The tests linked medical facilities in a remote area of Japan with a regional medical hospital using 5G network technology

NEC and NTT Docomo have conducted extensive field trials in remote medical examinations using 5G, according to a company release. 

NTT Docomo carried out the experiments in Japan, for which NEC provided the base station unit. 

The tests took place in the mountainous region of Wakayama – a sparsely populated area of the country, with limited access to medical services. 

The regional government of Wakayama had established a remote medical support system, which connects 13 medical sites with the Wakayama Medical Hospital, allowing doctors to receive advice from specialists. However, the system frequently met with connectivity issues, which led to the 5G testing with NTT Docomo and NEC. 

The pair conducted verification tests with an optical cable to establish a remote medical examination service, which utilised 5G to connect Wakayama Medical University and Hidakagawa Kokuho Kawakami Clinic, approximately 30 km from the university. 

NEC set up a massive-element Active Antenna System (AAS) base station system supporting a 28 GHz band to create a 5G wireless network.

"Ultra-high-speed 5G communications are often associated with the entertainment industry. However, these trials showed us that 5G can play a role in solving social issues, such as reducing regional disparities in the delivery of health care. We plan to create new business models and value by continuing to take advantage of 5G technologies in collaboration with ICT vendors, and a wide variety of companies and organizations in the near future," said Jun Mashino, senior research engineer for the 5G Radio Access Network Research Group at NTT Docomo.