Ericsson and O2 Telefónica showcase some Cloud RAN 5G mmWave action

Data Cloud Technologies. Futuristic Interface on digital monitor

Kit vendor Ericsson and operator O2 Telefónica have put together a proof of concept demonstrating Cloud RAN and mmWave technology in Germany.

The firms claim the demonstration, which took place at O2 Telefónica’s Wayra innovation hub in Munich, is Europe’s first Cloud RAN 5G mmWave use case demo.

It used a centralized control unit (CU) and mmWave frequency to achieve an end-to-end speed of more than 4 gigabits per second, and the collaborating firms say it ‘validates the feasibility of Cloud RAN for enterprise and industry-specific use cases as well as fixed wireless access (FWA) use cases.’

Cloud RAN and virtualisation are relatively new terms in the industry, and in essence the significant change is that it moves computational processes that would usually done at the tower into the cloud.

The release summarises the benefits of this approach as this: ‘By virtualizing the RAN and adopting a cloud-native, standardized architecture, O2 Telefónica will gain the ability to respond rapidly to customer needs, introduce new products and services with greater flexibility and agility, and realize benefits such as faster service delivery, improved scalability and enhanced cost efficiency.’

A more specific use case related to this project is referenced in the shape of a ‘data shower’, an apparent new concept in the automotive industry which enables the deployment of software updates to vehicles in production lines via mmWave technology for high-bandwidth transfer.

“The partnership between Ericsson and O2 Telefónica demonstrates our commitment to achieving significant breakthroughs on our path to build the networks of the future,” said Daniel Leimbach, Head of Customer Unit Western Europe at Ericsson. “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.”

Mallik Rao, Chief Technology & Information Officer of O2 Telefónica added: “O2Telefónica 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.”

The trial will serve as a foundation for O2 Telefónica’s to roll out Cloud RAN technology to its macro networks, we’re told.

Other operators are looking at the technology as well – late last year, BT ran a Cloud RAN trial in Leeds which it said will ‘serve as a proof of concept for future developments’, and around the same time Australia’s Telstra carried out its first 5G data call using cloud-based networking tech, which it said ‘clears the way for the wider deployment of Ericsson’s cloud RAN technology.’


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