The millimeter band, the new network that will leave us at the gates of 6G
Thanks to this technology, the connection will improve significantly in situations where browsing or making calls could be torture before.
The first millimeter 5G commercial mobile network in Spain was deployed at the Mobile World Congress, thanks to an agreement between Telefónica, Ericsson, and Qualcomm. It might seem that the fifth-generation network, which has been in Spain since 2019, is already within our reach, but nothing is further from the truth.
There is still a long way to go before network technology works at full capacity. Not only does 5G ‘stand alone’, that is, the native 5G architecture has time to be fully implemented compared to the aggregation of 4G technology that we enjoy now, but also mmWave or millimeter band remains to be implemented.
What is the millimeter band?
The current connectivity infrastructure has certain limitations. We have all witnessed how in places with a high influx of people, the speed and quality of the connection worsens considerably. Concerts, football matches, train stations, and airports are great challenges for the network and if we also take into account the internet of things and all the connected devices that are going to arrive, such as augmented and virtual reality, the problem worsens considerably.
Wifi, at the moment, is not the solution. How many times have we tried to connect to a saturated network in a hotel or at an event, only to realize that it doesn’t work? In addition, we must take into account that, more and more, extended reality, live streaming, autonomous cars, and online games require more and more capacity, not only in download but more in upload and latency, both network characteristics that suffer the most when they are saturated.
The high frequencies of the millimeter band allow for better service and latency, even when the network is saturated, but as a counterpart, they have a shorter range than the low frequencies of 5G, which is why they will be used in specific areas. “The goal is not to get full coverage but to solve the problem of network saturation in a specific area. This also supposes a new business model for the operators, who could offer this service for an additional cost, which will encourage investment to accelerate”, explains Philippe Poggianti, business vice president of the technology company Qualcomm in France, to ABC.
«There is a great commitment in Spain for the millimeter band, and for the liberation of the spectrum. I am sure we will see many commercial implementations shortly”, says, for his part, Douglas Benitez, director of Qualcomm in Spain.
Until now, They were working with bands below 7GHz, the millimeter band goes from 24 GHz to 100 GHz. Governments around the world have taken care to reorganize the allocation of frequencies to accommodate this technology. Philippe Poggianti points out that “in this way a great network capacity is suddenly released, it is as if on a train everyone was in a single wagon, and from one moment to the next, the entire train was available”.
Towns and AVE with good connection
Spain has not been left behind and in December of last year, the band between 25.10 and 27.50 GHz was reorganized and auctioned, which was divided between Orange, Vodafone, and Telefónica. Also, aid has been deployed to accelerate the deployment of the operators, not only of the advanced 5G that will arrive next year, but also the deployment in the railway networks, we all know how the network works on the AVE, and in populations of less of 5,000 inhabitants, thus breaking the digital divide in rural areas. Thanks to this technology, the connection will improve significantly.
We are increasingly connected, and we use services that require a better network, advanced 5G, and the millimeter band will leave us at the gates of 6G. Where is the limit?