Ericsson tests 5G drone with China Mobile


Hoping to create a flying 5G network for emergency situations

A prototype field trial with a 5G drone has been conducted by Ericsson with China Mobile, in a bid to create a low latency, distributed 5G network.

Ericsson stated that this technology could be used for mission-critical applications such as support for emergency services, if low latency could be guaranteed by the operator’s network to ensure the safety and reliability of such services.

Conducted on China Mobile’s network in Wuxi in China’s Jiangsu province, the drone was flown using the operator’s mobile network with 5G-enabled technologies. It conducted handovers across multiple sites. The handovers were performed between sites which were simultaneously in use by commercial mobile phone users, to prove the test’s real-world potential.

The drone trial has been conducted as part of a step towards 5G networks in which part of a network can be distributed and dynamically deployed at the cellular edge. This is in order to reduce end to end latency, and to serve a range of 5G use cases as well.

Ericsson and China Mobile have collaborated under the banner of the China National Key 5G Project since the beginning of this year, focusing on user-centric 5G network architecture evolution; reducing latency for mission critical use cases by dynamically deploying part of a network through distributed cloud close to the radio edge is one of the aims of the project.

Chris Houghton, head of region Northeast Asia at Ericsson, said: “With commercial implementation expected from 2020, Ericsson’s 5G research is coming out of the labs and into live test networks. We see tremendous opportunities in 5G, and we are mobilising the ecosystem and collaborating with industry leaders such as China Mobile to help make 5G a reality.”

China Mobile and Ericsson showcased this 5G demo at Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2016.


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