Samsung test uses mmWave 5G to boost Wi-Fi speeds on Seoul subway

The tech could bolster connectivity in other transit systems, although in Toronto the TTC would need carriers to finally accept BAI

Samsung has announced that it successfully tested a way to improve Wi-Fi service on fast-moving subway trains using 5G mmWave for backhaul.

The company ran a trial in South Korea, demonstrated that 5G could help significantly boost legacy Wi-Fi service in crowded, public settings. According to a press release from Samsung, the test saw Wi-Fi downlink speeds of 1.8Gbps using a Galaxy S21 Ultra on a moving subway train, an impressive 25 times faster than the current average of 71Mbps.

Samsung used its ‘Compact Macro‘ hardware to help boost Wi-Fi speeds using the ultra-high capacity of 5G mmWave. The test covered five stations on the subway line through downtown Seoul. It also used 800Mhz of the 28GHz spectrum band.

As a quick refresher, spectrum refers to radio wave frequencies used by cellular networks to transmit data to and from mobile devices. With 5G, mmWave represents high-capacity but low-range spectrum — you can read more about the differences between mmWave and Sub-6 5G here.

While Samsung’s test is certainly impressive, it could be a long time before we see anything like that here in Canada. First, Canadian carriers have only just gained access to some Sub-6 5G spectrum and it’ll be a while before Canadians start getting access to it — mmWave remains even further away.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Big Three still refuse to offer service in Toronto’s TTC subway lines because the city contracted BAI Canada to manage connectivity. Along with free Wi-Fi through TConnect, BAI worked with Shaw’s Freedom Mobile to bring service to customers on the TTC, while Rogers, Bell and Telus previously indicated they’d rather install their own systems than use BAI’s.

BAI could install the Samsung hardware itself, but since it leverages 5G backhaul to boost speeds, the company would likely need a 5G-capable carrier partner too.

Source: Samsung