Huawei and Telefónica begin work on “no cell” 5G RAN

Huawei and Telefónica have announced a joint effort to explore the requirements and potential solutions for the 5G RAN, including a “no cell” approach.

Focussing on 5G and the next generation radio access network (NG-RAN), the agreement will look to create new solutions to manage the bandwidth requirements of data heavy mobile applications, internet and IoT services. According to Huawei, the ultra-high throughput, low latency and massive number of connections 5G will need to deliver means the current cellular network needs overhauling.

“Telefónica has certain insights about the future trends of the mobile network,” said David Wang, President of Huawei Wireless Network. “Huawei is investing massively in the 5G key enabling innovative technologies. The cooperation between Telefonica and Huawei will help to build a better connected world.”

“We are very pleased to have reached this further agreement with Huawei to keep cooperating on 5G and the next generation RAN,” said Telefónica CTO Enrique Blanco. “The collaboration with Huawei in this area allows sharing the true requirements of a global operator as Telefonica, and helping to focus on providing the right solutions on this Advanced Network at the right time.”

Along with CloudRAN and Massive MIMO projects, the project also focusses on creating a 5G radio user-centric no cell approach, which is a radical way of guaranteeing user mobility. recently spoke with a member of Telefónica’s global CTO team, Ignacio Berberana, who explained the concept of a cell-less RAN.

“We think that there needs to be a new way of supporting mobility, in the sense that it should not be linked to a specific cell so much, but to the user that is roaming between connections,” he said. “We call this the cell-less radio access network, and we think this is a good idea if we are going to have a network with Massive MIMO support where the cell edge is not so clear.”

“This cell-less radio is a radically different way of handling mobility and a change to currently defined standards or existing plans for 5G,” he said. “It may be difficult to support, but at least we would like to have the standards in such a way that this functionality can be incorporated later in the development of 5G.”

Following recent strides being made by Nokia, as well as Vodafone and Ericsson respectively, in launching a portable RAN solution; there appears to be significant amount of innovation going on in the radio access network area at present. Ostensibly one of the biggest challenges surrounding the commercial launch of 5G, the radio access network needs to be capable of delivering constant connectivity to users at unparalleled speeds compared to today’s LTE or even LTE-A.

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  1. Avatar Blaise Allen 22/06/2016 @ 1:45 pm

    This cell-less network described above looks very much like the p-cell technology Artemis developed where by each user/device has its own cell (personal cell) created from overlapping radio coverage.

    So, the concept has some validity, but I have not seen any news on the Trials that Artemis has run in SF or with Nokia.

    The other challenge, as stated would be to standardize the technology, and gain acceptance from the standards and vendor community.

  2. Avatar donglins 13/07/2016 @ 10:30 pm

    Cell-less network needs to deliver user signal to multiple base-stations and also receive the signal from multiple base-stations. It is similar to Artemis concept, which requires a huge backhaul when more users in the network. It could be a multiple sites massive MIMO system.

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