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Operators, academia, and telecommunications trade organizations gathered in Washington, D.C., on October 10 to discuss the future of fifth-generation mobile networks at the DC5G Summit. The discussion centered on the requirements for optimal 5G deployment, shared networks, and options for rural communities.
Chris Pearson, president of industry trade organization 5G Americas, said the first 5G standard is expected to be completed by 2018. He said the critical ingredients for the success of 5G are spectrum and network densification, as bands with shorter reach will be required.
Preston Marshall, principal wireless architect with Alphabet Inc.'s Google Access, presented a shared-networks idea in which a neutral host would manage the core network. The idea was focused on indoor networks and would require the ability to switch seamlessly from one technology to another, such as from LTE to Wi-Fi. He said such a model could reduce deployment costs; allow the neutral host, such as a hotel, to generate additional revenues from interconnection fees; and reduce CapEx for mobile network operators. Kalpak Gude, president of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, took the conversation one step further with the idea of shared spectrum. He pointed to the three-tiered Citizens Broadband Radio Service, in which traffic is sorted by priority, as a possible inspiration.
Jill Canfield, assistant general counsel at NTCA — The Rural Broadband Association, said affordable access to spectrum is necessary for 5G deployment in rural communities. She said that the current license system would not work for rural communities due to low population density. Canfield said that for 5G to reach rural communities, it is essential to give small providers access to licenses for small areas.
Derek Johnston, head of marketing for networks at Samsung, announced that the company teamed up with Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc. to test 5G technologies in the U.S. They are testing a range of 25 meters to 400 meters in Arlington, Va., achieving 1.2 Gbps throughput with more than four devices connected. He also mentioned the company was able to stream 4K video simultaneously on multiple TVs without loss of quality. Vinay Narayan, executive director of virtual reality at HTC VIVE, said 5G will open up possibilities for virtual reality as well.
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