SK Telecom announced that it has developed new relay technologies for 5G networks after its six-month-long collaboration with local partners.
The partners, including High Gain Antenna and SK Telecom’s subsidiary SK Telesys jointly developed the relay technology that will help extend radio range by amplifying wireless signals between base stations and devices. It will enable network operators to cover radio shadow areas and offer wide coverage for 5G services.
In the 28 GHz band, a candidate for 5G, radio waves are more likely to move in straight lines and more unlikely to circumvent obstacles due to the nature of ultra-high frequencies. Therefore, relay technology is critical to the seamless delivery of 5G services.
The new 5G relay technologies can be classified into three techniques: the flat framing, in which radio waves are reflected at right angles towards both sides; the convex mirroring, in which radio waves are reflected outwards as if they hit a convex mirror; and the multi-beam generation & amplification, in which a multiple number of radio waves are aggregated and amplified.
Among the techniques, SK Telecom chose to apply the multi-beam generation & amplification technique to its 5G trial network in Gangnam, Korea only to achieve three times wider coverage than that of a single beam. While the existing single beam relay repeater covers 70 meters in diagram, the company is now able to extend the coverage to 200 meters in diagram with a new relay repeater implementing the multi-beam generation & amplification technique.
The whole journey started from SK Telecom’s need for new relay technology considering the nature of ultra-high frequencies to guarantee the stability of 5G services. Engineers dedicated to 5G at SK Telecom have found the three ideas – flat framing, convex mirroring, and multi-beam generation & amplification. Then, the collaboration with the vendors began in May.
Among the partners engaged in the collaboration, High Gain Antenna developed technologies to implement the flat framing and convex mirroring techniques, while SK Telesys successfully realized the concept of multi-beam generation & amplification. SK Telecom has worked with the two vendors for the past six months and demonstrated these techniques in its 5G trial networks in the company’s Bundang office and two dense urban areas in Seoul.
This successful collaboration sends a good signal to the industry as it has extended potential partners for 5G technology from the world’s big vendors to local communications equipment companies. It will open the door of a 5G ecosystem to local vendors and help them to gain a competitive edge.