KT claims to be 'industry-first' in developing open 5G beamforming base station in 28GHz band

By Lim Chang-won Posted : October 17, 2019, 13:46 Updated : October 17, 2019, 13:46

[Aju News DB]

SEOUL -- South Korea's top telecom company KT has developed the world's first open 5G beamforming base station in the 28GHz band through cooperation with Movandi, a U.S. 5G startup, and Solid, a domestic technology company. Beam-forming is possible between equipment made by different companies.

Beamforming has been linked only between digital wireless equipment of same manufacturers until now, but KT said it is now possible among equipment from different manufacturer by standardizing complicated beamform interlocking procedures based on open base station specifications of the ORAN Alliance, a global carrier-led effort to drive new levels of openness in the radio access network of 5G wireless systems.

"The introduction of open base stations will enable the 5G ecosystem in South Korea to speed up innovation in wireless networks and provide solutions for 5G businesses that are specialized in the needs of various companies," KT's Infra Laboratory head Lee Sun-woo said.

At a demonstration at Movandi's research center in California earlier this month, KT confirmed that 5G coverage can be extended by more than twice in 28GHz band by forming and providing beams to desired users every 0.000125 seconds, which is the minimum transmission unit of 5G.

Beamforming technology focuses power to desired users to form beams, expand coverage and increase speed in the 28GHz band. Due to the high propagation loss of the millimeter wavelengths (mmWaves) plus the high bandwidth demands of users, beamforming and massive Multiple Input and Multiple Output (MIMO) are critical for increasing spectral efficiencies and providing cost-effective, reliable coverage.

MIMO uses antennas at each end of the communications circuit. Massive MIMO is a system with a high number of antennas that makes it far more resistant to interference and intentional jamming than standard MIMO networks which use two or four antennas. The 5G era needs Massive MIMO’s ability to serve multiple users simultaneously in a condensed area while maintaining fast data rates and consistent performance.

Millimeter wave (mmWave) is the band of spectrum between 30 gigahertz (GHz) and 300 GHz. 26 GHz and 28 GHz have emerged as two of the most important bands in the 5G offerings. It can transmit a lot of data but only for a short distance.

Solid was in charge of developing wireless equipment that reflects KT's open 5G base station standards, and Movandi applied 28GHz 5G beamforming antenna technology to wireless equipment based on KT's open interlock standards.

Movandi introduced its BeamXR technology that supports systems deployed in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz spectrum bands. Movandi’s technology has some similarities to wireless repeaters, which are used to extend or boost the signal strength of wireless systems, but BeamXR actually manipulates the beam so that it can be widened or narrowed or even bend around obstacles.

Movandi says that BeamXR can solve some of the challenges of mmWave spectrum such as extending coverage while still maintaining low latency and also overcoming some of the spectrum band's line-of-sight issues. By extending the range of mmWave signals, operators that use BeamXR could reduce the number of base stations and small cells needed to cover an area and lower their deployment costs.

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