Telecom giant Verizon is at the forefront of 5G innovation. Working with key partners, Verizon has been aggressive about launching field technology trials to encourage an ambitious roadmap toward 5G network technology. Although 5G is expected to be introduced in the United States around 2020, Verizon wants to bring that date closer. Below are two of Verizon’s trial efforts that are bringing the world closer to its 5G future.
Verizon 5G Approach: Fixed Wireless
In early 2017, Verizon started testing its fixed-wireless technology in 11 markets to see how it would perform in various environments and settings. Later in the year, it added three new cities to the trials. The tests used equipment from Ericsson, Intel, Nokia, and Samsung, and will contribute to the ongoing 3GPP standards process.
The trials covered mobile hotspots and fixed wireless services using several hundred cell sites across several thousand customer locations. The tests focused on select customers, gauging their user experience and evaluating network performance to gain insight into service performance over the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum.
Verizon considers these mobile hotspots and home-based fixed wireless tests as promising early indicators that initial 5G deployments might happen in the United States as early as 2018. Verizon also established its 5G Technical Forum to collaborate with vendors such as Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, LG, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Samsung on a platform for fixed wireless trials using mmWave spectrum.
Verizon 5G Approach: Virtualization
Verizon views its continuing efforts in virtualization as foundational — particularly its work with virtualization technologies such as Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). The company sees 5G’s software-centric environment as an opportunity for new vendors to quickly and easily integrate with new systems.
According to Verizon’s SDN-NFV Reference Architecture, such advances in software technologies and cloud computing will enable the transformation of the telecommunications industry and lay the network foundation for 5G. “SDN and NFV are really a foundation for how 5G will be deployed,” said Rick Hornby, Verizon’s executive director for core network planning. “The separation of the control and user plane are all coming from what we see in the web-based environment and are part of what is happening with 5G.”
To further its SDN/NFV plans, Verizon’s Enterprise Solutions division launched its Virtual Network Service, a platform that supports the migration toward a virtual infrastructure model. The company touts the platform’s improved time-to-market, lower cost of ownership, fully automated managed and orchestration capabilities, and enterprise-controlled features and functions. The Virtual Network Service emboldens Verizon’s 5G plans, aligning its already-acknowledged NFV/SDN expertise with the fulfillment of 5G requirements.
Verizon 5G Urgency
“5G is no longer a dream of the distant future,” said Roger Gurnani, executive vice president and chief information and technology architect for Verizon. “We feel a tremendous sense of urgency to push forward on 5G and mobilize the ecosystem by collaborating with industry leaders and developers to usher in a new generation of innovation.”