The current focus is on standards, lab testing, proof-of-concepts and preparation for field trials. Through these activities we are building a blueprint of how the current LTE-Advanced Pro network can be enhanced through 5G RAN and also how the overall architecture of the network should evolve to make the most of this.
What are the greatest obstacles you’re facing when planning to evolve networks towards 5G?
In the UK it is quite complex, difficult and expensive to upgrade radio sites with new frequencies so the physical implementation of the antennas will be a big challenge. If spectrum auctions are delayed as some networks are threatening legal action this would cause a further delay to when this work can begin. Moving to a completely virtualized network infrastructure will also be a big challenge from the operations perspective.
How does convergence play a role in meeting network demands?
Convergence offers more tools to meet a customers needs. At the current level of convergence those tools are not fully unlocking the full power the network can provide seamlessly to users. As we progress to fully convergent fixed/mobile Core networks and policy-based transitions the role of convergence will increase.
What do you think are the most exciting advances and technologies currently meeting some of your network development needs?
Currently we are focusing on rolling out the latest LTE-A Pro features as part of our readiness for the UK Emergency services network – these advanced features offer a range of exciting new capabilities which we are keen to expand