SK Telecom taps relay repeater in 5G demo

seoul train
SK Telecom worked with several local South Korean vendors on the 5G demo.

The 5G relay repeater concept is making a repeat performance at SK Telecom, which said it used an in-building 5G relay repeater to deliver speeds of up to 4 Gbps thanks to 28 GHz technology it developed with HFR.

In August, the South Korean operator said it was able to use a 5G repeater to improve signals in blanket/shadow areas by amplifying 5G radio signals. That demo was conducted near Gangnam Station in Seoul, one of the most data traffic-heavy places in Korea.

The more recent demo was done indoors at the company’s Bundang office outside of Seoul and relied on several local vendors. The company explained that the in-building 5G relay repeater helps deliver seamless network connections in an indoor environment by transferring wireless signals to radio shadow areas.

RELATED: SK Telekom touts successful 5G repeater trial in high-traffic Gangnam area

In the 28 GHz band, radio waves are more likely to move in straight lines because they’re blocked more sharply by obstacles with shorter radio coverage. Loss is particularly acute inside buildings where areas are divided by walls.

The operator also worked with SK Telesys to develop an in-building relay repeater that can deliver 5G radio signals in 3.5 GHz spectrum using the existing mobile communications infrastructure installed inside buildings.

Now SK Telecom has solutions for both indoor and outdoor settings.

SK also said it demonstrated a 360-degree virtual reality (VR) video call using a tablet-sized device in Seoul in collaboration with Samsung Electronics. A user was able to walk around a dense, high-rise building area while keeping the VR call connected. That demo was done in the central business district with many obstacles; both companies used beamforming, optimal base-station positioning and network virtualization to make the demo.

“The success of 5G wireless communications in the real-world environment will give us momentum to accelerate our effort to roll out 5G service earlier than expected,” said Park Jin-hyo, senior vice president and head of Network Technology R&D Center at SK Telecom, in a statement. “We at SK Telecom will continue to develop our capabilities to rollout 5G networks in order to offer differentiated services to our customers.”

Last year, SK Telecom and Verizon signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct joint studies and advance the standardization process for 5G. The two companies said they were also swapping technical knowledge on LTE, IoT and network virtualization while agreeing to “strengthen cooperation” within the Open Compute Project and the Mobile Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter project.