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[MWC 2022] SKT, Samsung to unveil advanced 5G tech at MWC

SK Telecom technicians are seen testing 5G technologies in this undated photo. (SK Telecom)
SK Telecom technicians are seen testing 5G technologies in this undated photo. (SK Telecom)
South Korea’s telecommunication carrier SK Telecom and wireless network equipment maker Samsung Electronics will unveil the test results of their 5G network architecture “Option 4” for enhanced connectivity at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The two firms recently tested the advanced 5G connectivity on a commercial network infrastructure for the first time within the industry. SK Telecom plans to commercialize the technology by 2023 in order to support urban air mobility systems and remote control of robots and heavy equipment.

Option 4 uses Samsung’s 5G core, meaning the 5G radio frequencies are connected directly and independently. Under the architecture, the 5G core is anchored with 5G base stations, which acts as the master cell, while allowing a smoother interworking with 4G base stations.

The architecture differentiates itself from Option 2, which provides a standalone connectivity to the 5G core, as well as from the conventional non-standalone architecture, where the control signaling of 5G radio runs on the 4G core that is anchored with 4G base stations.

Option 4 was defined as one of the standards for 5G architecture by the Third Generation Partnership Project in 2019. It is considered one of the alternatives beyond Option 2. SK Telecom claimed that Option 4 falls in a category of 5G standalone technology.

SK Telecom said in a statement that the technology, if deployed commercially, would combine the advantages of both a more stable 4G-based non-standalone architecture and Option 2 5G standalone architecture.

The architecture will offer 5G network users, via smartphones, vehicles and the like, a more stable wireless network operation than conventional 5G standalone architecture. At the same time, it also provides benefits of 5G cores through the support of capabilities such as network slicing -- which divides single network connections into multiple virtual connections -- and the cloud-native 5G network deployment.

The detailed test results will be unveiled at SK Telecom’s exhibition at MWC 2022, the company said.

By Son Ji-hyoung (consnow@heraldcorp.com)
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