operations and allow them to bring faster service, lower latency and more pervasive coverage to consumers. They note that the timing couldn’t be better: the IEEE 802.11ax Task Group recently voted to extend coverage to the 6 GHz band, expanding 802.11ax from 5 GHz into new gigabit-enabled channels, and consumers will rely more heavily on Wi-Fi in the future to power new use cases.

About 30 entities signed the filing (PDF), all agreeing that Part 15 access to the 5925-7125 MHz band (aka the 6 GHz band) is essential in meeting demand for the next generation of wireless broadband services. The companies span the consumer equipment, internet media, software, cloud, semiconductor, enterprise, service provider and rural connectivity industries. Their proposal is in response to the FCC’s call for comments on expanding flexible use in midband spectrum between 3.7 and 24 GHz.