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A new way to roll out 5G

A new way to roll out 5G

With 5G networks growing fast, communications service providers (CSPs) are building and running standalone 5G base stations alongside those for legacy wireless technologies. The capital and operating costs of all that infrastructure can add up fast. If only there were some way to run multiple technologies from a single base station. Well, in fact, there is: Nokia’s new Single RAN solution. The way we see it, this is a real game-changer.

A base station for every technology…

Excitement around 5G has been building since the first commercial 5G networks were launched in spring 2019, delivering on the promise of a consistently high-quality user experience. Nokia networks 5G speed reached 4.7 Gbps in May 2020, and in Korea tripling data use and boosting revenue streams for regional CSPs. More recently, in November 2020, we showcased speeds of over 8 Gbps in Elisa's network in Finland.

Most 5G radio networks so far have been built “non-standalone”, meaning the new 5G base stations have been added to existing 4G sites and networks. This has made 5G rollouts faster and easier by allowing CSPs to continue using their 4G core networks. Recently, some CSPs have started building standalone 5G base stations at existing 4G sites, connected directly to brand-new 5G cores. This has allowed them to offer new and more compelling 5G services.

But standalone or non-stand alone, CSPs have still had to deploy separate base stations for 5G, 4G and older networks and services.

Not anymore.

...Or all for one and one for all

With Nokia Single RAN, just one base station can run concurrently 5G, 4G, 3G and 2G technologies. It can be activated and configured remotely, and any technologies can be deactivated just as quickly when they’re no longer needed. That means CSPs can roll out new 5G services in just seconds instead of months, and they no longer have to test and verify multiple software releases at the same time.

Single RAN base station sites are also much simpler to operate and maintain than conventional ones because they can share hardware resources efficiently among all technologies and make use of common antenna lines, synchronization, backhaul, maintenance and administration, and power systems.

They also cost less to run, and use about 30% less power, which means less need for cooling, which compounds the savings. And with a single base station instead of many, CSPs can also expect savings in operations, maintenance, spare parts and site rent. In fact, 5G with Single RAN can reduce total cost of ownership by over 30% compared to single radio access technology solutions.

Single RAN BTS architecture

Faster to 5G than you ever thought possible

Nokia Single RAN software has already been deployed to more than a million sites, and we anticipate strong double-digit annual growth when we launch Single RAN with 5G support at full commercial scale in 2021. With Single RAN, the 5G future is really here, and you can be ready for 5G faster than you ever thought possible with remote software activation in matter of seconds rather than months.

Harry Kuosa

About Harry Kuosa

Harry Kuosa is Nokia’s Head of Single RAN and Zero Emissions marketing. Harry holds a BSc. in Electrical Engineering and his 30+ years telecoms experience covers most types of transmission and access networks. He is passionate about 5G and his current zero emissions role, but still makes time to enjoy skiking in the beautiful Finnish countryside.

Tweet me at @harkuo

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