Nokia hits record speeds of 3Gbps with Sprint 5G and an AirScale software update

(Image credit: Nokia)

Working with Sprint 5G, Nokia has announced that it reached a 5G milestone by increasing capacity to 3Gbps without any need for additional hardware.

The record speeds were achieved via a software upgrade on Nokia’s commercial AirScale solution (operators usually use two radios for LTE and 5G, however, for this test Nokia used a single AirScale unit). In a lab test speeds of up to 3Gbps downlink were achieved. 

The test was performed using Sprint 5G with a software upgrade of E-UTRAN New Radio - Dual Connectivity (EN-DC) and Multi-User-Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO). 

Increase network capacity

"This test is an important milestone as it will help operators to vastly increase capacity now and in the future."

Tommi Uitto, Nokia.

When the service is made commercially available, it will enable 5G networks to make major increases to their network capacity, and all via a software update, with no need to invest in additional spectrum.

“This is the latest achievement from our long-standing relationship with Sprint,” said Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks, Nokia. “The demand for 4G and 5G mobile data continues to rise exponentially and this impacts network capacity. This test is an important milestone as it will help operators to vastly increase capacity now and in the future, helping to deliver excellent customer experiences while keeping costs to a minimum.” 

The test, which utilized Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum as well as commercial devices such as hotspots, employed Massive MIMO to achieve 16 layers of MU-MIMO to deliver up to four times the total downlink cell throughput. 

Typically MIMO consists of 2 layers of network capacity. Massive MIMO, which was invented by Nokia Bell Labs, considerably multiplies the capacity of a wireless connection without requiring additional spectrum. And Nokia’s AirScale Dual Mode Massive MIMO for 5G and LTE solution was used to deliver multi-gigabit cell downlink throughput. 

Nokia and Sprint have launched 5G service in areas of four cities in the U.S, which are New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Phoenix.

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(Image credit: Future)
Dan Oliver

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.