Samsung's 5G radio units are just one of its initiatives on the road to 5G.
TechRepublic's Macy Bayern talked with Derek Johnston, head of marketing and 5G development at Samsung, at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Los Angeles about Samsung's next generation of 5G radio. The following is an edited transcript of the conversation.
Derek Johnston: At Samsung, we've been developing 5G for well over a decade. We were one of the earlier entrances in terms of looking at millimeter wave for 5G business development and seeing how we could leverage that spectrum for the coming 5G standard. We developed a task force across our businesses from semiconductor to device to network to come together and say, "OK, how can we leverage this valuable spectrum?" Which is kind of one of the only areas globally that we could really take advantage of the coming 5G standard. Then, how do we commercialize this solution? And so, having that breadth of understanding at the semiconductor level, but also the experiences with devices and with radio infrastructure, has really kind of given us an advanced capability in terms of actual commercial developments. That's been one of the reasons why we've been able to capture a lot of the early 5G commercial network developments.
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The major announcement that we made here at MWC LA was we introduced our next generation of 5G radio, which is this integrated access unit. With this next generation of radio, we were able to take what essentially was two components—a radio unit and a digital unit or the base band unit—and combine them into a single form factor. The significance of that is it greatly helps operators more quickly deploy. Essentially, they can put this thing up on street furniture, like a light post or on the side of a building. It's very fiber-conservative, so you eliminate the need for fiber connection between a radio and a digital unit. It's also a higher-capacity unit, so it's also providing for greater throughput for end users: Ten gigabits per second of complete throughput.
It's a really powerful radio that we think is going to help operators really deploy a lot faster and more cost-effectively. There's been a lot of discussion around that, and I think people look at it and say, "OK, well, how much more can I potentially do?"
I think from a device perspective, there's all sorts of really interesting kinds of entertainment. If you're in video consumption or augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications that are really, really compelling, that I think people are starting to see. We just did an activation: Dallas Cowboys with an AR-based application.
You're starting to see that kind of content that's capable with 5G to make more interesting and immersive use cases, both in venues and at home, whether you're viewing a game or a concert or what have you.
I think that's one area. I think another area where, again, where you see kind of immediate benefits to 5G, once we start to get to broader network availability will be things like telehealth. It'll have real impact on folks' lives. I need a doctor, but I might be in a rural area, I can connect to the doctor and I can actually have the doctors look at a rash or cut and say what kind of medical care I need, or do I need to go to the hospital immediately? Do I not? I think there's a variety of different use cases out there that people will start to activate and see and find really, really compelling.
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