Samsung's new '5G' tech 'several hundred times faster' than LTE Advanced

Samsung Electronics claims it had made a breakthrough in wireless network technology, which it is touting as "5G," explaining the new wireless technique will enable data downlink speeds of 1 Gbps. However, the technology is not nearly ready for prime time--Samsung said it hopes to commercialize it by 2020.

Samsung engineers show off the company's latest technology.

In a statement, Samsung said that its researchers "successfully developed the world's first adaptive array transceiver technology operating in the millimeter-wave Ka bands for cellular communications."

The company said that developing high-speed "5G" technology requires wider spectrum channels, and that it had decided to explore the potential that millimeter-wave bands held for doing so. Samsung noted that such bands had been believed to have limitations transmitting data over long distances due to their unfavorable propagation characteristics.

Yet Samsung claimed that by using its new adaptive array transceiver technology, such bands can work for high-speed cellular networks, and that the technology allows it to transmit data in the millimeter-wave band at a frequency of 28 GHz at a speed of up to 1.056 Gbps to a distance of up to 2 kilometers.

Samsung said its adaptive array transceiver technology, using 64 antenna elements, can be a viable solution for overcoming the weaker propagation characteristics of millimeter-wave bands, which are much higher in frequency than conventional wireless spectrum. The company said it "plans to accelerate the research and development of 5G mobile communications technologies, including adaptive array transceiver at the millimeter-wave bands, to commercialize those technologies by 2020."

In a bit of boldness, Samsung claimed the new technology "will be capable of ultra-high-speed data transmission up to several hundred times faster than even the 4G LTE Advanced technology due for launch later this year," and that users will be able to transmit content like HD movies "practically without limitation."

"The millimeter-wave band is the most effective solution to recent surges in wireless Internet usage," Chang Yeong Kim, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics, said in a statement. "Samsung's recent success in developing the adaptive array transceiver technology has brought us one step closer to the commercialization of 5G mobile communications in the millimeter-wave bands."

Most carriers that have deployed LTE networks are working to implement LTE Advanced protocols and features into their networks. Using carrier aggregation technology in which spectrum bands are essentially melded together for a wider channel, LTE Advanced can theoretically deliver speeds of up to can offer up to 1 Gbps. The four Tier 1 U.S. carries are working toward LTE Advanced implementations either for later this year or in 2014.

However, some are not standing still. The European Union announced earlier this year that it will invest around $65 million in research to deliver "5G" technology by 2020. The U.K. government and a consortium of companies pooled together around $54 million last fall to develop a specialized "5G" Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey to stimulate expansion in U.K. telecom research, R&D and the provision of broadband mobile data services.

For more:
- see this Samsung release
- see this Yonhap News article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this NYT article

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