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UK field trials show potential for 5G Fixed Wireless Access as a fibre-alternative for multichannel TV

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The first UK field trials for 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technology have demonstrated the potential for wireless delivery of video to homes as an alternative to fixed-line multichannel TV, certainly from a simple capacity point of view. The trial has already demonstrated a stable two-way mmWave link with downlink speeds of around 1Gb per second at the CPE (customer premise equipment), allowing for the potential simultaneous streaming of more than 25 UHD/4K channels.

Arqiva and Samsung Electronics are conducting the field trial and video compression specialist ATEME is transcoding the 4K content that is being used to prove the television use case. The company is harnessing its TITAN software-based encoder-transcoder. The video also features HDR (High Dynamic Range), which improves display contrast.

Daniel Borrás, Head of Marketing and Business Strategy at Samsung Networks Europe, says: “One of the goals of this trial is to show the benefits that 5G Fixed Wireless Access can bring to end users. With ATEME’s help we have proven that we can successfully stream multiple high quality 4K HDR channels over a 5G link without any buffering. The speeds provided by 5G enable a level of video quality that puts 5G FWA in the league of high-speed fibre broadband.”

The trial, the first of its kind in Europe, began in July and is scheduled to run until December in central London. It involves the deployment of an end-to-end 5G FWA, operating in the 28GHz band. The trial objectives are to demonstrate the stability of 5G FWA, its market potential as a cost-efficient alternative to fibre, and potential new use cases outside smart device mobile connectivity.

Arqiva provides the infrastructure and mmWave spectrum. Samsung provides an end-to-end 5G system including CPE.

“Arqiva and Samsung’s trial is demonstrating the power of 5G to deliver Gigabit speeds,” declares Jonathan Freeman, Product and Technology Director, Telecoms & M2M at Arqiva. “In due course this will enable end users to access multiple 4K video streams along with a whole range of other high bandwidth content and applications.

“FWA is likely be the first incarnation of 5G technology that people will see and use,” he adds. “Arqiva is excited to be working with Samsung and ATEME to showcase the rapid progress being made in this area.”

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