from the G-G-G-G-G dept.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has a plan to free up spectrum for 5G wireless service.
The Federal Communications Commission next month will vote on a proposal to help identify and free up wireless spectrum at very high frequencies that could be used to power fifth-generation, or 5G, cellular networks. The agency will do as it did with the development of 4G LTE and stay out of the way of industry innovators as they define and develop 5G technology, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in announcing the proposal Monday.
"Turning innovators loose is far preferable to expecting committees and regulators to define the future," he said. "Instead, we will make ample spectrum available and then rely on a private sector-led process for producing technical standards best suited for those frequencies and use cases."
[...] 5G speeds could be 10 to 100 times higher than those of today's 4G networks. Even though standards for 5G have yet to be developed, the technology is expected to enable everything from self-driving cars to remote surgeries done via robots to school field trips through the human body made possible by virtual reality gear.
The hype around 5G has been building over the past year, with wireless operators like AT&T and Verizon already demonstrating the technology and promising a limited service roll out as soon as this year.
The FCC's proposal to free up additional spectrum is the first step in a long process to make sure wireless operators get the airwaves they need to make these services a reality. The chairman's promise to take a hands-off approach in developing policy is a welcome signal to wireless operators that the government won't be a roadblock.
[...] Very high frequency spectrum known as millimeter waves are key to the development of 5G because these frequencies can carry large amounts of data and transfer signals with low latency -- that is, with minimal delay. But there are technical challenges in using this spectrum. Signals transmitted over very high frequencies can only travel short distances and have difficulty penetrating obstacles, which makes designing such networks tricky.
Some of the spectrum that could be used for 5G is currently used for satellite communications and for navigation services like GPS. As part of this proposal, the FCC will work with satellite providers to ensure the spectrum can be shared with wireless broadband companies that want to use it to build terrestrial 5G networks.
Intel last week announced that its first commercial 5G modem, the XMM 8060, is now under development and will ship in a couple of years. As part of the announcement, the company reiterated its plans to offer a top-to-bottom XMM 8000 family of 5G modems for various applications, including smartphones, PCs, buildings and vehicles. In addition, the company announced its XMM 7660 Cat-19 LTE modem that supports download speeds of up to 1.6 Gbps, which will be available in 2019.
At present, Intel's 5G Mobile Trial Platform is used to test 5G technologies in different locations around the world. For example, one of such devices installed aboard the Tallink Silja Europa cruise ship is used to enable Internet connectivity to passengers while in port in Tallinn, Estonia, (where another 5G MTP is installed) and the nearby area. Meanwhile, Intel's 5G Modem for client applications is evolving as well. Intel said that devices powered by the silicon can now make calls over the 28 GHz band. The 5G MTP will be used for its purposes for a while and will even gain new capabilities over time, but the company is working on a family of commercial modems that will be used for mass applications sometimes in 2019 and onwards. The Intel XMM 8000-series multi-mode modems will operate in both sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave global spectrum bands, combining support for existing and next-gen radios. Intel does detail the whole lineup two years before the launch but indicates that it will be able to address smartphones, PCs, vehicles, and fixed wireless consumer premise equipment (CPE).
Previously: ITU Defines "5G" as up to 20 Gbps, 2018 Olympics Demo Planned
5G Gets a Shot in the Arm From the FCC
3GPP Sets 2018 as Freeze Date for 5G Air Interfaces
5G Draft Technical Requirements Announced