With the needs of communications service providers worldwide firmly in mind, Ericsson and partner MediaTek continue to break new technology ground in creating paths to 5G Standalone connectivity. The partners have just proven that Dual Connectivity – combining the wide coverage of sub-6GHz bands with the higher data rates of millimeter wave on commercial hardware and chipsets – boosts 5G user experience with greater speeds and lower latency.
The partners achieved a new milestone by aggregating 800MHz of high-band spectrum and 60MHz of mid-band spectrum to reach speeds of up to 5.1Gbps on an individual user device. This is the first time that millimeter wave (mmWave) has been tested in a 5G Standalone (5G SA) mode combined with mid-band spectrum.
The 5G Dual Connectivity, or New Radio (NR) DC, test was performed in a millimeter wave (mmWave) chamber, sending the signal over-the-air to a device with a MediaTek M80 5G modem. The demo used Ericsson Radio System hardware* and Ericsson’s 5G Core with an IP-flow centric architecture for cost-efficient support of high peak rates.
The demo successfully showed that mmWave can be used robustly in new 5G SA architecture as the connection resides in both mmWave and mid-band spectrum. This will enable higher uplink and downlink data rates for 5G SA than currently deployed. NR DC supports the evolution of high-performance, latency-sensitive applications for consumers and enterprises. It will help pave the way for new innovative use cases for mobile broadband and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), such as gaming and immersive media.
Hannes Ekstrom, Head of Product Line 5G RAN, Ericsson, says: “This 5G technology breakthrough with our partner MediaTek is the direct result of our efforts to meet the evolving connectivity needs of our customers worldwide. We believe that New Radio Dual Connectivity will be a very appealing option to many customers globally as part of their 5G Standalone deployment strategies. It will enable millimeter wave in the multi-layer network with speeds of over 5Gbps. Greater capacity and coverage – combined with SA capabilities such as ultra-low latency – will push the boundaries of 5G technology that will benefit consumers and industry.”
JS Pan, General Manager of Wireless Communication System and Partnership, MediaTek, says: “Through this close collaboration with Ericsson, MediaTek has successfully demonstrated the future-proof capability of its M80 5G modem. NR Dual Connectivity is one of the latest 5G technology developments that will directly contribute to next generation 5G services, growing capacity, performance and enabling innovative new use-cases across business, industry and consumer ecosystems.”
With NR DC, end users will benefit from higher data rates in both downlink and uplink. As the throughput is aggregated, this also presents a significant coverage increase. The advantages of increased speeds and coverage are in addition to the low latency, improved security, and network slicing capabilities that 5G SA already enables.
NR DC is enabled by the signaling and high peak rate support in Ericsson’s 5G Core, 5G radio access network (Ericsson Radio System) and user equipment (UE), such as the MediaTek M80 modem. Ericsson will release the NR DC functionality commercially during the third business quarter of 2021.
*RAN products used in the demo: AIR 6449 (sub-6GHz) and Streetmacro 6701 (mmWave)
Cloud native 5G Core products used in the demo: Ericsson Packet Core Controller and Packet Core Gateway