DNA has already used the technology to test speeds of more than 10 gigabits per second in its commercial mobile network. In the test phase, two receiving 5G terminal devices combined have been used in the speed measurements, as commercial terminal devices supporting this 5.5G technology will not be available until later in 2024. Photo: DNA

Science and technology

In a significant technological advancement, Finnish telecommunications company DNA has successfully tested 5.5G technology in its commercial mobile network, achieving speeds of more than 10 gigabits per second. This development marks a pivotal step towards the 5.5G standard, also known as 5G Advanced, which is set to be released for commercial use in early 2024. 5.5G represents the transition phase from the current 5G to the future 6G era, offering enhanced capabilities and numerous benefits for both consumer and corporate users.

The 5.5G standard, covering the next three standard versions of the 3GPP (Releases 18, 19, and 20), is expected to significantly improve network performance. Jarkko Laari, VP of Radio Networks at DNA, emphasized Finland's pioneering role in mobile technology and the company's focus on future advancements. "The first phase of the 5.5G standard, i.e., release 18, will be completed in early 2024, with market solutions following later in the year," Laari stated.

The introduction of 5.5G technology is anticipated to bring substantial improvements, including up to tenfold increases in data speed and the number of devices connected to the network compared to the original 5G standard. The role of artificial intelligence in network optimization will also be enhanced, leading to better energy efficiency and performance. Furthermore, the new standard will facilitate gigabit-class upload speeds and improved network latency predictability.

Laari highlighted the potential of 5.5G technology for corporate customers, particularly for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications in large environments like industrial production facilities. DNA aims to pilot the technology in real usage situations, including fixed broadband connections for businesses and homes.

In a separate development, DNA introduced Passive IoT technology at its head office in Käpylä, Helsinki. This technology, which is not part of the 5.5G standard to be released in 2024 but a candidate for future versions, could revolutionize the Internet of Things in logistics processes. It allows for tracking products equipped with RF tags over the mobile network, with potential applications in inventory management and logistics.

During a demonstration event for the media, DNA showcased both the data speed capabilities of 5.5G technology and the possibilities of Passive IoT technology. The speed test achieved more than 9.5 gigabits per second during regular network traffic hours and over 10 gigabits per second during quieter periods. The Passive IoT demo highlighted the ability to track product numbers and temperatures over long distances, offering promising applications in various sectors.

DNA's achievement in reaching these high speeds in its commercial network using 5.5G technology signifies a leap forward in mobile communications, aligning with the global trend towards faster, more efficient, and smarter connectivity solutions.