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Transform your 5G network design with a digital twin

Transform your 5G network design with a digital twin

In the highly competitive telecommunications world, outstanding network performance is key. Migrating traffic to high-performance 5G networks helps enhance mobile user experience and increase revenue opportunities. An optimized 5G network design enables a fast introduction of new advanced services and helps maximize the utilization of network assets.  All of which requires quick, accurate and cost-effective site design.

The traditional way of designing radio access sites relies heavily on manual work, suffers from human error and inaccuracies in measurements, and often requires site revisits. This could result in deployment delays, unforeseen costs and lower network performance.

Nokia uses a novel approach: we create a full digital twin of the site, which revolutionizes site design. A digital twin is a digital, accurate replica of the site, always accessible in an easy-to-use format. Based on our experience in the field, this approach is 20 percent faster than the manual-driven methods for site design, much less prone to error and reduces site visits by 30 percent.

Listen to this interesting podcast on the power of digital twin technology for radio access network deployments.

First-time-right, each and every time

There is really no way around it: to capture all the site details, a site visit is necessary. It involves taking inventory of the occupied space, existing installations and structures, health and safety risks, and much more. To make the process as smooth as possible, Nokia’s approach is based on a digital site survey. We visit the site just once and capture the data in a structured way. Our predefined drone flights are operated by a pilot on ground level, which can eliminate the costly and time-consuming tower climbs and reduce the related health and safety risks. At rooftop structures and indoor facilities, we perform scans with handheld LIDAR devices.

We collect important data and measurements that impact the site performance, including installation height, antenna tilt, azimuth angles and other related measurements. We upload the data and images directly to a cloud database for further digital processing and easy access at any stage of the site engineering process. Our analytics tools automatically analyse the images to identify elements such as radios and antennas, tag the photos and create site inventory listings. We also leverage 3D measurements to precisely verify the positions and dimensions of all site elements.

Once the accurate data is harvested from the site, we process all the information with automated digital tools.

Best-fitting site solution with high-quality design documents

After the digital site survey, the next phase is automated site design. Our fully digital approach ensures the speedy creation of the best-fitting, high-quality site solution.

Our centralized Site Engineering Center of Expertise has the capacity for a quick project turnaround. With the help of our automated site design algorithms, they transform the digital site survey data into the following deliverables:

  • 2D CAD drawings with enhanced visualization features. A clear, visual site design supports all planning activities, including discussions for site lease contracts.

  • Standardized site solutions to avoid unnecessary variance in site design and configurations. This will ease spare part management, network maintenance and any future upgrades.

  • A failure-free Bill of Material for each site to support logistics processes with the highest accuracy.

  • Best-of-class site design documents available 20 percent faster.

Throughout the entire process, the full set of site data is readily accessible whenever needed by the certified personnel involved in the planning, designing, deploying and operating of the radio access network. Of course, this is also a direct feed into our Digital Site Twin.

Let me also highlight our latest process enhancement: the integration of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) standard, which originates from the construction industry and is designed to support the lifecycle of complex projects. Nokia is introducing BIM to telecommunications infrastructure projects to address the complex interdependencies of time, cost, facility management and efficiency even better than before.

Digital twin at the heart of site engineering

We use the outputs of the digital site survey and the digital site design to create an accurate, virtual copy of the site – the digital twin. It unlocks numerous opportunities for leveraging the collected site data.

A key area is the site engineering related analysis, which becomes easier, faster and more precise. For example, the digital twin helps simulate and analyze the behavior of the bearing structures, antennas, radios, baseband units, power equipment – it covers all the elements of the radio site. With a virtual site walk, we can quickly spot potential site issues such as blockages and space congestion and address them before they impact the site operation or performance.

The digital twin helps optimize the site layout, the workflow and the network performance. It can identify coverage gaps and predict future needs for site upgrades. By leveraging the underlying secondary data attached to each item, the digital twin also helps estimate the needed material and effort for new projects, enabling accurate and predictable planning to manage the site evolution.

We can help you maximize the business value of your entire network lifecycle with our unique approach that combines innovative digital platforms and service expertise. Visit our Deployment services webpage and reach out to us to discuss more.

Deepak Harie

About Deepak Harie

With more than 25 years in the telecommunications industry, Deepak is a dynamic senior executive who is passionate about using business transformation, digitalization, and innovation to drive superior customer experience. He currently leads Nokia's largest network technical support and deploy business, where he is responsible for the strategy, portfolio, delivery model and business performance across deployment, software and hardware support, and customer training. He has most recently prior to that also led the Cloud and SI professional services unit for Nokia.

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