Samsung’s first 5G home router — the key piece of technology needed to actually bring next-generation wireless services into homes and offices — has officially won FCC approval. Known as SFG-D0100, the millimeter wave-based wireless device is expected to be used in Verizon’s early launch of 5G services across several U.S. cities this year, and the FCC documents hint at a possible debut date: late October, 2018.
The SFG-D0100 is shown on the left side of the photo above. Samsung’s FCC grant of approval confirms that the device includes 64 antennas across a beamforming 2×2 MIMO array, including 27.5GHz to 28.35GHz millimeter wave support, plus Bluetooth LE — but apparently no integrated 802.11 functionality, suggesting that it will require a separate Wi-Fi router, like some cable modems. Samsung warns users to keep the devices at least eight inches away from people, in compliance with FCC RF exposure guidelines.
Verizon has said that it will launch pre-standards 5G in three to five cities this year, including Sacramento, California. Initially, the leading U.S. carrier will only offer “fixed 5G” — high-speed wireless service that can solely be accessed at a home or office using a cable modem-like device — which it believes will challenge cable Internet and TV providers. The company described itself last week as “full steam ahead” on the 5G deployment, hinting at plans to offer unlimited 5G data and a novel over-the-top video subscription service to customers.
While Samsung and Verizon announced a collaboration on an end-to-end 5G solution some time ago, including the tower and indoor elements needed to bring ultra-high-frequency millimeter wave signals into homes, FCC approval of each brand new element is critical to making 5G a reality. As Droidlife notes, the company previously received approval for its tower-mounted 5G Access Unit in February and an outdoor signal router in March, leaving the indoor router awaiting the FCC’s nod.
Inseego, a maker of both 4G home routers and mobile hotspots, discussed some of the new 5G equipment design and engineering challenges with VentureBeat in March, noting that the company was working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to meet an unspecified target launch date. Verizon has previously committed only to a launch in the second half of 2018; however, Samsung requested confidentiality for its SFG-D0100 materials through October 27, 2018. At that point, the unit’s external, internal, and test setup photos and a user’s manual will become public, suggesting that a launch would be imminent or already underway.