Are you ready for some exciting news in the world of 5G technology? The latest release from 3GPP, the organization that puts together the 5G specification, has some significant changes that are sure to enhance industrial workspaces. Release 17, which has been out since October 2022, focuses on enhancing the mmWave spectrum, an essential bandwidth used by 3GPP. This isn’t a small upgrade - this update adds about 1/5 more spectrum-use than previous releases, which translates to a massive increase in data capacity.
What is mmWave?
But let's back up for a second - what exactly is mmWave, you might be wondering? In short, it's the frequency bands in the 24 GHz to 300 GHz range. Release 17 enhances the mmWave spectrum, called FR2-2, to use the 52.6 to 71 GHz range. This means that 5G networks will be able to handle even more data, which is great news for anyone who relies on lightning-fast internet speeds.
One of the most exciting things about this update is that the mmWave spectrum is in a higher part of the spectrum, which limits its use to closer range. But don't let that fool you - with the help of beamforming technology, the range capacity is significantly increased compared to your standard 3.5 GHz range. Beamforming can be used in several ways to improve coverage, network efficiency, and reduce interference, making 5G networks even more reliable than before.
How is the number of frequency bands related to data capacity?
Think of a frequency as a cable channel, it provides video (think video is data) 24/7. If you add another frequency, you're adding several different cable channels, and significantly increasing the amount of data passed.
How much Bandwidth will this increase, and how much data could be passed?
So, how much data are we talking about here? The FR2-2 update adds almost 18 GHz in new bandwidth, which is a significant increase. And since the bandwidth is within a range of usable high frequency, it's perfect for places like stadiums, docks, train depots, and large factory floors. The FR2-2 5G NR specification provides enhanced features for use cases that require ultra-low latency and ultra-high throughput. This means that it includes features such as frequency division duplex (FDD) and time division duplex (TDD) operation, support for Massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) antenna arrays, beamforming, and beam tracking. It also supports multiple access technologies, such as Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and Non-Orthogonal Multiple Access (NOMA).
How are AGVs a natural fit for the higher mmWave spectrum technology?
One of the most exciting use cases for the higher mmWave spectrum technology is Autonomously Guided Vehicles (AGVs). AGVs require much effort to engineer, commission, and maintain due to the amount of control done in the vehicle itself. By creating a pathway to low latency data, much of the control can be done externally, making the AGV more agile and cost-effective. The distance AGVs typically go is within the range of a mmWave antenna and switching can be coordinated to allow for switching over long distances.
So, there you have it - the latest release from 3GPP is set to revolutionize the world of 5G technology, particularly when it comes to mmWave enhancement for the industrial workplace. With the FR2-2 update, we can expect even faster internet speeds, more reliable networks, and exciting use cases like AGVs. It's a brave new world out there, and we can't wait to see what's next!
Want more information when it comes to 5G? Check out our white paper on 5G in the Factory.