Verizon, Corning and Samsung complete trials of new indoor cell sites to extend 5G coverage

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Karen Schulz

Indoor cell sites are a critical step in developing private 5G networks

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WEST LAKE, TX – Verizon has recently completed lab trials with Corning and begun lab trials with Samsung on new 5G mmWave in-building solutions which, when commercially launched, will provide 5G mmWave coverage inside facilities such as hospitals, manufacturing facilities, warehouses, schools, ports, retail stores and more. The launch of these indoor cell sites will not only extend the footprint of Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network, but will also bring the promise of private networks with Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) capabilities one step closer.

“An indoor cell site brings the benefits of mmWave 5G - high throughput, great capacity, high reliability and the ability for a large number of users to simultaneously use robust data applications - indoors where it may be more difficult for signals from our outside 5G network to penetrate,” said Adam Koeppe, Senior Vice President of Technology Planning and Development at Verizon.

In-building solutions have been a staple of wireless networks since their inception, providing an effective and efficient means of delivering dedicated coverage and capacity indoors for 4G LTE for many years. These similar 5G indoor solutions being tested are more compact, lower power and compatible with Verizon’s virtualization strategy.

A big leap towards private 5G networks for enterprise customers

The impending commercialization of these indoor systems are a critical step on the way to private 5G networks. A private 5G network is a smaller, self-contained network whose components all reside in a single facility. The most robust, lowest-latency, highest performing private 5G network relies on three basic components: a private core serving exclusively that single system, a radio access network (an indoor cell site like the ones being tested with Corning and Samsung), and a MEC platform.

“By combining a private core, an indoor cell site and the MEC platform in a facility, an enterprise can have a private and secure ultra-reliable, high-speed, low-latency 5G network,” said Koeppe. “A private 5G network will offer customers the potential to have the cloud within their facility. It will accelerate enterprise automation and digitization efforts, and with Verizon’s mmWave bandwidth and reliability, it will offer the scalability to manage massive numbers of devices along with advanced capabilities such as Edge AI, computer vision and other emerging technologies.”

With all three components of the network in a single facility, it increases speed and efficiency by eliminating the need for data to cross through multiple routers and across large geographies. It also eliminates the need to share core resources with the macro network and offers the flexibility to develop specific capabilities customized to the private network owner.

About the indoor cell site trials

After an industry-wide RFP, Corning’s and Samsung’s indoor cell site solutions were chosen for the Verizon network. Corning’s solution successfully completed testing in the Verizon test lab in Westlake, TX and has begun field testing in a live network environment.

Corning's mmWave solution, part of Corning's portfolio of strategic cellular solutions for the enterprise, brings 5G indoors with a sleek, easy-to-install design, delivering future-ready 5G performance by utilizing Corning's state-of-the-art composite fiber (with fiber for data transmission and copper for powering, in one cable.)

"We're pleased to open a new phase in our longtime collaboration with Verizon, which over the years has brought reliable LTE coverage to Verizon's customers in venues large and small," said Michael Bell, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Optical Communications. "Now, with Corning's mmWave solution, Verizon will showcase its 5G Ultra Wideband capabilities for the enterprise. Our mmWave solution draws on Corning's decades of experience in network design to deliver cost-effective indoor coverage that allows enterprises to reap the full benefits of 5G."

Lab trials have begun using Samsung’s 5G mmWave indoor small cell in-building product which, after successful completion, will also advance to field trials. This solution will provide a compact, discrete indoor 5G solution capable of delivering the high-throughput and lower-latency service levels to support Verizon enterprise customers’ in-building 5G service requirements.

“Building on our network collaboration with Verizon since 2009 and our global leadership in mmWave technology, we are excited to expand 5G’s next phase to the enterprise with Verizon,” said Magnus Ojert, Vice President, Networks Division, Samsung Electronics America. “These first trials of indoor small cell solutions, coupled with our recent advancements with vRAN, advance our support of Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network, and will provide their U.S. consumers and enterprises with incredible new experiences.”

Verizon expects to begin deployment of a commercial in-building product by the end of 2020.

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