Although many countries around the world have struggled to get 4G widely available, Samsung has claimed it has made a major breakthrough at the core of 5G, the next generation of mobile communications.
Samsung claimed in its Tomorrow Works blog that it has built the world's first adaptive array transceiver to work in the millimeter-wave Ka bands for mobile communications. This breakthrough, the company boasted, should eventually lead to data transmission "up to several hundred times faster" than existing 4G, LTE networks.
Although the technology is a number of years off before it begins to become available, 5G should let subscribers enjoy data transmission speeds of up to several tens of Gbps per base station, Samsung claims. In simple terms, on an unclogged network, this means ultra speedy downloads, wirelessly.
To successfully run a 5G cellular network, a large range of frequencies are required. Samsung pointed out that the technology community was skeptical about using millimetre-wave bands over long distances. But the company says its latest breakthrough has proved successful - with the transceiver able to transmit data through the millimetre-wave band at a frequency of 28 GHz, at a speed of up to 1 Gbps, with a reach of up to 2 kilometres.
By using 64 antenna elements, Samsung said its adaptive array transceiver offers a possible way to get around radio propagation losses at the millimetre wave bands.
Samsung is confident it will be able to utilise the adaptive array transceiver at millimetre wave bands, along with other 5G technologies, to a commercial level by 2020. This will be in line with European Union investment targets, also set at 2020, to be well en route to delivering usable 5G technology.
Much of the world still relies on 3G networks, including in countries where 4G is available, so although the lofty goal of reaching usable 5G by 2020 is of interest, it may be significantly later before the technology drips down to the consumer level.