Qualcomm plans 3.4-3.55 GHz tests in San Diego for 5G R&D

The experimental license request involves tests within a 0.5-mile radius of Qualcomm's campus in San Diego.

Qualcomm is asking the FCC for permission to conduct some 5G tests in San Diego using the frequency range of 3.4-3.55 GHz, but it says it’s only for development purposes and this particular frequency range is not targeted for future wireless communication deployment in the United States.

The experimental license request is in support of a small 5G R&D development and demonstration network planned for operation within a half-mile radius of Qualcomm’s campus in the Sorrento Valley area of San Diego, according to the application. The R&D network will use a 100 MHz transmission bandwidth within the frequency range of 3.4-3.55 GHz.

Qualcomm says the network supported by this experimental license is critical for the company to develop, validate and then demonstrate 5G technology wireless communications systems. Qualcomm 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 mobile user environments.

The network is required to support both conventional passive antenna configurations as well as advanced beamforming technologies that will be used in 5G networks. “Deliberate placement and positioning of directional antennas limit the usable engineering RF test coverage area to a 0.5-mile radius with a goal of also limiting the network RF footprint to below the thermal noise floor off the coast of San Diego,” the company told the FCC.

Although the EIRP for the fixes sites has been reduced below target EIRP values proposed by 5G network operators, Qualcomm anticipates the network will still provide the required engineering value needed for the technology development goals. The network 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.

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It’s by no means the only 5G experiment that Qualcomm is doing. Last week, the company was granted permission to modify an existing license using the 3550-3650 frequency range to enable 5G development testing, although that was for an experiment from Aug. 25 to Sept. 1, 2017. The more recent application in the 3.4-3.55 GHz band asks for permission for 24 months.

Separately, Qualcomm also filed paperwork for limited antenna pattern testing of satellite antennas designed for use in the 11.7-12.2 GHz frequency range. The antenna testing requires a large separation distance to gather far field data due to the frequencies and antenna aperture size and can’t be completed in Qualcomm’s anechoic chamber, the company said.