It is hoped that the faster speeds and greater capacity of 5G will make FWA a genuine alternative to fixed broadband for people in areas of poor connectivity. A FWA router connects directly to a mobile network using high capacity spectrum and creates a local Wi-Fi network.
The partners tested out various entertainment services such as 4K UHD and Virtual Reality (VR) streaming as well as smart city applications and smart camera platforms in the Cluj region.
5G FWA trial
The trial used 26GHz millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum, massive MIMO antenna technology and beamforming to achieve the speeds and also tested out various 5G access units.
To deliver the ultra-low latency that 5G promises, mobile operators will need to virtualise their infrastructure so they can move various network functions closer to the edge. Other virtualisation technologies tested in Romania included Samsung’s virtualised Radio Access Network (vRAN)
“Thanks to this first successful test of 5G Fixed Wireless Access in the 26 GHz band, Orange has been able to verify several use cases enabled by this technology,” declared Arnaud Vamparys, Orange’s head of Radio Networks and Microwaves. “We can now better understand the way in which this technology works in real usage environments in order to complement wireline solutions. This is a major step in driving forward the development of 5G in Europe and Africa.”
“With 5G we have the opportunity to help service providers like Orange broaden their portfolios to deliver new levels of connected experiences for consumers, businesses and governments,” added Yvette Kanouff, head of Cisco’s service provider business.
“Our work with Samsung and Orange on this project is a great example of how we are enabling an innovation eco-system to test and deliver a broad range of 5G services that will offer the communities in Romania faster connections to more devices and applications that make their lives better.”
The first 5G network in the world is expected to go live in the US later this year but without commercial devices to use it, FWA will be the first consumer application. The first UK 5G networks are set to launch in 2020 and Three has already stated its ambitions to offer a FWA service having acquired Relish last year.
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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.