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How BT is creating a true converged network with EE

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Mansoor Hanif, Director of Converged Networks, Research Lab, BT

Following the acquisition of EE by BT, the UK operator has been conducting network densification work and now has over 1,800 macro sites, and is extending small cell rollout to cover gaps and smaller areas. BT sees no problem with capacity in urban areas today, but future needs will increase, and so small cells are necessary in cities to meet future growth. A single platform is required to manage both macro and small cells, to provide quality of service to customers regardless of the technology used.

Underlying technologies for mobile, copper and fibre are converging; such as reducing self interference, ways of adapting modulation to reach further, the use of MIMO, etc. BT wants to experiment and innovate, and then bring all these technologies together in a coherent way.

BT/EE has been working on building network slices that can cover fixed and mobile, offering coherent services across both. But telcos currently don't have the right skills or teams in place to bridge the gap between hardware and software. A Hackathon in partnership with LimeNet, which launched last year via a crowdsourcing initiative, now has over 3,000 companies that have bought the base station development kits. These companies are now developing use cases through a competition, to discover new use cases and benchmark the progress of this new ecosystem. The goal is to develop a new generation of software engineers to meet future networking needs.

Filmed at: SCWS World, London, 2017

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