The cellular industry, including wireless operators and device manufacturers, is racing to deliver the Fifth Generation (5G) wireless solutions to end-users through three main service categories (a.k.a. “use cases”):
- Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB),
- Ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC)
- Massive machine-type communications (mMTC).
However, it has now become clear that transitioning from the existing LTE technology (the most common form of 4G cellular systems) into 5G technology is by no means incremental. From an architectural perspective, LTE relies heavily on macro-base-stations (MBSs) for radio access. This is in contrast to 5G systems, which exploit the concept of cell densification and deploy a large number of short-range Small BSs (SBSs) to increase spatial reuse and support thousands of users at Gbps speeds. To achieve comparable coverage to LTE on a national scale, a prohibitively large number of 5G SBSs (i.e., gNBs) are needed; a significant capital investment that operators are still hesitant to make. Instead of deploying a prohibitively large number of small, ED2 is advocating a cost-effective solution for uniform and continuous 5G coverage at mmWave bands. Our idea is based on the concept of a repeater; a device that intercepts 5G signals between the BS and UE (User Equipment), amplifies these signals and forwards them to their destinations. ED2’s repeaters enable operators to fill their coverage gaps by providing outdoor cell-range extension in sparse and rural areas, “around the corner” directional relaying in areas with high-rise buildings, and outdoor-to-indoor coverage. Three types of repeaters are available to support these different scenarios: