A year after rolling out 5G networks in the U.S., the major telecom carriers continue to make progress toward offering standalone (SA) 5G with its full toolbox of benefits.
For all of 2019, carriers have had to offer a kind of hybrid version of 5G that has been dependent on 4G architecture already in place. Later this year dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) will be appearing. This technology will allow the deployment of both 4G LTE and 5G NR in the same frequency band and dynamically allocates spectrum resources between the two technologies based on user demand.
With DSS, an operator doesn’t have to split that mid-band spectrum or have a dedicated spectrum for either 4G LTE or 5G. Instead, they can share that 20 MHz of spectrum between the two technologies.
Dynamic spectrum sharing is widely viewed as a key short-term enabler of scaling out 5G networks quickly, rather than the slow, expensive process of re-farming spectrum from one generation connectivity technology to the next.
DSS lets operators operate LTE and 5G NR in the same band at the same time. Ericsson is the only vendor with a commercial product and the company said last month that 80% of its customers testing the solution, plan to deploy in the next 12 months.
What actually happens is that based on the information about the devices and their demands and their load levels and amount of data in the buffer, the network decides how much spectrum should be given to 4G and 5G users in every Transmission Time Internal, in every millisecond. Millisecond sharing is key.
DSS and the 5G Transition
Aside from the scale aspect, DSS also helps ease the transition from non-standalone 5G networks to standalone 5G simply by providing a coverage layer before a core transition. In other words, dynamic spectrum sharing accelerates and expands the 5G roll out instantly because there’s no need to do re-farming.
With DSS, carriers can immediately get 5G deployed into the legacy 4G bands.
5G brings three new aspects to the table: bigger channels (to speed up data), lower latency (to be more responsive), and the ability to connect a lot more devices at once (for sensors and smart devices).
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