Spark and Nokia trial rural 5G mmWave with PGG Wrightson

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Spark and Nokia trial rural 5G mmWave with PGG Wrightson
Renee Matepare, Spark Technology Evolution Lead

Spark and Nokia have trialled 5G mmWave wireless data connectivity with farm supplier PGG Wrightson at a test site at Mouse Point, North Canterbury.

The trial showed it was possible to reach peak speeds of 2.4 gigabits per second at 3 kilometres range, and 1.4 Gbps at 7 km, Spark said.

Spark and Nokia were able to borrow very high frequency mmWave spectrum from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in the n257 band which is in the 26-27 GIga Hertz range.

5G millimetre wave uses radio requency spectrum above 24 GHz, which provides greater capacity than spectrum in lower ranges, but with substantially lower reach.

As part of Spark's 5G rollout, the telco has been allocated management rights by the government for 60 MHz of mmWave spectrum.

Renée Mataparae, Spark's technology evolution lead, said 5G mmWave will be used for business applications such as ultra-high definition video streaming, analytics, machine learning, e-health, intelliigent transport and education.

Mataparae said Spark is working with other businesses to identify use cases for 5G mmWave, which she said is likely best suited to areas where a high number of users are concentrated, like shopping centres, crowded stadiums and university campuses.

"This trial is the first step in developing 5G mmWave capability as part of our 5G network development," Mataparae said when asked if Spark is planning to use the technology for fixed wireless access networks.

"We are taking a “test and learn” approach to the development of the capability, so our first step is to test the use case with business, to fully understand requirements and potential,” Mataparae told CRN NZ.

PGG Wrightson has a store in Culverden, 6 km away from Mouse Point and wants to use 5G to run its rural operations.

Among the use cases for 5G mmWave PGG Wrightson are testing is streaming livestock auctions in high definition from saleyards and farms.

Nokia AirScale. Source: supplied.

For the trial, Nokia used its commercial AirScale Baseband and mmWave radios, the company's chief technology officer for Australia and New Zealand, Dr Rob Joyce, said.

Update For clarification, the 5G mmWave connection in the trial is fixed wireless access (FWA) and not mobile service. 
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