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Cel-Fi and 5G

The evolution of mobile technologies has come a long way and the end is not yet in sight. With higher data speed comes new more data intensive applications which leads to the need for even higher data speeds. This ongoing loop influences the hardware that is needed to support these services and there is a constant race to keep up with the new technologies. Cel-Fi is no different and the following press release brought some hope to customers who are already using one of the products in this family.

 https://www.cel-fi.com/press-release/nextivity-announces-5g-rollout-for-cel-fi-products-as-carriers-upgrade-their-networks/

The article states that three of Cel-Fi’s flagship offerings – Cel-Fi QUATRA,  Cel-Fi SOLO, and Cel-Fi GO (G32),  – will be 5G-ready in the second half of 2020, coinciding with timelines for global carriers to begin rolling out 5G services in their local markets. These Cel-Fi in-building cellular coverage solutions will continue to function seamlessly as carriers refarm their networks from 3G and 4G/LTE to 5G as software upgrades will be made over-the-air (OTA) via Cel-Fi WAVE, the software platform that activates, optimizes, and manages Cel-Fi products. 

What is 5G and how is it being deployed in Australia

Multiple variations of 5G are expected to roll out over the next several years, including non-standalone (NSA) 5G, which relies on a 4G/LTE network to coordinate and manage 5G calls; and  standalone (SA) 5G, which does not rely on a 4G network to process and coordinate calls. In the NSA context, Cel-Fi solutions would combine support for both 4G and 5G coverage.

The current band that Australian operators are deploying the 5G service in is “n78” (3500MHz) and it is being deployed as NSA. The operators are also considering whether to re-use some of their existing bands for 5G, but this will take some time while they move the existing 3G/4G service of the band that they want to repurpose.

Regardless of bands and deployment approaches, the three flagship offerings under the Cel-Fi brand will all be ready to deliver consistent and reliable in-building cellular coverage as 5G networks are established with some caveats.

What does that mean for the specific Cel-Fi unit that end user have now

None of the current Cel-Fi product family available in Australia has the capability to support band n78 (3500MHz) which means that users will have to wait until the local operators deploy 5G into some of the exiting bands. All three operators have been working on this topic for a while and they have not released any information yet on how they will deploy 5G into their existing bands. This is a complicated matter with many factors to consider and they are expected to release their plans in the coming months.

Once the operators start to deploy 5G into the exiting bands, Cel-Fi users will be able do a software update via the Wave App to enable their devices to operate on 5G. Below is how each of the devices sold by RFI in Australia will be compatible with 5G. It is worth noting that more information is needed from the Operators before a finite answer can be provided.

Cel-Fi GO (G31) – This unit operates as a single channel amplifier and such it is not suitable for NSA 5G deployments. The feasibility of upgrading this unit to operate on 5G SA will be reviewed if and when the local operators deploy 5G in this fashion.

Cel-Fi GO2/X (G32) – This unit is a dual-band unit which means that it will be able to support 5G NSA provided the operator deploys 5G in one of the bands that they unit is capable of boosting. The bands supported by the G32 are B1 (2100MHz), B3 (1800MHZ), B5 (850MHz), B7 (2600MHz) and B8 (900MHz).

Cel-Fi Solo (H41) – This unit is a tri-band unit which means that it will be able to support 5G NSA provided the operator deploys 5G in one of the bands that they unit is capable of boosting. The bands supported by the H41 are B1 (2100MHz), B3 (1800MHZ), B5 (850MHz), B8 (900MHz) and B28L (700MHz).

 Cel-Fi Quatra (Q34) – The Quatra product will also support 5G service as per the rest of the family and these come in two variants with support for a range of bands. Please contact your RFI dealer to confirm the capabilities of your specific version.

Summary

While the Cel-Fi product family can support 5G service it will be dependent on how each operator deploy 5G services onto their exiting frequency bands. Please contact RFI for more information on your specific device as needed.

 

Some further information this topic fromCel-Fi can be downloaded here. Nextivity 5G Upgrade Plan

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