Ericsson and Partners Assess W-Band for 5G & 6G Backhaul

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In trials at Deutsche Telekom’s Mobile Backhaul Service Center in Cosmote headquarters, Athens, the partners said they successfully proved the viability of frequency bands beyond 100 GHz, such as W-band, for multi-gigabit wireless backhaul capacities for 5G and 6G.

5G’s increasing capacity demands also apply to transport. Just as radio access networks are starting to use higher frequencies such as 26 GHz and 28 GHz to allow more capacity, wireless backhaul is also looking into the possibility of higher frequencies with broader channels to enable greater capacities. Frequency bands 4 GHz to 80 GHz are now used to support 5G transport requirements. 

The joint field trial demonstrated for the first time a W-band wireless hop over just under one mile range with telecom grade availability using pre-commercial equipment, says Ericsson. This W-band hop was installed parallel with an E-band hop of just under a mile, to show that the W-band has a similar long-term performance to E-band. The trial recorded speeds of 5.7 Gbps over the nearly a mile distance and topped 10 Gbps.

The companies say results proved that W-band (92 GHz -114 GHz) can perform on the same level as the E-band (70/80GHz), which is currently the only frequency band supporting 10 Gbps wireless backhaul capacities for 4G and 5G. The W-band is expected to add more untapped spectrum needed for high-capacity wireless transport, according to the companies.

Dr. Konstantinos Chalkiotis, Deutsche Telekom VP of 5G Solutions for Access & Home Networks, says: “The evolution towards future-proof, cost-efficient and high-capacity wireless backhaul networks will play an important role to accommodate growing traffic demand, increased site location (including small and pico cells) and extend 5G services in the future. The results of our innovation trial with Ericsson confirm the feasibility of using higher frequency bands with wider channels as another solution in our portfolio to deliver high capacity and high performance backhaul for our customers in the 5G era.” He hopes to see the solutions brought into production soon.

Ericsson, Deutsche Telekom and Cosmote have a history of joint innovation, spanning 3G, 4G, 5G mobile and wireless backhaul networks. Ericsson has been researching technology for high-capacity radios above the 70/80 GHz band for more than a decade.

Ericsson Microwave Systems Research Manager Jonas Hansryd says: “Two years ago, Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom showed for the first time the possibility to transport more than 100 Gbps over a kilometer distance using millimeter wave bands. In our latest joint project, we continue on that path, showing the ability to evolve today’s wireless transport by supporting additional, high-capacity backhaul spectrum for 5G and future 6G.”

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