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BT trials some Cloud RAN in Leeds

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UK telecoms group BT has set up a Cloud RAN trial in Leeds which will ‘serve as a proof of concept for future developments.’

Cloud RAN units have been installed at various locations in Leeds city centre through which BT will track how the infrastructure improves access in the area.

This trial, led by BT Wholesale and using the EE and Three networks, ‘will enhance coverage and connectivity for those visiting, working or living in Leeds and serve as a proof of concept for future developments.’ BT says that in the future Cloud RAN kit could be installed as individual street works or fitted in existing street-furniture, such as lampposts or CCTV, in order to deliver 5G signal.

BT cites the subsequent benefits of improved to 5G connectivity brought about by Cloud RAN as the creation of virtual classrooms, air quality and pollution monitoring, and improved support for assisted living.

“The introduction of this new technology highlights BT’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions that benefit residents, businesses, and visitors, whilst also supporting economic growth across Leeds and the wider UK,” said Alex Tempest, Managing Director, BT Wholesale. “This trial represents another step in transforming connectivity for the future and will help us better understand how 5G can best be delivered to meet the demands of the country.”

Earlier this year, Ericsson and Intel opened a new technology hub in California which pools the R&D resources of both firms in the pursuit of Cloud RAN applications. Based within Ericsson’s D-15 facility in Santa Clara, the Ericsson-Intel Tech Hub is looking at power management and containerized network function (CNF) applications on upcoming generations of processing platforms.

And last week Ericsson, and Telstra collaborated on a trial, which they claimed was the first of its kind to be conducted in the southern hemisphere, which involved a 5G data call using a range of Ericsson’s cloud-based networking technologies.

One of the benefits of Cloud RAN appears to be you can improve coverage in urban areas by peppering a high street with lots of compact units – and that certainly seems to the main spin of this announcement. The telecoms industry certainly isn’t shy of a trial or two, but improving the chances of getting a good signal in built up areas seems like one of the more practical stated aims for doing so.

 

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