Friday, 22 January 2021

NTT Docomo's 5G Network is based on 'Open RAN' Principles

I have detailed many different details from NTT Docomo over the years as they are not just one of the few innovative operators but are also very happy to share lots of interesting details. Their RAN Infrastructure post was posted in November but already reached top 5 posts on this blog. 

In a recent interview with Telecom TV, Sadayuki Abeta, Vice President & General Manager of the Radio Access Network Development Department at NTT DOCOMO, talked about the Japanese operator’s experience with Open RAN deployments, starting with its multi-vendor 4G network and now with its 5G rollouts. His talk, embedded below, points out that even though they have not yet adopted vRAN, they consider their network to be Open RAN based on the open Interface principles. 

Back in September, Docomo had couple of announcements about the 5G Base Stations based on O-RAN specifications.

The first announcement was about Docomo and NEC announcing that they have expanded multi-vendor interoperability by interconnecting a new 5G base station baseband unit (5G-CU/DU), developed by NEC and Samsung Electronics and compliant with O-RAN Alliance specifications, with 5G base station remote radio units (5G-RUs) of other vendors on DOCOMO's commercial network.

Expanding multi-vendor interoperability based on O-RAN open interface specifications will enable the most appropriate base stations to be used depending on deployment scenarios and taking advantage of specific vendor and equipment characteristics. This will drive the rapid and flexible development of 5G service areas.

The new 5G base station baseband unit from NEC realizes multi-vendor interoperability and is the result of a partnership between NEC and Samsung. It is interoperable with all existing vendors' 5G base station remote units in DOCOMO's network owing to its adoption of O-RAN open fronthaul specifications; it is also compatible with all existing 4G base stations in DOCOMO's network thanks to its adoption of O-RAN open X2 specifications.

Multi-vendor interoperability using O-RAN open fronthaul specifications was also confirmed for NEC's macro-cell 5G-RU, which provides wide area coverage, and for NEC's fronthaul multiplexer (5G-FHM), which copies and combines the fronthaul signals to and from multiple 5G-RUs to form a single area; both are new 5G base station equipment offerings.

During their collaboration, DOCOMO selected the test items, executed the multi-vendor interoperability tests and analyzed the results; NEC and Samsung Electronics supplied the 5G base station equipment and analyzed the test results.

The second announcement was about DOCOMO, Fujitsu and NEC achieving what they believe to be the world's first carrier aggregation using 5G frequency bands in a multi-vendor radio access network (RAN) based on O-RAN specs.

Carrier aggregation was achieved using the 3.7GHz and 4.5GHz bands designated for 5G networks. In addition to this dual connectivity achieved by bundling LTE bands, downlink speeds of 4.2 Gbps will be achievable, enabling ultra-fast data transmission. DOCOMO already provides commercial 5G services in Japan through a multi-vendor RAN that connects baseband units and remote radio units manufactured by Fujitsu and NEC based on O-RAN's open fronthaul specifications. The same system configuration was used to achieve this 5G carrier aggregation.

Mr. Nozomu Watanabe, Senior Executive, NEC Corporation and Mr. Sadayuki Abeta, VP & GM, Radio Access Network Development Department, NTT DOCOMO explained their Open RAN vision and approach in a Telecom TV interview baback in November which is embedded below.

It's just a matter of time before we see more of these interoperability announcements, not just for 4G & 5G but also for 2G & 3G.

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Thursday, 14 January 2021

ITU Releases 'The Last-Mile Internet Connectivity Solutions Guide'

Despite the meteoric growth of the Internet and broadband connectivity, 3.7 billion people remain offline and are excluded from the direct benefits of the global digital economy, says a new publication just released by the International Telecommunication Union, The Last-Mile Internet Connectivity Solutions Guide: Sustainable connectivity options for unconnected sites. The press release said:

While there are multiple constraints on Internet access and use, the Solutions Guide addresses those posed by gaps in infrastructure coverage and service affordability. The low return on investment in network deployment in sparsely populated areas means that, in many developing countries, connectivity is largely limited to urban areas, leaving rural and remote areas totally cut off. 

Moreover, even when telecommunication networks are present, access to the Internet may be limited by prohibitively high prices, and lower-income individuals and families may be priced out of connectivity. 

Offline populations are particularly concentrated in least developed countries (LDCs), where according to latest ITU data, only 19 per cent of individuals were online in 2019. Regionally, in Africa and Asia-Pacific, less than half the population is online: 29 and 45 per cent respectively.

Written from the perspective of localities and users in areas without Internet access, the Solutions Guide contains tools, service interventions and policy solutions that can help policy-makers to select and customize appropriate solutions to extend Internet access to their localities, taking into account their unique characteristics. 

The guide is divided into four main steps that outline the planning and policy development phases of interventions to encourage infrastructure  deployments:

  1. Identify digitally unconnected and underserved regions;
  2. Review options from existing solutions;
  3. Select sustainable solutions that best fit the given situation;
  4. Implement interventions to extend sustainable connectivity service. 

The guide draws on lessons learned by governments, service providers, technology vendors, international organizations, multilateral development banks, bilateral donors, academia and others over the past 30 years. It is intended to be a living, active guide that is continuously updated and revised. 

In addition to the Solutions Guide, ITU is developing a range of resources to help Member States address last-mile connectivity challenges, including a database of case studies and interactive last-mile connectivity diagnostic and decision-making tools. It also offers capacity-building services and assistance on design, planning and implementation, including identifying unconnected areas and providing expert guidance on the selection of sustainable technical, financial and regulatory solutions. 

The PDF is available here. You can find the database and other information here.

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Thursday, 7 January 2021

TIP Announces Total Site Solution (TSS) for Ultra-Rural Network Deployments

Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and its members have developed a Total Site Solution (TSS), an optimized, lean site configuration specifically adapted to ultra-rural environments. TIP announced the solution back in December. A clear idea can be obtained from the excellent video accompanying the announcement as follows:

The press release says:

Deploying reliable and high-speed networks to ultra-rural communities has long been one of the greatest challenges for the telecoms industry. The combination of lower population densities, lack of existing infrastructure, and availability of local expertise means that expanding networks into these areas has traditionally not been economically viable, leaving significant areas of the world unconnected. To help catalyze the industry to find a solution to this challenge, the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and its members have developed the Total Site Solution (TSS), an optimized, lean site configuration specifically adapted to ultra-rural environments.

The solution which incorporates a range of essential elements, including low-power RAN equipment, off-grid energy solutions and satellite backhaul links, has been created by a diverse group of technology partners, including vendors and local system integrators, who have built, tested, and validated each of the necessary elements and their interoperability, as well as their ability to work with TIM Brasil’s core network.

The first TSS use case targets greenfield deployments to off-grid populations of less than 5,000 people, looking to address mid to low amounts of data consumption, through a “Town Center Model” for 4G coverage and supporting VoLTE for voice service.

For the use case, TIM Brasil created the technical and business use case requirements in a Pilot Program. Initial lab trials were then conducted at TIP’s Community Lab in North Los Angeles, California, in collaboration with vendors BaiCells (RAN); Morningstar (power systems); and Gilat (satellite backhaul links) to evaluate the interoperability of the elements. After the validation in the labs, local system integrator partners WLLCTEL and Zurich/Amerinode created cost-optimized site designs tailored for ultra-rural environments. Two test sites were subsequently built to prove the design and to simplify the construction process of the sites, after which TIM Brasil conducted a field trial to test the effectiveness of the solution in preparation for market trials and commercial deployments.

TSS has now gone through TIP’s Rural Site Configuration PlugFest which has expanded the initial configuration to include additional RAN (Airspan, Parallel Wireless, VNL) and VSAT backhaul equipment vendors (including ST Engineering iDirect), and validated them against a comprehensive test plan. These proven configurations are now listed on TIP Exchange and PlugFest, making them available to all members for further trials of TSS in other areas of the world.

Next steps for the TSS project include:

  1. Sharing ultra-rural TSS test plans, site installation runbook, and RSC PlugFest summary with TIP community (linked on TSS website)
  2. Working with additional partners globally to launch the proven ultra-rural TSS configuration into networks, bringing more unconnected people online
  3. Working with ecosystem partners across the NaaS Solution Group to apply the proven TSS incubator model to develop additional NaaS use-cases
  4. Market trial with TIM Brasil in the first half of 2021

The TSS sub-site has documents and additional details here.

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Thursday, 24 December 2020

Top 5 Posts for 2020

It's nearly the end of the year so here are the top 5 posts on this blog this year:

1. Passive and Active Infrastructure Sharing - May 2020

2. SuperMicro's 5G Pole-Mounted DU Server Solution - April 2020

3. NTT Docomo's 5G RAN Infrastructure - November 2020

4. Nokia's AirScale indoor Radio (ASiR) Small Cells - July 2020

5. NEC's 5G Antenna-equipped Smart Street Lighting to be Trialled in Tokyo - June 2020

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Thursday, 17 December 2020

5G connectivity and IoT intelligence for Leuven Digital City Pole project

We have seen some interesting lamp posts and poles concept on this blog (see related posts at the end of this post). Now, Nokia announced last week that it is providing industrial-grade, 5G-ready private wireless networking to the Digital City Pole project in Leuven, Belgium. The project paves the way for future citywide 5G connectivity that will stimulate local innovation, drive productivity and create jobs, particularly among small and medium-sized businesses.

Working with the consortium led by TRES, Nokia is demonstrating use cases that leverage IoT intelligence across a new secure city data backbone. In doing so, the project will explore new revenue opportunities based on IoT data and energy marketplaces.

The TRES broader initiative will also see streetlight poles upgraded with energy-efficient LED lighting and electric vehicle charging points. Distributed extensively in urban areas, digital city poles provide an effective platform to host high performance connectivity and sensors as cities seek to introduce ubiquitous smart city services.

The Digital City Pole project is supported by the Flemish Government and the EU Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Leuven, which was recently awarded European Capital of Innovation 2020, is committed to new technologies to boost sustainable development and it aims to become one of Europe's Labs of the Future through a mission-oriented model that facilitates collaborative innovation.

In addition to Nokia 5G-ready connectivity deployed in partnership with local service provider Citymesh, Nokia will also supply its Gigabit Passive Optical Networks technology for ultra-high-speed connectivity over an end-to-end broadband network.

TRES's website does not have much information but this presentation from last year has some details of this project. The following video explains the concept and shows some real deployment and use case examples 

We will hopefully hear more about the results, etc. next year.

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Thursday, 10 December 2020

ZTE's PAD and iMacro gets 5G Upgrade

ZTE announced the Pad base stations back in 2015. From the press release:

The Pad series base stations use a distributed architecture to provide flexible networking models, meeting multi-point and multi-sector coverage requirements. The Pad baseband unit (BBU) is only one third the size of similar products making it the world's smallest outdoor BBU, and can be installed in a concealed location.

The Pad series also features a newly released remote radio unit (RRU), The Pad RRU is a similar size to a tablet, has built-in antennas, and can be mounted to poles, walls, or other common locations in stations, buildings, and streets, allowing for easy site selection for intensive coverage. With low transmit power and interference, the Pad RRU provides seamless network coverage through macro-micro coordination. Multiple Pad RRUs can be included in a logical cell to reduce handovers and provide better user experience.

Earlier this year, ZTE announced in another press release:

ZTE and the Hangzhou branch of China Telecom have deployed the industry’s first 4G/5G dual-band micro RRU supporting 3.5 GHz frequency band in Hangzhou, China. With the downlink rate reaching 1.1Gbps, it can provide users with excellent 4G/5G network experiences.

Featuring 2.1GHz LTE anchors, the latest 4G/5G dual-band 4T4R products of ZTE’s 5G Pad RRU series can realize the fast NSA network commissioning, guaranteeing the service experience of 4G/5G coverage in a 5G SA network. Moreover, it supports 3G/4G/5G multi-mode, and 200 MHz continuous ultra-large bandwidth on 3.5 GHz frequency band. 

In addition, the 4G/5G dual-band micro RRU is small in size, light in weight,  and quick to deploy, thus effectively solving the challenge of insufficient site resources and realizing fast 5G signal coverage extension. 

The pad RRU is usually installed on smart light poles, which integrate HD camera, environmental monitoring, weather sensor, screen, and new-energy vehicle charging functions. Therefore, smart light poles can monitor the real-time road conditions, such as flood, to avoid potential hazards.  

Moreover, the smart light poles can be used as a site location for 5G micro RRUs to solve the problem of insufficient coverage, and transfer live information of smart light poles in real time.

iMacro base station was launched in 2015 as well. From the press release:

The new iMacro base station, with integrated RFUs (radio frequency unit) and antennas of compactness and high performance, was debuted at the Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2015 conference in Shanghai. iMacro joins other products of the ZTE multi-scenario coverage product family, including the Pad series outdoor base stations and Qcell indoor coverage solutions, helping operators to build high-quality 4G networks.

Due to a large number of pedestrian streets, commercial streets, residential areas, and other densely-populated areas alongside urban streets, it is difficult to build new sites, leading to increasingly prominent problems of urban street coverage. Integrated RF unit and antenna unit, ultra broadband power amplification, together with its small size, light weight, compact design, and even one device is capable of multiple frequency bands, ZTE iMacro base station is what exactly operators desire. Moreover, iMacro base station is featured with flexible and rapid deployment without any site resources, which effectively makes the deployment alongside urban streets easier.

The iMacro base station, which can be pole-mounted or wall-mounted, is suitable for installation on lampposts along urban roads and bus station awnings, and can even be placed on the lamp poles along the roads or building’s façade. In the absence of new site resources, the iMacro base station provides intensive coverage in densely-populated areas, effectively enhancing the quality and capacity of network coverage. In addition, the iMacro base station with a compact and elegant appearance can perfectly blend in with the surrounding environment.

In addition to the technology innovation, ZTE also concerns the friendliness and convenience of network deployment. iMacro can connected to external devices through a single power cable and an optical fiber that is connected to the BBU, and multiple iMacro base stations are connected to one remote BBU, allowing for flexible and rapid network deployment, and significantly reducing deployment costs.

Anyway, here is a recent video on PAD and iMacro that ZTE shared on their YouTube channel

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Thursday, 3 December 2020

Samsung Talks about TCO Optimization to Accelerate 5G Network Evolution

At IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference (WCNC) 2020, Young Lee, Head of Network Architecture, Samsung Networks gave a keynote entitled “5G Network Evolution: Next Steps and Challenges.” The keynote emphasized the unbelievable rate of 5G deployment and coverage expansion, the 5G market status in Korea, the economic aspects of 5G deployment, and key technology drivers for 5G evolution. Some of the slides from that event is available here.

Young also wrote a couple of blog posts on "How to optimize total cost of ownership (TCO) to accelerate 5G network evolution". Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

The picture at the top of this post is a fantastic summary of the posts as it shows what contributes to the increase of cost and what helps in reducing the network costs. Before proceeding further, if you do not understand TCO then please check out tutorial out.

Part 1 looks at the different RAN deployment architectures as can be seen in the picture above. Quoting from the blog:

In D-RAN (Distributed RAN), the baseband is co-located with radio. All the baseband functions such as PHY, MAC, RLC, PDCP, and RRC/SDAP are done in the cell site. As basebands are centralized at Edge Cloud/DC, there is gain with simplified radio operation and site leasing cost reduction. In this sense, C-RAN is clearly a cost optimizer.

C-RAN (Centralized RAN) comes with a higher transport cost. As all baseband processing functions are moved to a central hub site, this creates a large amount of data overhead between radio and baseband. Thus, C-RAN requires a very high capacity fronthaul transport network where you may need more fibers and efficient packet switching that supports stringent synchronization. To maintain the gain by centralized architecture, C-RAN requires a fronthaul solution that is economical and technically viable to remain as a cost-optimizer.

Having addressed all these drawbacks of C-RAN, vRAN (Virtualized RAN), the new architecture, is receiving strong interest within the industry. It further enhances the flexibility by virtualizing the functions of basebands in a common resource pool made up of the COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) servers, allocating resources in a flexible manner according to traffic conditions. There is resource pooling gain with vRAN.

  • Resource Pooling gain comes from the programmable S/W control of total cell capacity allocation that can be dynamically changed per traffic conditions: for instance, when more traffic comes from some cell sites measured as the active number of UEs, then the UE allocation capacity for such cells can be dynamically increased. Likewise, when less traffic comes from some cell sites, the UE allocation capacity for such cells can be dynamically decreased.

On the other hand, O-RAN (Open RAN) can also provide cost efficiency and serve as one of the cost optimizers.

  • O-RAN function split is another opportunity to reduce the transport cost by off-loading some centralized Baseband L1 functions to the radio side. Option 7-2x is one of the standardized options by O-RAN and they are discussing other options such as Option 6.
  • O-RAN Function Split helps to reduce transport cost significantly.

Part 2 looks at reducing OPEX to make TCO lower. Four technology pillars are discussed in the blog post as can be seen from the picture above: automation, virtualization, cloudification and network slicing. Success in these four pillars, will accelerate the 5G evolution.

I am not providing the details here, best to check the Samsung blog post.

It is worth mentioning that every region, country and operator is different. While at the high level this makes complete sense, other operators may face completely different challenges. The main challenge all operators face is how to make more money as they have to continuously keep pumping money in network upgrades and new services. Nobody has an answer to the killer application and the killer use case.

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Thursday, 26 November 2020

NTT Docomo's 5G RAN Infrastructure

We looked at NTT Docomo's 5G Journey and 5G Network Deployment details recently here. In this post we will look at the 5G Infrastructure that Docomo is using in their network. It is detailed in their latest Technical Journal here. In this post we will look at the infrastructure part only.

The 5G network configuration is shown in Figure 4. With a view to 5G service development, NTT DOCOMO developed a Central Unit (CU) that consolidates the Base Band (BB) signal processing section supporting 5G, extended existing BB processing equipment known as high-density Base station Digital processing Equipment (BDE), and developed a 5G Radio Unit (RU) having signal transmit / receive functions. Furthermore, to have a single CU accommodate many RUs, NTT DOCOMO developed a 5G version of the FrontHaul Multiplexer (FHM) deployed in LTE. Each of these three types of equipment is described below.

1) CU
(a) Development concept: With the aim of achieving a smooth rollout of 5G services, NTT DOCOMO developed a CU that enables area construction without having to replace existing equipment while minimizing the construction period and facility investment. This was accomplished by making maximum use of the existing high-density BDE that performs BB signal processing, replacing some of the cards of the high-density BDE, and upgrading the software to support 5G.

(b) CU basic specifications: An external view of this CU is shown in Photo 1. This equipment has the features described below (Table 3). As described above, this equipment enables 5G-supporting functions by replacing some of the cards of the existing high-density BDE. In addition, future software upgrades will load both software supporting conventional 3G/LTE/LTE-Advanced and software supporting 5G. This will enable the construction of a network supporting three generations of mobile communications from 3G to 5G with a single CU.

The existing LTE-Advanced system employs advanced Centralized RAN (C-RAN) architecture proposed by NTT DOCOMO. This architecture is also supported in 5G with the connection between CU and RUs made via the fronthaul. Standardization of this fronthaul was promoted at the Open RAN (O-RAN) Alliance jointly established in February 2018 by five operators including NTT DOCOMO.  Since the launch of 5G services, the fronthaul in the NTT DOCOMO network was made to conform to these O-RAN fronthaul specifications that enable interoperability between different vendors, and any CU and RU that conform to these specifications can be interconnected regardless of vendor. The specifications for inter-connecting base-station equipment also con-form to these O-RAN specifications, which means that a multi-vendor connection can be made between a CU supporting 5G and a high-density BDE supporting LTE-Advanced. This enables NTT DOCOMO to deploy a CU regardless of the vendor of the existing high-density BDE and to quickly and flexibly roll out service areas where needed while making best use of existing assets. In addition, six or more fronthaul connections can be made per CU and the destination RU of each fronthaul connection can be se-lected. Since 5G supports wideband trans-mission beyond that of LTE-Advanced, the fronthaul transmission rate has been extend-ed from the existing peak rate of 9.8 Gbps to a peak rate of 25 Gbps while achieving a CU/RU optical distance equivalent to that of the existing high-density BDE.

2) RU
(a) Development concept: To facilitate flexible area construction right from the launch of 5G services, NTT DOCOMO developed the low-power Small Radio Unit (SRU) as the RU for small cells and developed, in particular, separate SRUs for each of the 3.7 GHz, 4.5 GHz, and 28 GHz frequency bands provided at the launch of the 5G pre-commercial service in September 2019. Furthermore, with an eye to early expansion of the 5G service area, NTT DOCOMO developed the Regular power Radio Unit (RRU) as the RU for macrocells to enable the efficient creation of service areas in suburbs and elsewhere.

A key 5G function is beamforming that aims to reduce interference with other cells and thereby improve the user’s quality of experience. To support this function, NTT DOCOMO developed a unit that integrates the antenna and 5G radio section (antenna-integrated RU). It also developed a unit that separates the antenna and 5G radio section (antenna-separated RU) to enable an RU to be placed alongside existing 3G/LTE/LTE-Advanced Radio Equipment (RE) and facilitate flexible installation even for locations with limited space or other constraints.

(b) SRU basic specifications: As described above, NTT DOCOMO developed the SRU to enable flexible construction of 5G service areas. It developed, in particular, antenna-integrated SRUs to support each of the 3.7 GHz, 4.5 GHz, and 28 GHz frequency bands provided at the launch of the 5G pre-commercial service and antenna-separated SRUs to support each of the 3.7 GHz and 4.5 GHz frequency bands (Photo 2). These two types of SRUs have the following features (Table 4).

The antenna-integrated RU is equipped with an antenna panel to implement the beamforming function. In the 3.7 GHz and 4.5 GHz bands, specifications call for a maximum of 8 beams, and in the 28 GHz band, for a maximum of 64 beams. An area may be formed with the number of transmit/receive beams tailored to the TDD Config used by NTT DOCOMO. In addition, the number of transmit/receive branches is 4 for the 3.7 GHz and 4.5 GHz bands and 2 for the 28 GHz band, and MIMO transmission/reception can be performed with a maximum of 4 layers for the former bands and a maximum of 2 layers for the latter band.

The antenna-separated SRU is configured with only the radio as in conventional RE to save space and facilitate installation. With this type of SRU, the antenna may be installed at a different location. Moreover, compared to the antenna-integrated SRU operating in the same frequency band, the antenna-separated SRU reduces equipment volume to 6.5ℓ or less. The antenna-separated SRU does not support the beamforming function, but features four transmit/receive branches the same as the antenna-integrated SRU for the same frequency band.

(c) RRU basic specifications: The RRU was developed in conjunction with the 5G service rollout as high-power equipment compared with the SRU with a view to early expansion of the 5G service area (Photo 3). This type of equipment has the following features (Table 5).

Compared with existing Remote Radio Equipment (RRE) for macrocells, the volume of RRU equipment tends to be larger to support 5G broadband, but in view of the latest electronic device trends, NTT DOCOMO took the lead in developing and deploying an antenna-separated RRU that could save space and reduce weight. Maximum transmission power is 36.3 W/100 MHz/branch taking the radius of a macrocell area into account. The RRU features four transmit/receive branches and achieves the same number of MIMO transmission/reception layers as the antenna-separated SRU.
NTT DOCOMO also plans to deploy an antenna-integrated RRU at a later date. The plan here is to construct 5G service areas in a flexible manner making best use of each of these models while taking installation location and other factors into account.

3) 5G FHM
The 5G FHM is equipment having a multiplexing function for splitting and combining a maximum of 12 radio signals on the fronthaul. It was developed in conjunction with the 5G service rollout the same as RRU (Photo 4).
If no 5G FHM is being used, each RU is accommodated as one cell, but when using a 5G FHM, a maximum of 12 RUs can be accommodated as one cell in a CU. At the launch of 5G services, this meant that more RUs could be accommodated in a single CU when forming a service area in a location having low required radio capacity (Figure 5). Additionally, since all RUs transmit and receive radio signals of the same cell, the 5G FHM can inhibit inter-RU interference and the occurrence of Hand-Over (HO) control between RUs as in the conventional FHM. Furthermore, the 5G FHM supports all of the 5G frequency bands, that is, the 3.7 GHz, 4.5 GHz, and 28 GHz bands, which means that service areas can be constructed in a flexible manner applying each of these frequency bands as needed.

All the fronthaul and other interfaces that Docomo used in their network was based on O-RAN alliance specifications. In a future post, we will look at some of the details.

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Thursday, 19 November 2020

Telia Norway Launches 5G Fixed-Wireless Access (FWA)

Telia Norge (Norway) claims to have become the first of the country’s CSP to introduce a Fixed-Wireless Access (FWA) 5G service. Announcing the product development in a press release, the operator said:

Telia Norway is challenging the broadband market again and is the first in the country to offer wireless broadband (FWA) with 5G. New and existing customers now have access to very high and stable internet speeds in the home delivered over Telia's super-fast 5G network. 

- We are very proud to be the first in Norway with wireless broadband with 5G. We are experiencing great demand for wireless broadband across the country, and are confident that the 5G product will be very attractive to many, especially copper customers who now need new internet, says Pål Rune Kaalen, head of the private market in Telia Norway. - We are starting the rollout in Trondheim, and will gradually open for ordering based on where in the country we have 5G coverage, and where we experience great interest from customers. In areas of great interest, we will actively prioritize the development of 5G.

5G fiber speeds

With 5G wireless broadband, you as a customer get very high and stable internet speeds at home delivered over Telia's super-fast 5G network. Initially, download speeds of 100, 200 and 300 Mbps are offered, which are the fastest speeds on the market today. In the long run, Telia will deliver even higher speeds on the product. All you need to use wireless broadband is a small outdoor antenna receiver and an indoor router, which is delivered when the product is installed in your home. The internet signals come from the nearest base station.

- We are committed to ensuring the best possible customer experience, and therefore the product comes with a dedicated outdoor antenna receiver and a market-leading Wi-Fi 6 router, which provides maximum speeds and optimal stability when surfing, streaming and playing, says Kaalen. - Furthermore, we always ensure a professional installation in your home, and since the internet signals come from a base station, you avoid extensive digging as with fiber, which provides a cheap, fast and not least flexible installation.

Existing customers who currently have 4G wireless broadband will easily be able to upgrade to 5G by replacing the antenna receiver outdoors. The wireless Wi-Fi 6 router is already ready for the new solution.

Half the population of 5G next year

Telia has high speed in the development of its national 5G network, and has so far opened the network in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Lillestrøm. Wireless broadband with 5G will be offered continuously in areas that have and receive 5G coverage. Telia's 5G development is taking place area by area throughout the country, and during the next year, half the population will have access to 5G where they live. Telia will be the first with a nationwide 5G network by the end of 2023.

- More and more people will have the opportunity to order wireless broadband with 5G in the time ahead, and as a customer it pays to choose Telia, as we are at the forefront of 5G development in this country while delivering the fastest internet speeds, says Kaalen. - At the same time, we are working hard to be able to deliver a leading TV offer through wireless broadband, so we will come up with more exciting news soon.

Telia wireless broadband with 5G is offered with download speeds of 100, 200 and 300 Mbps, with 50 Mbps in common upload speeds. The fixed monthly price is NOK 699, 799 and 999, respectively, and the installation cost is NOK 3,499 for new and existing customers. The product comes with a dedicated outdoor antenna receiver and market-leading Wi-Fi 6 routers - both from the renowned network manufacturer Zyxel. 

Their Wireless Broadband page provides more information on the different types of broadband and the price plans. 

We have explained FWA in our tutorial here. The tutorial video is embedded below.

Worth noting that the 5G network by Telia Norway is from Ericsson.

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Thursday, 12 November 2020

TIM and INWIT to deploy small cells in Italy

INWIT (Italian Wireless Infrastructures) is currently Italy’s major Tower Operator providing widespread coverage throughout the country, hosting the transmission equipment for all main national operators. Back in March, INWIT became the largest tower company in Italy after purchase, by INWIT, of a minority stake of 43.4% of the share capital of Vodafone Towers and for the subsequent merger of the latter into INWIT. 

In a press release last week, TIM and INWIT announced:

TIM and INWIT started a collaboration to deploy small cells in Italy’s major cities in order to make the mobile phone signal more performing and support the development of 5G.

The collaboration will begin in Milan and Genoa where it is expected to install about 100 small cells and will continue in other cities and places with high traffic density, as the support of micro-antennas will be needed to achieve an optimal 5G network.

Small cells are small antennas built and used to integrate the signal that is guaranteed by the systems placed on traditional towers. Despite the spread throughout the territory of traditional macro towers (INWIT has over 22,000 sites) and despite the fact that their number is growing to meet the ever-increasing demand for mobile connections by customers, more and more small cells systems capable of increasing the quality of the signal will be developed in large urban centers.

Small cells play a fundamental role, especially for the development and perfect functioning of 5G and its services. Indeed, this new technology features low latency (a minimum delay between the request and the reception of information) and a data transmission speed ten times faster than previous systems. In order to maintain these characteristics and to allow all connected devices to operate at their best, the quality of the 5G radio signal must always be optimal.

TIM and INWIT have already experimented underground solutions in several municipalities, such as small cells that are inserted in manholes under the road surface that, especially in venues with a remarkable artistic value or in ancient towns, by no means alter the artistic integrity.

It is interesting to see that there there has already been some experimentation with small cells in manhole covers. We have written extensively about it and you can find some of the posts in the references below.

It is also important to point out that in the announcement above, it says: "Small cells are small antennas built and used to integrate the signal that is guaranteed by the systems placed on traditional towers. "

Small Cells definition can be quite loose, so not sure what they mean by this. In the USA, outdoor Small cells is generally used to refer to Remote Radio Heads (RRHs) rather than an all in one unit. It can mean that.

Small cell forum also clarified the definition of 5G small cell that is available here.

TelecomTV in their newsletter on Monday said: "The team at TIM (Telecom Italia) tells us that the small 5G RAN nodes being deployed in partnership with towers firm INWIT will be for TIM’s use only, and that technology from multiple vendors will be used, though the initial rollouts in Milan and Genoa will use small cells supplied by Ericsson. "

Hopefully we will find out more details in the near future.

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