Deutsche Telekom has started testing the “standalone” (SA) version of 5G, setting up its first 5G SA antenna site in the town of Garching, near Munich. The site will be the first in Germany with 5G core network technology, which has yet to be standardized.
The antenna site will soon be connected to a 5G Standalone core network. The core network will be implemented via a Telekom cloud infrastructure. The hallmark of 5G Standalone is that the infrastructure in the core network will also be fully upgraded to a new, cloud-based 5G architecture. This is the next evolution of 5G and also a prerequisite for new deployment options.
Deutsche Telekom has already achieved 68% coverage of the German population with non-standalone (NSA) version of 5G, which uses the existing 4G-LTE network as an anchor for all non radio aspects.
“It is important for us to be at the forefront of the further innovation steps of 5G,” says Claudia Nemat, Board Member for Technology and Innovation at Telekom. “To ensure that our customers can take advantage of technologies such as network slicing or edge computing in the future, we continue to actively drive the development of 5G and its features.”
With 5G Standalone, the network structure and architecture is changing. The 5G technology currently deployed in Germany is based on the 5G Non-Standalone (5G NSA) network architecture. This means that today’s 5G offerings are still technically dependent on a simultaneously available 4G network (LTE) and virtually “piggyback” on this network, i.e., they do not yet function completely independently.
“5G standalone is one of the goals for us with 5G,” said Walter Goldenits, head of technology at Telekom Deutschland. “The network innovation in Garching is initially the first step for us into the 5G SA live network. It helps us to gain necessary and important experience with 5G SA. A rollout in the area will then also depend on the requirements of our customers. Technology and the market will play a joint role in further development.”
There are currently no terminals for customers that support 5G standalone. Telekom is therefore conducting the first tests with special development software on commercially available devices. The goal is to test various connections and applications that function completely standalone and without the support of 4G in the coming weeks.
“The further roll-out of 5G is the preparation of our network for the next steps in 5G development. We will use every opportunity to make 5G even faster and develop it further,” says Walter Goldenits.
Image courtesy of Samsung
Last month, Samsung and Deutsche Telekom conducted their first 5G SA trial in Pilsen, the Czech Republic, verifying performance of 5G SA multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output (MU-MIMO) technologies.
The trial used Samsung’s latest end-to-end 5G SA solutions. In the SA trial, the two companies achieved outstanding results with the MU-MIMO technology using Samsung’s 3.5GHz Massive MIMO radio. The spectrum efficiency was tripled in comparison to that of LTE under realistic conditions and the throughput was increased by about 2.5 times of SU-MIMO (Single-User MIMO).
“We are pleased to collaborate with Samsung to verify the performance of its 5G SA solution,” said Alex Choi, SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom. “Together with strong partners we are consistently introducing advanced technical capabilities into our network, and we are very excited about the potential of 5G SA networks to further accelerate the 5G evolution.”
Samsung also said: “5G SA architecture enables mobile operators to have more efficient and simple network operations, while empowering 5G networks to deliver immersive user experiences and new business models for enterprises.”