The fifth generation of wireless technology is here, and during a demonstration Wednesday at its office in Naperville, Nokia showed how the company's products can provide everything needed to run an entire 5G system for high-speed, low-delay communications.
By playing the online game "Fortnite" on three laptops and a cellphone, all while streaming a high-definition video, Nokia employees showed the speed and multifunctional capability of an indoor 5G system built entirely using Nokia products. The company says its "end-to-end" deployment of the system, called a 5G centralized radio access network, was a "world's first."
"That integration -- that's really the magic of what we're seeing today," said Michael Kinnavy, head of 5G and small cells research and development.
Nokia builds, operates and sells all pieces needed for the type of 5G network it set up and used Wednesday, including fiber-optic equipment, cloud computing capacity, radio units or signal base stations and what's referred to in company lingo as "UE" or user equipment -- aka cellphones.
Wednesday's event served as a motivator for employees at the Naperville campus to innovate new uses for 5G technology, which cellphone carriers and phone makers are beginning to roll out.
"We get to help evolve and change the world," said Ron Domeracki, head of 5G and small cell U.S. systems verification.
The higher speed of data transmission and lower latency or delay -- less than the 32 milliseconds noticeable to the human ear -- of the 5G system Nokia used Wednesday could allow for uses such as remote-controlled surgeries, self-driving cars or package deliveries by drone, Kinnavy said.
"These are the things that are going to reinvent the way we experience life," Kinnavy said. "5G is a pipe for us to build a lot of unique applications on."
While early cellphone technology was about making a call, it later became about sending texts, then checking the internet, then streaming video.
"Now we're taking it to the next step, which is about augmented reality, virtual reality," Kinnavy said.
Nokia's Naperville campus is involved with testing some of the future uses for 5G as customers reach out to see what could be possible, Domeracki said. That's also why the company wanted to prove it could set up an in-house 5G network, load it up with high-data uses such as streaming video and online game-playing and watch it perform.
The games didn't freeze or lock up during the demo, which Domeracki said is an important feature for gamers who don't want to accidentally lose a life during a momentary technological glitch.
"The stability of this has been rock-solid," he said.