5G milestone as Ericsson and Intel achieve first end-to-end data call

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Just a few short weeks after the announcement of the complete 5G standards, tech firms unlock a major achievement.

In June of this year, standards organisation 3GPP and mobile carriers finally completed approval of 5G standalone specifications after a long period of deliberation.

The culmination of almost three years of engineering efforts, the much-anticipated upgrade came one step closer to genuine commercialisation as opposed to mere hype.

A handful of weeks later, experts at the Ericsson Lab in Kista, Sweden, together with Intel and other partners, successfully completed a bi-directional call on both downlink and uplink streams using the new technology standards. The milestone was passed on 6 July, using Ericssons’s commercially available equipment including the 5G new radio (NR) 6488, baseband and Packet Core supporting 5G EPC.

Intel’s 5G mobile trial platform for the 5G NR user equipment was also used. This Intel product allows for rapid implementation of the most modern air interfaces and communication protocols.

Commercialisation is almost a reality

Asha Keddy, vice-president of next generation and standards at Intel, said that the demonstration was a “powerful proof point that commercial 5G is at hand”.

She added: “Intel and the industry have worked closely together on the finalisation of the 3GPP 5G R15 standard and now we will collaborate to help operators accelerate their 5G networks, as Intel evolves its LTE modem line-up toward the Intel XMM 8000 series modem by 2019.”

Nishant Batra, head of product area networks at Ericsson, explained that the work carried out here is laying the groundwork for future deployment across the world.

Ericsson lab launches in Delhi

Ericsson also recently announced the launch of a 5G innovation lab in India, located at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi.

The centre of excellence and innovation lab for 5G is conducting trials using multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology, Ericsson’s own 5G NR system, and both virtualised radio access network and virtualised core technology.

The Swedish company is banking on interest in the new iteration in order to drive up its revenue, which is currently flagging.

A competitive race

Since the finalisation of the new standards, carriers and manufacturers are hard at work all over the world ensuring users benefit from commercialisation swiftly.

Networks such as Three are ramping up preparations for the technology, with the carrier recently announcing a collaboration with SSE Enterprise Telecoms as part of the groundwork for the new-generation network. Expect further announcements as the second half of 2018 gets underway.

Ellen Tannam is a writer covering all manner of business and tech subjects

editorial@siliconrepublic.com