5G Fixed Wireless Access (2023)

By Mikko Jarvela, Nokia; Harri Holma, Nokia

5G radio with the new frequency bands such as C-band provides significant capacity through increased bandwidth and higher spectral efficiency potential with mMIMO. This high capacity can be efficiently utilized by Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) customers. The high radio efficiency is important for FWA services because typical FWA customers consume more data than mobile customers. The need for a 5G FWA service is high in many markets because the fiber rollouts are expensive and take time, and because 4G LTE radio capacity is typically too limited for a FWA service. This white paper analyses 5G radio capacity, the impact of device and end-to-end optimization, the benefits to FWA provided by network slicing, and the usage of millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum in FWA applications. The field results show that 5G radio with 100 MHz spectrum can support more than 100 FWA subscribers per cell. The experience also shows that the device (Customer Premises Equipment, CPE) and end-to-end optimization can boost FWA performance. Further capacity and even higher data rates can be provided with 5G mmWave. Existing base station sites with mmWave can offload up to 50% of sub-6 GHz traffic. The default radio scheduler implementation does not differentiate between data services (eMBB vs. FWA) but with slicing, scheduling weights and radio resource partition can be separately optimized per service. With slicing, low-latency features can be also applied and optimized selectively for FWA service. A 5G FWA service allows mobile operators to efficiently monetize their current excess 5G TDD radio capacity without waiting for a 5G core network and standalone architecture for other new use cases. 5G FWA is an untapped capability offered by 5G radio which can be monetized today.

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