by Salil Sawhney & Andreas Gladisch
TIP project group feature: mmWave networks
This month, we are featuring the TIP mmWave Networks project group and providing a detailed look at the work the group is doing to define and advance wireless networking solutions that utilize millimeter-wave spectrum (~30 to 300 GHz). The goal of this group is to address the constantly growing demand for bandwidth by delivering gigabits of capacity more quickly, easily and cost-effectively compared to fiber deployments.
Co-chaired by Deutsche Telekom and Facebook, the group has gained momentum since its initiation in September 2017 and the TIP Community is excited for the year ahead for the group.
Background on mmWave networks
The first half of 2019 has been extremely busy for the project group. In February at MWC in Barcelona, YTL Communications announced the first large-scale market trial in Asia. The pilot in George Town (Penang, Malaysia) is intended to validate mmWave technology in a real-world environment and will last for a total of 6 months. YTL also announced plans to formally explore TIP-supported mmWave technologies as a possible last-mile solution for their network.
The project group also continued to evolve its scope by kicking off a Smart City Connectivity track. The track will define smart city connectivity requirements for the mmWave spectrum from the perspectives of service providers, municipalities, public services, and other interested parties. The track will propose specifications and develop proofs of concept to demonstrate how smart city services can be delivered more effectively and at lower cost.
Lastly, the group participated in TIP Regional Summits held in LATAM and APAC in June 2019 and engaged with new potential partners in the regions.
Community engagement in APAC/LATAM
The TIP Regional Summits in São Paulo and Singapore generated new interest and created solid momentum for TIP initiatives in the LATAM and APAC regions. We expanded the TIP community by attracting new partners from different segments of the telecom industry and strengthened engagement with existing TIP members in the region. Additionally, the events gave greater visibility to innovations being developed locally and helped accelerate several TIP initiatives that should land in the near future.
At both events, the mmWave Networks project group highlighted deep dives into the project group activities, focusing on industry and academic channel modeling activities in LATAM and an engaging panel discussion between YTL and industry representatives all coming out in support of mmWave networks to expand connectivity where traditional network solutions are not viable. The panel also emphasized the need to educate regulators about mmWave networks.
For more information on these events, read this blog from TIP Executive Director Attilio Zani.
Channel Sounder Program
In late 2018, the project group created the Channel Sounder Program with the goal of supporting the characterization of the mmWave radio channel. In early 2019, the project group began collecting applications from TIP member organizations who had both experience performing radio link measurements and scientific or academic interest in millimeter wave systems. As part of the application process, interested organizations agreed to perform a standard set of measurements along with their own proposed unique set of tests and agree to contribute the data to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) database, an open forum that can be freely accessed by the public. The results of these tests will facilitate crucial development and contribute to the global knowledge base of millimeter wave channel characteristics. Participants are developing white papers and other publications that document new use cases, applications, and propagation characteristics of the 60 GHz band. In H2 2019, the program will work to create a Channel Propagation Model for Urban Outdoor Environment at 60 GHz.
To date we have received initial channel sounding measurements from 6 of the program participants. The measurement results are available to project group members on Workplace.
The project group is engaged in both field and lab trials to continue validating the use of mmWave technology.
TIP member Sprint is currently conducting a trial for Cellular Backhaul to validate the Terragraph™ mesh network as a backhaul solution for LTE small cells. Preliminary benchmarking has been completed and a formal white paper of results is planned for publication by TIP in H2 2019.
TIP members Claro and CPQD are working on a joint lab trial with Terragraph™. A 9 node network has been set up on the CPQD campus in Campinas, Brazil to validate the performance. The CPQD team is also testing the system performance over different tunneling protocols to understand its impact on the data rate and other KPIs. A formal white paper describing the test cases and the results is planned for publication in H2 2019.
Millimeter wave (mmWave) bands are attractive because of their higher capacity. This is due to larger channel bandwidth and the use of narrow transmission beams. 3GPP has developed standards for the next generation 5G New Radio (NR) in the licensed 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands. In addition, the IEEE has developed the 802.11ad and 802.11ay standards for the 60 GHz band. A key driver for the 60 GHz band is the abundance of unlicensed spectrum around the world.
Telecom Infra Project (TIP) has released two new white papers exploring mmWave bands. The first of these show the results of testing the performance of both 28 GHz and 60 GHz bands, side-by-side, in the same environment and the impact of a variety of materials on signal loss through absorption and reflection.
The second paper highlights the potential for Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) deployments in the 60 GHz band, leveraging techniques such as beam-sweeping and beam-steering to improve network efficiency.
Both papers give valuable insights to anyone looking at deployments using these technologies. To find out more, download the papers on the mmWave website.
Deutsche Telekom RFI results
In October 2018, Deutsche Telekom announced the issuance of an RFI for 60 GHz Fixed Wireless technology. The results of the RFI were shared with the TIP community and publicly at our Regional Summit in Singapore in June 2019, further advancing progress toward gigabit connectivity.
In the coming weeks, the project group will focus on defining the roadmap and timeline for the Smart City Connectivity track, beginning with a working session. If you are interested in learning more about anything mentioned in this blog, or in getting involved in the project group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about mmWave Networks here: https://mmwave.telecominfraproject.com.
To join the mmWave Networks project group, click here.
 Terragraph™ is a Facebook technology