Verizon: 5G Tests Were In Play During Super Bowl LII

The pigskin wasn’t the only thing in play as fans watched the Philadelphia Eagles take down the New England Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl LII matchup. Verizon conducted a series of live tests to demonstrate the massive bandwidth capabilities of next-generation 5G wireless technology.

Donning virtual reality (VR) headsets, network engineers at Alley in New York City and Verizon guests at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis participated in a live demonstration featuring a “180-degree stereoscopic” in-stadium virtual experience with high-resolution replays on secondary screens, all delivered over a temporary 5G wireless network.

“Since we first set out to create the world’s largest set of 5G test markets, we learned a tremendous amount about what the technology could deliver,” said Sanyogita Shamsunder, executive director of 5G ecosystems and innovation at Verizon. “This latest demonstration at Super Bowl LII and in New York City is another example of how we’re pushing 5G to exploit never-before imagined uses cases and applications.”

Executives from Verizon and Korea Telecom (KT) also completed what the companies described as the first-ever 5G video call on prototype 5G tablets developed by Samsung, making a call from Minneapolis to Seoul, Korea. Samsung said the 5G tablets were set up to deliver “multi-gigabit per second speeds” on 5G and top 4G/LTE speeds with proper switching between 5G and 4G networks. KT plans further 5G demonstrations at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics later this week.

A few days before the Super Bowl, Verizon showcased how the single-digit millisecond latency of its 5G network could be used by two leading football players in an on-field demonstration without compromising their real-world speed and reaction times. Using only 5G-connected first-person goggles and helmet-mounted cameras, the players were able to throw, catch and deflect passes with the same speed and precision as they could with the naked eye, according to Verizon.

The 5G test was noteworthy due to its successful use of new end-to-end 5G hardware over two separate 5G networks, Venture Beat noted in its coverage of the event. In addition to the prototype 5G tablets, Samsung also supplied 28-Hz 5G access units and home routers for the test, suggesting that the company might be closer to supplying consumer 5G hardware than previously known.

Next generation 5G networks promise data speeds that are up to 100 times faster than today’s 4G/LTE networks. Other benefits include reduced latency, dramatically improved security, and a significant expansion in the number of devices that can be connected simultaneously to the network.