Regulator risks leaving Europe behind in 5G

June 13, 2014 // By Nick Flaherty
European companies building equipment for the emerging 60 GHz 5G systems will suffer unless the regulator makes significant changes, warns a leading UK startup.

Blu Wireless Technologies (BWT) and researchers from the University of Bristol this week demonstrated technology for millimetre wave radio spectrum (30 GHz to 300 GHz) that is expected to be used in worldwide 5G networks from 2020, but warned of problems in Europe.

“BWT has developed the Gigabit Digital Baseband necessary for millimetre wave communications to enter the mass market,” said Henry Nurser, CEO at Blu Wireless Technology. “At the Small Cells World Summit we're presenting some of the details behind our innovative system-level solutions, how this can be applied to solve the problems associated with backhaul for small cells and why Europe needs to re-think regulations for outdoor 60 GHz networks.”

Current specifications do not allow designers to use phased array antennas, making European equipment larger and more costly to build and install than systems for the US, says BWT.

“Europe's CEPT REC(09)01 has a higher standard power level [than the US] of +55 dBmi but typically limits maximum conducted power to +10 dBm and the minimum antenna gain to +30 dBi,” said Mark Barrett, chief marketing officer at BWT. “This does not allow the trade-off of antenna gain and power in the way that the more flexible US standard does. Thus equipment will be physically larger and increase installation time due to the need to manually align each link.”

“European operators who want to deploy point-to-point backhaul links will need to use the combination of high-gain, dish-based antennas and modems that supply less than +10dBm of transmit power. Meanwhile US operators will have the freedom to use modems that supply up to +27 dBm of transmit power and make use of steerable, but lower-gain phased-array antennas,” he said.

“The cost implications of this are huge," he said "US operators can deploy backhaul links based on phased-array technology that, given the economies of scale driven by the high volume market, can by delivered for less than $1,000. Their counterparts