An industry first, Nokia has successfully completed a series of Over-the-Air (OTA) 5G NR trials in C-band spectrum, in Dallas, Texas. The drive tests, which achieved stable peak throughput speeds of over 1 Gbps, confirmed that Nokia is ready for commercial deployment ahead of the U.S. C-band spectrum auction in December.
The C-band, between 3.4 GHz and 4.2 GHz, will be prime spectrum for providing leading-edge 5G services in the U.S., especially when combined with already deployed network infrastructure and spectrum bands via TDD/FDD Carrier Aggregation and other interworking features.
The demonstration was performed using Nokia’s AirScale 5G base station equipment that is an industry-leading, commercial end-to-end 5G system enabling operators globally to capitalize on all their 5G spectrum assets (from 600 MHz to 39 GHz). It offers massive capacity scaling and market-leading latency and connectivity by enabling all air-interface technologies on the same radio access equipment. The setup utilized 100 MHz of spectrum at 3.75 GHz with a 4x4 MIMO and configuration in Non-Standalone (NSA) mode combined with Nokia’s Core network. During drive testing, Nokia monitored network performance and demonstrated that the ‘handovers’ successfully happened between C-band base stations as expected. The connection and performance was stable throughout the entire test, highlighting the robustness of the system and its readiness for commercial implementation.
Nokia’s C-band solution is based on its AirScale 5G RF products. It has a full portfolio of 3.5 GHz offerings, including 64TRX and 32TRX massive MIMO for extreme capacity; 8T8R radios for deployable coverage; a 4T4R micro RRH for street level and venue deployments; and an indoor pico RRH to provide extensive in-building coverage. Nokia is already shipping each of these products in high volumes to leading carriers around the world. The difference between these global systems and the systems needed for the U.S. C-band are the hardware changes needed to match the exact frequency range and country specific RF requirements. These adaptions are low technical risk based on Nokia’s already commercial platforms, including its own ReefShark System on Chip (SoC) technologies.