DT builds out its O-RAN Town, demos multi-vendor 5G slicing

Ray Le Maistre
By Ray Le Maistre

Jun 29, 2021

  • Deutsche Telekom has been sharing its latest networking advances
  • Its O-RAN Town is up and running with its first live Open RAN sites
  • Multi-vendor 5G slicing has been successfully tested with Ericsson and Samsung
  • DT strikes sustainability partnership with Samsung, simplifies IoT with AWS

Deutsche Telekom has marked MWC21 week with a series of updates on key strategic and networking developments, including 5G slicing, Open RAN, sustainability and IoT.

Late last year the operator announced O-RAN Town by committing to a deployment of Open RAN sites in Neubrandenburg, a town of about 65,000 residents north of Berlin. 

Now that plan has come to fruition, as the German operator has switched on the first sites, with Open RAN technology integrated into the commercial network and set up to deliver 4G and 5G services across 25 sites. 

The deployment includes what DT describes as “Europe’s first integration of massive MIMO radio units using O-RAN open fronthaul interfaces to connect to the virtualized RAN software.” 

Such steps are important as operators are seeking assurances that Open RAN can deliver performance parity with traditional RAN systems in important areas such as massive MIMO and mmWave connectivity. And DT, one of Europe’s loudest supporters of Open RAN and part of a quintet of carriers that aims to foster an Open RAN ecosystem in the region, is keen to see such parity as soon as possible so it can broader its supply chain options.

Currently, though, its O-RAN Town partners aren’t exactly local: The initial technology suppliers for O-RAN Town deployments include Dell, Fujitsu, Intel, Mavenir, NEC and Supermicro. And it’s notable that when O-RAN Town was first announced late last year Nokia was mentioned in the tech partner mix, but it is now absent – Europe’s Open RAN ecosystem has a lot of work to do to catch up with advances from Asian and North American companies.

For more on O-RAN Town, see this press release.

End-to-end multi-vendor 5G slicing

One of the most touted features of full 5G deployments is network slicing, and DT is claiming to have made a significant breakthrough in this regard.

It has teamed up with Ericsson and Samsung for what it claims is the world’s first implementation of multi-vendor 5G end-to-end Network Slicing with a commercial 5G device. 

In what it says was a successful trial, DT used 5G Standalone infrastructure from Ericsson, and Samsung Galaxy S21 5G devices, to run a Cloud Virtual Reality gaming application. In its labs in Bonn, the operator set up two slices, one a regular mobile broadband slice and the other a cloud VR gaming-optimized gaming slice, and recorded a “a superior experience on the gaming slice even under congested network conditions.”

For further details on that trial, see this announcement

Sustainability and IoT

DT and Samsung have struck a “strategic partnership for sustainability,” with the initial aim of the relationship being the development and launch by the end of next year of a green 5G smartphone that is easy to repair, is made from recoverable materials and which has a removable battery. For further details, see this announcement.

In the IoT realm, DT has hooked up with cloud-native IoT network operator 1NCE, which is founded in 2017, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to simplify deployments for enterprises. At the heart of the simplification is a “new zero touch integration service” to ensure that “devices are connected quickly to the worldwide IoT network of Deutsche Telekom and up and running easily through an automated device onboarding onto AWS. This is designed to rapidly reduce the complexity for customers by enabling them to easily set up and run their IoT solutions,” notes DT in this announcement, which was made public just as Orange was announcing a similar approach to simplifying enterprise IoT with the formation of the IoT Continuum partnership

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV 

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