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5G NR Field Testing Solution

White Papers

mmWave Challenge in 5G NR

5G NR deployments are planned predominantly on the 3.5 GHz range and the 28-39 GHz range. Both frequency ranges are new to the cellular network industry. Particularly the mm-wave frequencies (> 28 GHz) have different propagation characteristics compared to the lower frequencies traditionally used in cellular networks. mmWave signal blockage is much higher compared to lower frequencies. On the other hand, the higher frequencies are highly reflective compared to lower frequencies, providing alternative angles of arrival in case of line of sight blockage.

The free space loss of signals of different frequencies is well understood, but measurements will be needed to understand the pathloss in different real-life environments. This information in turn is needed in link budget calculation and signal propagation model tuning. Link budget is the key input for estimating the 5G NR RAN CAPEX investments as it directly impacts the number of 5G NR base stations needed in an area. Propagation models are used in the radio network planning tool and the models need to be tuned for the characteristics of the new frequency ranges to improve the accuracy of the planning.

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