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Jul 13 2016

Operators - could this be the ‘perfect’ base station?

Twitter: @suSandhu

As we continue our series of blogs about Nokia AirScale Radio Access, we take a look at the AirScale Base Station to show what it can do for operators.

Have you ever wondered - is there such a thing as the ‘perfect’ base station? Probably not, but if there was, what would it look like? And most importantly, what capabilities would it need in order to satisfy an operator’s wish-list?

It’s clear that the next generation of base station must help operators to make the most of the business opportunities of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT).

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So, what are the top must-haves of a ‘perfect’ base station?

  1. It must be 5G-ready
  2. It must support any radio technology
  3. It must support vastly diverse use cases
  4. It must work with existing radio networks
  5. It must be fast to install on any site
  6. It must be environmentally-friendly
  7. It must have huge capacity that scales to any demand
  8. It must have an unbeatably low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
  9. It must look really cool (just kidding)

That’s a pretty good wish-list for any operator.

Now, it’s time to take the ultimate test. How does the Nokia AirScale Base Station measure up?

First, it is certainly flexible. It can run any radio technology (GSM, WCDMA, FDD-LTE, TD-LTE, LTE-A Pro, and is 5G ready) and it works with all network architectures (Distributed RAN, Single RAN, Centralized RAN and Cloud RAN), giving the flexibility to deliver low latency and massive broadband to support the diverse demands that operators will need to meet in the coming years.

Nor does an operator need to rip out its existing radio network to be able to take advantage of the new base station’s capabilities. AirScale Base Station is backwards-compatible so operators can mix and match AirScale and legacy network elements to make full use of their existing investments.

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Easy to install? We’ve got you covered! Where conventional base stations typically have several boxes that need to be implemented, the compact and highly integrated AirScale base station comprises only one unit to be deployed. Its OneClip installation allows an easy ‘slide and lock’ zero-bolt installation with horizontal or vertical mounting on any site. Simple and compact mountings reduce installation time by two thirds and cut the physical footprint by a factor of three. This all means operators can deploy the base stations practically anywhere, and make them almost invisible.

In operation, AirScale is more environmentally-friendly because it uses up to 60% less power than even our previous Flexi base stations that still lead the market in terms of energy efficiency. In addition, smart features can shut off parts of the network during times of minimal or zero traffic to achieve even lower energy consumption. As well as reducing emissions, such capabilities cut operating costs and make good business sense for operators.

As for scalability, the base station’s System Module has 10x the capacity of previous generation units and can be scaled up by chaining an unlimited number of modules together, while further baseband processing can be added from the cloud. With demand for connectivity and mobile broadband continuing to rocket, such scalability is essential for operators to keep pace with their customers’ needs.

All of these capabilities add up to 50% lower TCO than previous base stations.

China Mobile already onboard

The many benefits and promise of AirScale Base Station has already led to it winning its first major order. Under a frame agreement, valued at up to EUR 1.36 billion, Nokia will deploy the AirScale Base Station to China Mobile as part of joint effort to meet ever-growing demand in a country where the majority of internet users – 620 million of a total 688 million – use mobile devices to connect.

So is AirScale Base Station the ‘perfect’ base station?  Maybe I’m biased, but I am struggling to explain why it wouldn’t be. See for yourself:

To find out more about AirScale Base Station and the complete AirScale Radio Access system, watch our recent webinar available on demand and see our BTS brochure on our webpage.

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

About Sukhpreet Sandhu

Sukhpreet is a marketing manager at Nokia and a self-described “original in a world of copies”. This is why she’s the perfect caretaker of our unique AirScale Base Station (from our AirScale Radio Access solution family) as well as our Flexi 10 BTS family. Tweet her at @suSandhu.

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