Corning plans indoor 5G mmWave systems for malls, offices, and schools

Corning’s name may be synonymous with innovative and damage-resistant glass, but the company also makes network connectivity solutions ranging from fiber optic cabling to cellular hardware for industrial wireless installations. Those cellular solutions were previously limited to 4G, but now Corning’s moving into 5G with indoor millimeter wave systems targeted at enterprises including malls, offices, university campuses, and hotels.

The new system will enable businesses and university campuses to start delivering Wi-Fi-caliber speeds and network capacity using local cellular networks. Though it’s not the only solution of its kind, it’s still expected to be one of the earliest indoor 5G mmWave platforms, focusing on ease of installation and compatibility with prior-generation Corning solutions.

Like most of the millimeter wave 5G chips found in consumer devices, Corning’s solution will be based on Qualcomm hardware — here, the FSM100xx 5G RAN platform, which will deliver non-standalone 5G service in combination with FSM99xx-based 4G RAN systems. Current Corning customers will be able to add 5G support to existing 4G infrastructures “via a simple process,” assuming they have the right prior hardware.

Leveraging Qualcomm’s chips enables Corning to deliver physically small and relatively low-power 5G mmWave devices, while including bandwidth-maximizing features such as advanced scheduling and concurrent beamforming. Corning’s own virtualized RAN architecture will manage the small cells within enterprise environments.

There’s no date or pricing yet for commercial availability of the Corning 5G platform, but the company says it will be “compelling and affordable” for enterprises. Additional details are expected to be available later this year.

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