Samsung Electronics has supplied Verizon with its 5G in-building small cell called Link Cell, the company said.
The cells will expand the US carrier’s 28GHz 5G coverage in commercial buildings and crowded areas such as offices, factories, shopping centers and stadiums.
Verizon is also testing small cell equipment from Corning, which started sooner. Corning’s cells have finished lab tests are being tested in the field. Samsung’s is still in the lab.
Samsung’s Link Cell weighs 2.8kg and is sized 3.8 liters. It works by connecting an Ethernet cable, much like Wi-Fi repeaters. It can be attached in walls and on the ceiling. It uses Qualcomm’s chips. Its 4G small cell used Intel’s.
Verizon is planning to build 28GHz in-building equipment later this year. It will expand 28GHz 5G coverage for the carrier. The carrier has criticism for offering limited access to its 28GHz specturm compared to the 3.5GHz spectrum. This will change when small cells are installed in buildings.
According to OpenSignal, Verizon’s 3.5GHz download speed wad double that of SK Telecom’s. However, SK Telecom offered more access to its 5G network at 15% while Verizon’s was 0.5%.
Earlier this month, SK Telecom said 28GHz spectrum was more optimal for business-to-business applications. South Korean carriers seems to be slowing down their 5G deployment and delaying 28GHz spectrum roll outs.
Samsung and LG are offering 28GHz 5G antennas on the smartphones they sell in the US. This is not the case in South Korea and there are no 28GHz 5G antennas for their locally sold handsets.
4G in-building coverage used distributed antenna systems, which amplified singals. But for 5G, small cells are more optimal as frequency waves can’t reach inside buildings like they do for 4G.
South Korean companies such as FRTek has supplied 28GHz repeaters to Verizon. But making small cells is more difficult technologically, a person familiar with the matter said.
In a small cell, antenna and data processing component are inside. It is basically a mini base station that base station makers are better at.
Samsung Network has also named its 5G in-building solution Samsung Link. It has introduced the Link Hub and Link Hub Pro alongside Link Cells. The Hubs are used for distributed antenna systems.
Link Hub and Link Hub Pro sill be commercialized in the first quarter of 2021, Samsung said.