O2 Telefónica and Ericsson take next 5G development step:First Cloud RAN in the 26 GHz range in Europe delivers over 4 Gbit/s

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Credits: Rocka Studio
The O2 Telefónica, Ericsson and Wayra team at the Munich Tech Lab
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.
Mallik Rao
The cloud plays a central role in the current transformation of the telecommunications industry. More and more computing power and functions are being moved to the cloud, where they are easier to operate and scale. Updates can be applied more quickly via software, ensuring that the network is always up to date. This enables O2 Telefónica to implement innovations faster and improve network efficiency. Mallik Rao, Chief Technology & Information Officer of O2 Telefónica, says: "O2 Telefónica is a pioneer in deploying new network technologies such as Cloud RAN. With the introduction of a cloud-based, standardized architecture, we are able to respond quickly to customer needs, introduce new products and services even more flexibly and scale our O2 network better. With Cloud RAN, we combine the benefits of open interfaces with the expertise and product quality of European network equipment supplier Ericsson, whose technology we already use for our high-performance 5G core network."
Credits: Ericsson GmbH
Daniel Leimbach
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

Credits: Rocka Studio
5G Cloud RAN delivers peak speeds of over 4 Gbit/s
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).