Will 5G place indoor coverage centre stage at MWC?
A provider of HetNet wireless network planning tools, is predicting far greater emphasis this year at Mobile World Congress (#MWC20) on ultra-reliable indoor connectivity, Open RAN architectures and automation, following initial network deployment.3
With 5G deployments intensifying, Ranplan believes that one of the key themes at this year’s Congress will be the challenge to perfect wireless connectivity inside and in close proximity to buildings in dense urban environments.
Other hot topics at this month’s MWC will be the emergence of more intelligent and dynamic networks through artificial intelligence (AI)-led automation, as well as the increasing drive for network openness and interoperability led by the O-RAN Alliance.
As mmWave spectrum becomes broadly available, service providers will be strongly incentivised to dramatically improve the capabilities of cellular networks indoors. Ranplan envisages that within the next few years, the proportion of larger buildings in urban areas with dedicated cellular networks will increase at least five-fold from the current level of approximately 2%. The company expects global spend in this area will reach US$11 billion (€10 billion) by 2023. A special impetus is likely to come, it says, from the private 4G(LTE)/5G stampede, epitomised by CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service).
The increasing drive for openness and interoperability of networks will see more support for the O-RAN Alliance at this year’s MWC, according to Per Lindberg, CEO of Ranplan Group AB. “While the major operators are keen to reduce costs, avoid vendor lock-in and encourage more sharing of infrastructure, the move away from proprietary networks will also encourage innovation, multi-party collaboration and reduce the dominance of the major equipment providers, opening up exciting new opportunities for smaller vendor,” he says.
Over the next few years, networks will be much more dynamic, flexible and intelligent, leveraging AI-led automation tools to adapt to varying traffic demands and exploiting the powers of network slicing algorithms to instantly modify themselves.
“Ranplan’s roadmap is strategically aligned with the principles of O-RAN Alliance as there are obvious benefits attached to open interfaces and full interoperability in a multi-vendor environment. We recognise that these attributes are absolutely essential to the realisation of network slicing as well as automation and optimisation of network operations,” Lindberg adds.
“Network slicing epitomises the real-time adaptability of the network architecture of the future. Its realisation is set to deliver highly desirable and tangible benefits – in terms of both cost and performance – to consumers, enterprises and operators,” comments Professor Jie Zhang, founder and chairman of the board of directors of Ranplan Group AB.
At MWC 2020, Ranplan will be showing the latest capability of its flagship platform, Ranplan Professional. Version 6.0 is powered by the next generation propagation engine, Ranplan Maxwell, a vector-based deterministic, true 3D ray-launching/tracing engine, providing increased accuracy and faster prediction speeds. This new edition platform also paves the way for a cloud-native and multi-vendor environment, embracing open interfaces and automation.
The company will also be featuring its Collaboration Hub (C-HUB), a secure, cloud-based project management and workflow platform that allows operators, system integrators and equipment vendors to work together and gain real-time project status overview. The C-HUB is already being used to support OSS integration with a large mobile operator in Japan.
Also featured at MWC will be Ranplan In-Building, an indoor network planning and optimisation platform designed specifically for large, complex in-building projects where high-density indoor coverage is a challenge. In addition, Ranplan Tablet caters to the needs of non-RF engineers to help reduce the time of onsite RF planning by quickly capturing site survey information, rapidly creating preliminary indoor plans, and easily generating bills of materials.