Armed with a minivan, Japanese mobile carrier takes steps towards 5G

A van, a plan and 5G

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As more and more users adopt cell phones and smartphones using 4G networks, the bandwith is becoming more and more clogged.

Anticipating the next leap in network coverage, Japan's NTT DoCoMo mobile operator teamed with the Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIT) to conduct the first 10Gbps wireless test.

The study went down in December, and used a mobile station (i.e. - a van loaded with equipment) to attempt transmission in the 400MHz bandwidth of the 11GHz spectrum.

Using some two dozen different antennas, NTT and TIT were able to maintain an uplink rate of 10Gbps while traveling at a consistent speed on the road.

Like a 5G

NTT DoCoMo is hoping to run more tests uploading at 10Gbps on the 5Ghz (5G) "superhigh frequency band," despite that wavelength being troublesome for wireless transmissions.

Superhigh frequency bands don't typically allow signals to travel over long distances, and become even more unreliable when trying to transmit in and around buildings.

Lower frequencies (like 3G, 4G, and 4G LTE) have been the preferred method for mobile carriers to this point precisely for that reason, but NTT has reason to suspect it will be able to find a solution.

It's unlikely 5G will become readily available any time soon, so those of you who just upgraded to 4G or 4G LTE networks won't have to worry about being outpaced just yet.

The future applications remain a mystery pending further testing, but NTT's research could provide insight into a whole new way for data to be transmitted from mobile devices in a few years.