BARCELONA, Spain — Telefónica España is working with Quortus on private LTE technology, based on mobile edge computing (MEC).
Named LTE Nano, the technology is basically a 4G network in a box. It’s built around Quortus’ EdgeCentrix, which takes evolved packet core software and puts it at the edge. The partners were displaying it at Mobile World Congress today.
Quortus sees private cellular offerings such as LTE Nano – deployed on licensed, license-exempt, or deregulated spectrum – as early use cases for MEC. And for its part, Telefónica is advocating the use of private cellular for the benefit of its industrial and enterprise customers.
LTE Nano delivers all-IP mobile broadband for a range of scenarios such as remote industrial locations and temporary deployment at events. The LTE network can be deployed within minutes, providing an instant hotspot.
Telefónica isn’t the first to work on private cellular. GE Digital, Nokia, and Qualcomm Technologies recently demonstrated a private LTE network for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market.
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Quortus’ Edge Computing
Last year at Mobile World Congress, Quortus focused on MEC as a technology. “MEC was our big theme last year,” said Quortus CTO Riki Dolby. “Now, we’re ready for the market to take the next step; we’re focused on private LTE in particular.”
One use for private LTE is what Quortus calls “local breakout” where enterprises can access their cellular data for their applications — such as for Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity within industrial environments.
Quortus’ software splits the user plane and the control plane, processing the user plane traffic at the customer premises, while the control plane is managed from the core network.
“In a normal cell network, all traffic goes back to the core,” said Dolby. “But if I’m an enterprise and want to get cell data into my IT systems, I don’t really want it reaching out to my control.” Hospitals, for example, need data to stay within their buildings. “It’s that breakout, handing the IT manager the data quickly, that is most powerful, and giving the IT manager control over who can and can’t access the breakout sessions.”
But unless Quortus is working within de-regulated spectrum, “you have to have some relationship with an operator in some form,” said Dolby. “The challenge is with spectrum.”
Quortus has access to Telefónica’s licensed spectrum in its work on LTE Nano.
Quortus technology was on display at about 20 stands at Mobile World Congress, including at Cavium’s booth, where it was part of a Mobile Central Office Re-Architected as a Data Center (M-CORD) demonstration.