Telco infrastructures evolve to set the stage for 5G 

5G networks are being built in non-traditional cell sites.

Telecommunications providers believe that the 5G technology still has a long way to go in Asia despite its commercial availability in 14 countries, including India and Vietnam. But in the global scene, the telecommunications industry is already preparing for the entry of 6G. This leaves Asian industry players no choice but to double their efforts in developing infrastructures that will bolster 5G employment.

GSMA projected that by 2025, there will be more than 400 million 5G connections in the region, representing 14% of the total mobile connections. This is higher in developed economies, such as Australia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. 

“We're still in the early early stages of many 5G deployments throughout the world. There are new spectrum bands, and new technologies still to be built out,” Andrew Bender, the Chief Technology Officer at DZS, told Asian Telecom.  

“In DZS, we are already working with standards bodies, industry groups, and others to define the path to 6G. Not that we're done with 5G yet, but over the next five to eight years, we'll start to see another wave of technology emerge in how we build mobile networks. We'll have to get ready for that, as well.”

Innovation driver

Bender sees Asia as the key market driving innovation in 5G networks, particularly in Japan, Korea, and some parts of Southeast Asia. He deemed these markets as the “first movers” in the operator community seeking to advance 5G adoption. 

“There is a vibrant market activity there in terms of communications and innovation. We are seeing a lot of growth there as we communicate publicly to the market,” he said. In this light, DZS views Asia as a key strategic region for the deployment of 5G in OpenRAN space amongst others.

“We're going to continue to invest in this area, not just with C1216RO, but a range of solutions for indoor for outdoor in the carrier networks, but also on-premises, in buildings, in inland scenarios, all providing that connection with optical connectivity from the radios into the core of the network to enable those 5G experiences.”

Bender said with 5G technology, an improved speed, faster compared to wired networks and even optical networks can be expected. It will also bring new applications that will change the way consumers live, work, and play. 

“There are some exciting new concepts emerging related to 5G—low latency services, vertical enterprise type services, and not just virtual reality, but industrial applications for control, private networks for the enterprise using the 5G network,” he said, noting that for their part, DZS has included technology that will enable these new concepts in its portfolio. 

Rakuten Mobile

In pursuit of advancing 5G adoption, Bender said DZS is working to bring the market new technology that will provide a new suite of solutions. Through the Chronos C1216RO, DZS provides the flexibility, mobility, and ease of deployment necessary for the successful rollout of 5G across the world. 

“We're starting to build new 5G networks. There are non-traditional cell sites, which are places that are not in ordinary base stations. [This is] related to the idea of densification of more and more cell sites being deployed closer to subscribers to get more performance, more capacity to the network,” Bender explained. 

“Our products support a key enabling technology called packet-based fronthaul.”

The Open RAN fronthaul gateway (FHG) was deployed at Rakuten Mobile’s network, with over 17,000 units, serving more than 5 million Rakuten subscribers.

Through this, Rakuten was able to match, if not exceed, their competitor’s upload and download speeds, giving users a better experience in video streaming, gaming, and voice application experiences to subscribers. 

It also paved the way for Rakuten to quickly and efficiently expand its reach to support millions of subscribers and allow more room for expansion at no cost to the quality of its service. 

“This whole strategy, this specific offering is one of many that we're working together with Rakuten,” he shared. “[These] are enabling service providers to transform from their traditional role of being just connectivity providers into experience providers for new applications, new capabilities, new experiences.

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