Nokia demonstrates 5G breakthroughs at MWC 2016

Nokia has used Mobile World Congress 2016 to showcase its advances in speed and security, with a number of 5G breakthroughs and the promise of tighter security through a new acquisition.

The equipment maker claimed it is the first to run 5G network technology on a commercially available base station and demonstrated interactive virtual reality as a use case on its 5G-ready AirScale radio access technology. Nokia’s 5G access system uses a wider range of spectrum allocations to create 20Gbps throughput and it claimed it has unlocked the potential of new frequencies for multi-Gbps wireless access. The spectrum now includes sub-6 GHz for wide area coverage, with cmWave and mmWave now adding to the comms capacity.

Nokia claimed the demo is proof that operators can bring forward their launch times for 5G and cut costs by migrating their existing LTE infrastructure to early 5G services in 2017. Expect full 5G commercial services expected in 2020, it told visitors to MWC 2016.

The demos showed Nokia’s AirScale Base Station and AirScale Cloud Base Station Server running on Nokia AirFrame IT hardware. The system uses 8×8 MIMO and an optimized frame structure that cuts latency below 1 millisecond. The new ‘ultra-low latency’ and multi-Gbps throughput lets users collaborate in real-time regardless of location, according to Nokia’s multi-user virtual reality demonstration.

Nokia showed how a high-sensitivity receiver for mmWave opens up the use of 64QAM with 2×2 MIMO. The demo also showed it supporting advanced concepts such as beam steering to precisely track end-user location and demand. Nokia gave visitors insights on how to build the final commercial solution, once mmWave is standardized.

Nokia claimed that AirScale Radio Access will radically change the way networks are built and cater for a range of technologies including 2G, 3G, TDD-LTE, FDD-LTE, LTE Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro, which can all run simultaneously in the base station as Single RAN. It claims Airscale also integrates carrier-grade Wi-Fi access and is 5G-ready.

Nokia said that baseband units can be daisy-chained to create virtually unlimited capacity and connectivity to meet the needs of massive IoT connectivity and 5G speeds. Capacity could be further ramped up by another technology showcased at MWC 2016, an AirScale Wi-Fi that uses LTE-Wi-Fi Aggregation to boost LTE capacity. The technology was jointly developed and tested by partner Taiwan Mobile.

In a related announcement, Nokia said it is to buy Canadian software firm Nakina Systems after using its security and orchestration systems for five years on customer projects. The deal is due to complete by April 2016.

As 5G networks, the Internet of Things, Big Data, Software Defined Networks and Cloud services all become increasingly targeted, orchestrating the vast range of security systems needed has become a critical issue, according to Nokia. Nakina’s main customers are global operators and service providers.

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