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Apr 07 2016

Nokia AirScale radio access launch heralds new era for networks

Twitter: @ksahala

Here, we kick off a new series of blogs about Nokia AirScale, giving you the  inside scoop on how this new generation of radio access is changing  the way networks are built.

When we unveiled the new Nokia AirScale Radio Access, we promised that the future of networks would look very different. In case you missed the teaser and for the launch, we billed AirScale as ‘the biggest thing you’ll ever see is the biggest thing you’ll never see’.

So did the launch live up to expectations?  Were operators convinced that Nokia AirScale Radio Access would meet their needs? And, most importantly, what comes next?

To answer the first question, the feedback at Mobile World Congress 2016 turned out to be very enthusiastic. Comments like ‘You’re showing real systems (with 5G), this is impressive’ and ‘AirScale blew my mind’ showed just how much the new technology was appreciated by those who saw it in action.

The influx of such positive comments underscores just how important this launch is, not just for Nokia, but for the whole industry.  Radio access as a whole needs to be rethought for the future, and any new products need to be extremely flexible and adaptable for upcoming changes in the industry.

With 5G technologies developing rapidly, new demands from the growing Internet of Things (IoT) and increasingly high customer expectations, operators need a new approach to building networks that deliver extreme low latency and massive broadband to meet widely diverse uses.

Nokia AirScale is more than prepared to meets these needs as it’s far more than just a new base station. Remember that line about the ‘biggest thing you’ll ever see’?

Nokia AirScale
AirScale is not a new box, or boxes, but a complete radio access generation, running on traditional Distributed RAN sites as well as Centralized and Cloud RAN. As such, there’s is a massive effort behind the scenes, quietly performing out of view.

Running all radio technologies simultaneously in one base station, AirScale can be scaled to virtually unlimited capacity and uses 60% less energy than even our previous Flexi radio access platform, which, incidentally, is still the market leader in energy efficiency.

Nokia AirScale supports openness, closing the gap between IT and telco worlds. With Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) running on the same servers as AirScale Cloud RAN, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are opened up to a world of new applications, services, plug-ins integrated into the RAN and the use of information from real radio conditions. Rapid delivery of software is provided by Cloud RAN on an IT platform, bringing a new level of agility and performance to networks.

To demonstrate its many capabilities at MWC 2016, operators were able to get their hands on the AirScale base station, and watch it run 5G with 5Gbps data rates and under 1ms latency, to enable a cool and fun virtual reality application.

Yet virtual reality is just one of the exciting user applications that AirScale will enable.  With its high performance and flexibility, AirScale will be able to support applications as wide ranging as ultra-reliable communications for autonomous vehicles, ultra-low latency connectivity for synchronizing  industrial robotics, new live broadcasting services at large events, and many more.

Why not join our webinar on the 13th of April to hear how Airscale is changing the way that networks will be built? Here are some of your questions that we’ll be answering:

  • Why will changing and unpredictable demands mean radio networks must be rethought?
  • Why will the demands of LTE-Advanced Pro, IoT and 5G require a more flexible network with unified access?
  • How can traditional RAN architecture evolve to Centralized and Cloud-based RAN architecture?
  • How can networks be built with substantially lower energy consumption?

Watch for more updates on this event on Social Media and @nokianetworks

For a deeper dive, visit our AirScale webpage.

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #AirScale #radio #5G #MWC16 #innovation

About Kai Sahala

Kai is head of Radio Marketing, Mobile Networks. He has a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Helsinki and over 20 years of experience in telecommunications, which is slightly ironic given his passion for sailing on the high seas, way, way out of network reach.