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Samsung gets down to some myth busting at 5G World

Roh

For the most part, presentations at industry trade events are relatively predictable; vendors say look how amazing we are, operators say they doing as badly as you think, but Samsung actually tried something which turned out to be interesting.

Swaggering onto the stage like a man who knew he was going to nail it, Wonil Roh, Samsung’s Head of the Technology Group, busted some mmWave myths.

mmWave does promise an upgrade on speeds, but delivered on narrower wavelengths. This means the strength of the signal can be vulnerable against gas, rain and humidity absorption, while also being subject to blockages. Trees are the enemy of superfast cat videos, or so the naysayers would have you believe…

Roh’s presentation was certainly an interesting one, addressing many of the larger concerns surrounding the use of mmWave, not only with theoretical technological advances, but hard evidence from trials around the world to beat back the negative misers.

First and foremost, coverage. Many would have you believe the distance mmWave signal can propagate is less than 50 metres, effectively writing off many of the proposed use cases. Roh’s trials in London and Korea demonstrate effective performance up to 800 metres, and even 1.2km when there is a direct line of sight. MYTH BUSTED.

Staying with the line of sight argument, foliage is considered to be a major hindrance to the development of mmWave. The naysayers would have you believe mushroom shaped topiary and other garden decorations could prevent your Netflix binge session, but Roh, once again, begs to differ.

“We have found there are still multiple paths to deflect around obstructions to get reasonable quality signal at the receiver,” said Roh. Even with obstructions, Samsung have performed tests with the signal being transmitted 2 metres above ground level, with reasonable performance 800 metres away. MYTH BUSTED

This kindly leads onto the third point, as the naysayers believe the reduced signal strength and coverage of mmWave would lead to operators having to worry about an increased number of sites. There might be some cases where this is true, however, another set of Samsung trials in Seoul demonstrated 19 base stations transmitting mmWave delivered 99% of the outdoor coverage of LTE, and 94% of the indoor coverage. There might be a slight drop in performance, but Roh noted speeds on devices increased from an average of 19 Mbps to over 1 Gbps when using mmWave. This criticism of mmWave might be slightly true, but the trade-off is certainly positive. MYTH COMPENSATED

Myth

Another worry for the naysayers is the mobility of mmWave; can it support handover between base stations and high speed mobility. Some vendors might have had an employee run around the block a few times to test this theory out, but not Samsung. Along with KDDI, Samsung headed down to the Everland Speedway in Korea, fitted a car with a 5G device and sped between base stations at speeds exceeding 190km/h. Not only is it a good excuse for a day out, Roh pointed towards the successful demonstration and incredibly efficient adaptive beam forming to complete the handover. MYTH BUSTED

Alas, this is where Roh’s good news ran out as addressing outdoor to indoor penetration is a minor win for the naysayers. “This could be an issue I have to admit,” Roh coyly stated.

Acceptable levels of performance can be achieved with an indoor CPE, however there are certain building materials which offer problems. There are of course materials which can be used to improve the performance, but Roh admitted sometimes the easiest solution is the best one; just use an outdoor CPE. MYTH CIRCUMNAVIGATED

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