O2 Telefónica and Ericsson take next 5G development step:First Cloud RAN in the 26 GHz range in Europe delivers over 4 Gbit/s
Telecom provider O2 Telefónica and network equipment supplier Ericsson are taking the next development step for advanced 5G networks: The companies have implemented the first Ericsson Cloud RAN solution in Europe's mobile network. The novel Cloud RAN architecture virtualizes parts of the radio access network (RAN). In the Wayra Innovation Hub - the start-up accelerator of O2 Telefónica in Munich - the companies successfully implemented a practical use case with a so-called “data shower”. In combination with the millimeter waves used in the 26 GHz range, O2 Telefónica and Ericsson achieved impressive speeds of more than 4 gigabits per second. That is many times more than 5G currently delivers in everyday life. Ericsson is one of the world's leading providers of Cloud RAN solutions. The network equipment supplier has already successfully implemented Cloud RAN with mobile operators in North America and Australia. In cooperation with O2 Telefónica, this has now been successfully implemented in Europe for the first time.
Cloud RAN promotes innovation and a better network experience
In the Ericsson Cloud RAN solution, some components and functionalities of O2 Telefónica's radio access network are virtualized and run as software. Similar to the Open RAN concept, the mobile operator can use standardized hardware for this purpose, such as traditional Intel-based computers. At the same time, the solution offers the advantage that the software functions are provided in the highest quality by established network equipment suppliers such as Ericsson.
Daniel Leimbach, Head of Customer Unit Western Europe at Ericsson, says: “The partnership between Ericsson and O2 Telefónica demonstrates our commitment to achieve significant breakthroughs on our path to build the networks of the future. It is a first for both companies in Europe and shows the potential of Cloud RAN for high performance use cases. It builds upon our work with the cloud native 5G core we have deployed in O2 Telefónica Germany, enabling a full end-to-end cloud native network. We are very proud to be doing this together with O2 Telefónica.”
Millimeter waves enable new digital applications
For O2 Telefónica and Ericsson, the new technology offers the potential to improve the network experience of private and business customers and opens new digital applications in the industrial environment. At the Wayra Innovation Lab, the two companies are demonstrating a “data shower” based on Cloud RAN and the use of 5G on 26 GHz - with 800 MHz bandwidth - transferring large files in seconds. This is highly relevant for use in everyday production: In car production, cars receive the latest software updates within a very short time by means of a “data shower”. Thanks to fast data processing, maintenance processes on the factory floor can also be fully digitalized. Complex scanner measurements or X-ray images, for example of concrete and steel structures, can be processed within seconds. Private customers also benefit when they use data-intensive applications: In future, gaming fans could book additional network capacities for smooth cloud gaming fun. Straight millimeter waves are also suitable as a mobile fixed network substitute for private households, so-called fixed wireless access solutions (FWA).