SK Telecom says the new relay technologies that it has developed with local players in South Korea are moving it one step closer to building a 5G ecosystem in Korea.
The partners, including High Gain Antenna and SK Telecom’s subsidiary SK Telesys, have been involved in the development of new relay technologies, which are designed to enable network operators to guarantee the stability of communications services even in ultrahigh frequency bands.
In 5G networks, relay technology will help extend radio range by amplifying wireless signals between base stations and devices, according to SK, enabling network operators to cover radio shadow areas and offer wide coverage for 5G.
In fact, SK says relay technology is critical to the seamless delivery of 5G services. In the 28 GHz band, radio waves are more likely to move in straight lines and more unlikely to circumvent obstacles due to the nature of ultrahigh frequencies.
It classifies the new 5G relay technologies jointly developed by SK Telecom and local partners into three techniques:
- flat framing, in which radio waves are reflected at right angles towards both sides
- convex mirroring, in which radio waves are reflected outwards as if they hit a convex mirror
- multibeam generation and amplification, in which multiple numbers of radio waves are aggregated and amplified
SK Telecom decided to apply the multibeam generation and amplification technique to its 5G trial network in Gangnam, Korea, where it was able to achieve three times wider coverage than that of a single beam. While the existing single beam relay repeater covered 70 meters in diagram, the company reports that it is now able to extend the coverage to 200 meters with a new relay repeater implementing the multibeam generation and amplification technique.
The Gangnam area in Seoul is one of the most difficult places to plan or build a network due to the presence of a large number of radio wave obstacles and high-density data traffic. SK Telecom’s deployment of the 5G repeater allows it to build 5G networks in other traffic-concentrated downtown areas with greater ease.
The collaboration with vendors began in May. Specifically, High Gain Antenna developed technologies to implement the flat framing and convex mirroring techniques, and SK Telesys successfully realized the concept of multibeam generation and amplification, the Korean operator reports.