The FCC gave Apple permission to test 5G transmission between Northern California facilities
Wireless operators, network infrastructure vendors and cable companies are all testing various forms of as-yet unstandardized 5G technologies. And, now, technology giant Apple, based on a recent filing with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, is getting into the mix.
Based on the application, Apple will conduct its testing in high-band frequencies ranging from 27.5 GHz to 28.35 GHz and 38.6 GHz to 40 GHz. The experimental link will span about 10 miles between facilities in Cupertino and Milpitas, California.
A lot of these 5G-related testing applications list familiar vendor names like Nokia and Ericsson. What stands out in the Apple application is that the company is working with equipment manufactured by Rohde & Schwarz, a major test and measurement firm, and companies Analog Devices and A.H. Systems.
Analog Devices has a deep bench of RF-related products including solutions to address operation in millimeter wave and microwave frequencies as well as tools related to multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) and beamforming.
The company’s CTO of the Communications Business Unit Thomas Cameron wrote in a whitepaper, “As the arrival of 5G gets ever closer, it will continue to generate challenges for designers. When determining the best technology solution for millimeter wave radio applications, it is beneficial to consider all aspects of the signal chain, as well as the various advantages of different IC processes. As the 5G ecosystem develops, Analog Devices is focused on and committed to providing our customers with a broad technology portfolio, including a wide range of circuitry design processes, and a systems level approach, based on our unique bits to millimeter wave capability.”
A.H. Systems also has a broad portfolio that includes everything from antennas and probes to RF cables and amplifiers.
According to a narrative taken from Apple’s application paperwork and first published by Business Insider, “Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum. These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks.”
The testing “will include the use of a horn antenna with a half-power beamwidth of 20 degrees in the E-plane and H-plane and a downtilt between 20 – 25 degrees.”
While Apple hasn’t publicly articulated any of it’s plans specific to 5G, the company has been a member of the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance since 2014.