While widespread deployment of wireless 5G technology remains a few years off, there is much to be done behind the scenes to ensure mobile networks and operators are ready for the change.
In support of its members, 5TONIC, an open research and innovation laboratory, is demonstrating use cases for next-generation wireless technologies, such as smart factory applications.
To further the development of 5G, 5TONIC has deployed the OneCell® C-RAN small cell solution from CommScope. OneCell forms a single “super cell” indoors and eliminates handovers and border interference across large areas, creating a high performing LTE experience for end-users. The concepts employed in OneCell architecture are being considered in 5G standardization.
OneCell brings a new way to deliver high-performance mobile service to subscribers in high density venues such as stadiums, sports arenas, campuses as well as mid to large enterprises. The C-RAN small cell architecture incorporates advances such as switched Ethernet fronthaul that allow systems to be designed, installed and tested in a fraction of the time that legacy solutions typically require.
With OneCell, consumers in a large venue have continuous voice and mobile data access as the small cell system distributes capacity to multiple users. As an LTE system that already incorporates many 5G architectural elements, such as C-RAN over Ethernet front-haul and cell virtualization, OneCell is designed to streamline operators’ LTE-to-5G network evolution path, including the coexistence of the two technologies for many years to come.
Arturo Azcorra, Vice-Chairman of 5TONIC and IMDEA Networks director said that 5TONIC sees 2018 as a time for members to focus on tangible results toward 5G. The company's innovation lab is a central hub for knowledge sharing, industry collaboration, and the development of future products and services. For example, the tangible benefits of cell virtualization area already being seen, which dramatically improves spectrum efficiency and is now being considered for potential inclusion in 5G standards.
Ben Cardwell, SVP, CommScope Mobility Solutions, added that this year will see significant progress in defining 5G as a standard and for real-world implementations. The initial hype has deflated, a necessary step towards the practical discernment of how 5G is going to be made into a reality. Working within the 5TONIC consortium allows innovations to be tested within an ecosystem. This accelerates everyone’s progress and ensures that it is focused on real-world use cases.