Network intelligence software company AirHop Communications joined the second wave of the SK Telecom-hosted Telecom Infra Project (TIP) Ecosystem Accelerator Center (TEAC) event in Seoul, South Korea. At TEAC, AirHop will build and extend its self-organizing networks (SON) platform to support network intelligence for 5G New Radio (NR) use cases.
According to a recent report from research and analyst firm SNS Telecom & IT, Self-Organizing Networks in the 5G Era: 2019 – 2030, the increasing complexity of modern-RAN mobile networks will grow investments in SON technology by 11 percent between 2019 and 2022. This complexity is attributed largely to network densification, spectrum heterogeneity, and the start of 5G NR infrastructure roll outs. The report also predicts that by the end of 2022, SON technology will be a $5.5 Billion market.
SON technology, according to SNS, eliminates the manual configuration of network elements at the time of deployment. This minimizes the lifecycle cost of running a mobile network, and it improves network performance.
Previously, SON has been used in LTE and heterogeneous network (HetNet) deployments. In these deployments the technology accelerates service rollout, simplifies network upgrades, and improves call quality. Initially, it was built to streamline cellular RAN deployment and optimization. However, the addition of new capabilities is extending the scope of SON to include both mobile core and transport network segments, making the technology applicable to 5G use cases.
Particularly, SNS says that SON will help to enable network slicing, spectrum management, predictive resource allocation, and automated deployment of 5G virtualized network functions (VNFs).
In AirHop’s case, it has a commercially deployed virtualized LTE SON platform, named eSON. AirHop eSON leverages a hybrid architecture and a scalable software platform to provide the benefits of SON. The AirHop technology delivers multi-cell coordination of wireless network resources, optimized coverage, capacity, and mobility. These features help the network adapt to the changing environment surrounding the network.
Its participation in the TEAC with SK Telecom is meant to accelerate the commercialization of SON for 5G networks.
The TEACs are TIP programs intended to foster an ecosystem of entrepreneurs and innovative investors to accelerate trials and initiate the development of deployable infrastructure offerings to the telecom industry. Each center is hosted in partnership with TIP and a global telecom service provider — SK Telecom (in Seoul), Orange (in Paris), BT (in the U.K.), and Deutsche Telekom (in Germany).
Last year, SK Telecom hosted three startups at its TEAC in Seoul — Optella, Kulcloud, and Transcelestial — each working on 5G-relevant technologies. AirHop is the first of three companies to join Wave 2 of the Seoul TEAC. The technologies developed within the centers are to be tested by SK Telecom’s 5G trial networks.
SK Telecom plans to launch its commercial 5G in the second half of 2019. It has also participated in extensive 5G trials that tested technologies such as millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum; massive input, massive output (MIMO) transmission; and network slicing.