Deutsche Telekom’s Virtual Fiber innovation project investigating the use of millimeter wave (mmWave) technology to deliver fiber-like gigabit data rates is gathering momentum. As part of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), the mmWave Community Lab and a mmWave test network in Berlin are up and running.
As a next step, Deutsche Telekom will launch a field test of Facebook’s Terragraph technology in a live environment in Hungary in collaboration with Magyar Telekom. Deutsche Telekom is also in the process of launching the German TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Center (TEAC). As a joint collaboration between operators and venture capitalists, it aims to make the telco infrastructure market more attractive for startups.
The Telecom Infra Project approach
In collaboration with global partners through TIP, Deutsche Telekom is setting off on a new path by utilizing an innovative open ecosystem approach based on industry standard technology components.
TIP is an engineering-focused initiative driven by operators, integrators, and startups to disaggregate the traditional network deployment approach. The community’s collective aim is to collaborate on new technologies, examine new business approaches and spur new investments into the telecom space. Furthermore, TIP Community Labs provide collaborative working environments for operators and start-ups. Together with Facebook as a co-chair, Deutsche Telekom is driving TIP’s mmWave Networks Project Group. mmWave networks built using off-the-shelf components for cost-efficient production are a wireless access solution that can enable fiber-like speeds.
Since MWC Americas in September 2017, cost structure models have been developed and presented to members of the project group. These models will help to optimize future deployments.
Furthermore, two new working groups have been set up within the mmWave Networks Project Group:
- The channel modelling working group. This working group will study mmWave propagation characteristics in different environments, weather conditions and share findings to enable the industry to design more robust and higher performing mmWave networks.
- The mmWave Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) and Service Integration working group. This group focuses on making the mmWave technology usable for customers (esp. wireless-to-the-home, wireless-to-the-building and Wi-Fi access points). Members will also work to develop a user-centric approach to building cost-efficient off-the-shelf solutions for the mass market.
mmWave Community Lab and test network up and running
In addition to the good progress being made within the mmWave Networks Project Group, Deutsche Telekom set up the mmWave Networks Community Lab and a mmWave test network in Berlin Winterfeldtstraße in less than 1 ½ months after the announcement at MWCA. The network is now up and running!
This test network allows us to evaluate and test the technology’s capabilities and performance characteristics in a real-world environment. Based on this network, further evaluation of the overall system‘s capability, including radio link and mesh networking aspects, is being conducted under different weather conditions. The next step is to extend this test network in order to gain more insights.
The TIP Community Lab mmWave installation has also made progress. A full meshed network has been set up, including the installation of distribution and client nodes. This means that all essential components are now integrated and are ready to use. Following the community model approach, this installation at Winterfeldtstraße will be accessible to TIP mmWave Networks Project Group members and represents an important tool for the development of innovative technologies.
As a next step, a field test in a real-world environment over 1 square km is planned in Hungary in collaboration with Magyar Telekom – aiming to start in mid-2018. In the Budapest area, mmWave networks will be tested to provide gigabit connectivity wirelessly to customers’ homes.
As a part of TIP, innovative operators such as BT, Orange, and SK Telecom have established TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Centers (TEACs) to push innovation forward. Deutsche Telekom has started TEAC Germany (in Bonn and Berlin) in collaboration with Facebook. After initial setup work last year, the startup call for applications closed at the end of January 2018. Out of these applications, a short list of selected infrastructure-focused start-ups has been created. At MWC, Deutsche Telekom will announce these startups, followed by an invitation to a TEAC Germany pitch day in Bonn on March 20.