EU-Japan project RAPID5G brings 5G to the public

August 4, 2017

Very recently, in July 2017, the RAPID5G ( project demonstrated the first publicly accessible live demonstration of its 60 GHz 5G technology.

Schematic illustration of the installed RAPID5G infrastructure.

One of the key use cases of the next, i.e. the 5th, mobile generation is enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), which is driven by the consumers‘ ever increasing usage of mobile data. The RAPID5G consortium has identified the key performance indicators required to support eMBB and to provide best user experience and highest data rates in crowded areas.

On July 12th, RAPID5G demonstrated its new 5G technology for the first time in a public space under real-life conditions. The developed RAPID5G mobile environment enables interoperability between heterogeneous mobile technologies including LTE, WiFi and 60 GHz 5G. Thereby, all mobile technologies are supported by a centralized fiber-optic fronthaul network. In addition to eMBB, the RAPID5G system also supports “hot spot” use cases allowing users in dense areas to download multimedia content or providing wireless connectivity e.g. for virtual reality (VR) glasses.

Customer experiencing 8K 360° VR streaming supported by the RAPID5G hot spot technology.

Interoperability is an important feature, as the new 5G technology cannot just replace legacy solutions, but has to coexist with older mobile generations. RAPID5G uses mobile IP techniques to enhance user experience by providing seamless handover between the different wireless technologies. In the public showcase, the mobile IP home agent automatically switches the data traffic to the best available service between WiFi, LTE and 60 GHz 5G. This way, connection loss is prevented and downtime due to network registering is vastly reduced.

For the public showcase, the Blue City shopping mall in Warsaw has been connected to a remote data center using a 11 km long dark fiber. In the shopping mall, a distributed antenna system is employed to provide connectivity between the server room of the shopping mall and the various antennas sites in the public area of the shopping mall. For being able to provide real LTE traffic to the customers, the RAPID5G consortium has been supported by a major Polish telecom operator who providing an LTE base station.

Mason Lange, Matthias Steeg, Michał Kościesza and Andrzej Szczypawka (from left to right) from UDE and Exatel showing RAPID5G’s over 800 Mbit/s mobile data rate in the shopping mall.

During the showcase, horizontal handover between WiFi, LTE, and 60 GHz 5G as well as vertical handover between different 5G cells was shown to customers and journalists. When the mobile user is connected to the RAPID5G 5G technology, the download rate could be increased to beyond 800 Mbit/s. It is important to mention that the employed RAPID5G 60 GHz technology provides beam-steering, i.e. the 60 GHz antenna is highly directive and the beam can follow the user.

In addition, the RAPID5G consortium has developed the technology for a 5G 60 GHz video hotspot supporting cell capacities beyond 6 Gbit/s. In the public show case, the hot spot infrastructure provided small cell coverage to multiple users using steerable and directive 60 GHz beams, e.g. for downloading multimedia content or streaming uncompressed real-time videos. Other applications of this hot spot technology include wireless access e.g. in trains, airports or other congested indoor areas as well as wireless connectivity e.g. to TV screens (wireless beamer) or virtual rerality (VR) glasses. During the showcase, the customers and journalists could experience an 8K 360° VR headset that was connected wirelessly via the RAPID5G 60 GHz mobile service.

Contact: Andreas Stöhr

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 643297.