Ericsson introduces 5G research exchange project - aims for unified infrastructure market

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Ericsson has announced the launch of a research exchange project between industry partners which aims to advance the development of 5G technology and create a unified European infrastructure market.

The 5G Exchange (5GEx) project is described as a Phase 1 5G infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5G PPP) and integrates multiple operators and various technologies. 5G PPP was initiated by the EU Commission to ensure the necessary solutions, architectures, technologies, and standards for the next-generation communications standard are delivered.  

Sara Mazur, Head of Ericsson Research, says: "A unified European 5G infrastructure service market will be a strong enabler for feature-rich services that can have a positive impact on people, business and society."  

She continues: "As a leader in the development of 5G and a partner in several industry collaboration initiatives, we are excited to lead the 5GEx project and contribute to realizing the full benefits of 5G."  

The project is set to run from October 2015 to March 2018, with 5G expected to debut before the end of the decade.  

Current key objectives of 5GEx include;  

  • Creation of an open platform which enables cross-domain orchestration of services over multiple domains, with a set of open source software tools and extensions that can be utilized outside the scope of 5GEx  
  • A sandbox network enabling experimentation and validation of architectures, mechanisms and business models  
  • A proof-of-innovation multi-domain platform enabling multiple 5G use cases and realistic scenarios that demonstrate the orchestration of complex end-to-end Infrastructure as a Service across multiple operators  
  • Contributions of concepts to standards bodies  
  • Promoting the adoption of 5GEx's open solutions by ICT industry stakeholders.  

Ericsson already contributes to other 5G research initiatives such as 5G for Europe and METIS II. It's good to see the vendor willing to share its research to advance the industry and ensure compatibility between different network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) technologies.  

Other partners in the 5GEx project include; Atos, Athens University of Economics and Business, Berlin Institute for Software Defined Networks, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Carlos III University of Madrid, Deutsche Telekom, European Center for Information and Communication Technologies, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Orange, RedZinc, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Telecom Italia, Telefónica I+D, Telenor and University College London.  

A notable vendor in the partnership is Chinese giant Huawei who knocked Ericsson into second place as the world's largest telecoms vendor back in 2012. Huawei is another pioneer of 5G research who just earlier this month performed a field test of its own 5G technology with Japan’s largest Mobile Network Operator, NTT DOCOMO.  

In the large-scale, non-lab field trial of 5G, Huawei and NTT DOCOMO reached an impressive peak speed of 3.6Gbps. The vendor used sub-6 GHz microwaves which means the wavelengths are small in comparison to current mobile phone and broadcast frequencies, and can become blocked easily.  

Ericsson, Huawei, and the other partners in the 5GEx project will hopefully come up with practical methods of circumventing such limitations now they're sharing research to benefit the entire industry. “A unified European 5G infrastructure service market will be a strong enabler for feature-rich services that can have a positive impact on people, business and society,” said Sara Mazur, Head of Ericsson Research.  

Do you believe the 5GEx project will help to advance 5G? Let us know in the comments.

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