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Nokia reckons it has cracked mmWave for 5G FWA

A new technology from Finnish kit vendor Nokia claims to have overcome millimetre wave propagation challenges for fixed wireless access use.

It’s called 360 High Gain 5G mmWave technology because it combines very high gain with a 360 field of view. The problem with mmWave is that its propagation characteristics are relatively poor, especially when it comes to obstacles. In its current form it requires uninterrupted line-of-sight to work, which severely limits its use in most environments.

So Nokia decided to boost the ‘gain’, which we presume refers to the power of the signal, and also enable the FWA device to pick up signal from any direction, which presumably helps to deal with physical obstacles. The resulting device is still just in its test phase, but Nokia reckons making mmWave work in urban environments will increase 5G FWA capacity by 5-10x.

“Making indoor, self-installable mmWave FWA viable in an urban indoor environment is crucial for FWA growth,” said Sandy Motley, President of Fixed Networks at Nokia. “The addition of mmWave to the 5G FWA market will deliver the 5 to 10 times more capacity that is needed to support the ever more demanding subscribers and services. I am extremely proud of our Fixed Network team who have notched up yet another technical first.”

Maybe let’s keep the champagne on ice until you launch a viable commercial device, Sandy, but credit is due for getting this far. If we’re being brutally honest, mmWave has been a big disappointment so far with the industry apparently choosing to bury its head in the sand about the well-known propagation challenges. If this development does what is claimed of it, we might finally be on the verge of doing something useful with it, which would be nice.

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One comment

  1. Avatar Kian 12/10/2021 @ 2:03 pm

    I’m not sure that “crank up the power” is the solution. At 5ghZ a single tree can attenuate a signal from 10-20 dbm…..more if it’s a big tree. I don’t know how much power is needed to push a mm wave frequency through a tree but the power levels are where they are now for safety. If the FCC would allow another t
    20 dbm the rural internet problem would have been solved long ago.

    Still, I’m anxious to see what they’ve come up with because I’m sure they’re aware of this.

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