Nokia said it planned to deploy the initial 5G First platforms in mid-2017.
5G First incorporates Nokia’s AirScale massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) Adaptive Antennas, the AirScale Radio Access, and AirScale cloud radio access network (cRAN) technology. The 5G solution also includes Nokia’s Cloud Packet Core (which is a cloud-native core architecture) and 5G Acceleration Services. The company is collaborating with Intel on its 5G modems.
In addition, Nokia will use the lessons learned through these real-world 5G First deployments to contribute to final 3GPP standardization of the technology.
5G First Components
To offer a comprehensive, cloud-native core architecture that delivers the flexibility, scalability, and performance that operators need to rapidly and cost-effectively deliver 5G services, Nokia has infused 5G First with its existing end-to-end network capabilities:
- AirScale Massive MIMO Adaptive Antennas. According to the company, these antennas use techniques such as massive MIMO to achieve increases in capacity. Tight integration between radio frequency and antenna elements reduces the risk of interference, the company said.
- AirScale Radio Access. This solution includes the AirScale Base Station, the AirScale Cloud Base Station Server, and the Nokia AirScale RNC running on Nokia AirFrame cloud infrastructure. In addition, it includes AirScale WiFi, as well as WiFi Access Points and the AirScale WiFi Controller running on Nokia AirFrame hardware.
- AirScale Cloud RAN. This product allows customers to run radio functions in large data centers or in small distributed sites, or even combine them. It lets companies automatically scale network capacity as demand changes, launch new services in hours instead of months, and meet any demand.
- Cloud Packet Core. This core architecture anchors multi-technology access across wireless licensed, shared, unlicensed spectrum, and fixed network technologies. With hybrid access, wireless and fixed capacity is combined to increase bandwidth and performance, improve reliability, and enhance the experience.
“We are able to leverage our breadth of expertise to deliver a true end-to-end 5G First network and services solution,” says Samih Elhage, president of mobile networks at Nokia. “Working with operators such as Verizon, we can help them tailor deployments to meet their own customers’ unique demands and capitalize first on the opportunities this will bring.”
5G First Expansion
As of August 2017, Nokia is broadening the reach of its 5G First solution, focusing on early 5G mobility use cases, including enhanced mobile broadband and ultra-reliable, ultra-low latency communications. Nokia will push for accelerated 3GPP industry standardization while building on early customer interest in 5G First.
The company’s 5G First field experience has generated insights into areas such as the use of radio propagation in higher frequencies, massive MIMO and beamforming, integration with existing networks, the use of small cells, and the importance of cloud-native core and cloud RAN technologies.
The Building Blocks of 5G First
Nokia 5G First offers the building blocks necessary for a 5G deployment. Operators that invest in 5G First can prepare their 5G strategies/implementations even before standardization has been finalized.