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Deutsche Telekom demonstrates Multipath for Fixed Mobile Convergence on Campus

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Multipath enables an application to use different networks to exchange data with a single server. Industry-first proof of concept demonstrates seamless mobility for an AGV across 5G and Wi-Fi networks.

Deutsche Telekom announced it has successfully completed the world’s first test of Multipath capabilities to power an AGV by enabling it to connect to both Wi-Fi and a 5G Standalone (SA) network simultaneously. This industry first Proof-of-concept demonstrates the value of converging the two access types to boost the networking reliability between the AGV and its backend.

The 3GPP R16 standard is the foundation of this PoC. It’s outlined ATSSS (Access Traffic Steering, switching and Splitting) and multipath are the cornerstones in the convergence between cellular and Wi-Fi.  

 “As Wi-Fi and 5G both evolve we are convinced of the value of a Fixed Mobile Convergence solution to better serve customer needs in an enterprise campus environment. To demonstrate the benefits in an industry context, we were able to use a pre-ATSSS standard with Multipath-TCP technology for the first time to enable the seamless mobility of an AGV,” says Ahmed Hafez, VP Network Convergence, Technology & Innovation, Deutsche Telekom

The proof of concept was achieved in a 5G Standalone campus network testbed for Autonomous Guided Vehicles in Deutsche Telekom’s Berlin lab. The AGV was steered via controller software running on an edge server connected to the 5G Core. The multipath technologies were employed to create two independent paths for the AGV control signals between the client application and servers. This enables the concurrent transmission of one signal over the robust 5G SA network and the other signal over the Wi-Fi network. 

 “As the AGV controller was using both paths in parallel, the proof of concept was able to demonstrate a continuous exchange of control information to keep the AGV moving, even when transmission over one link was interrupted,“ says Ahmed Hafez.  

As a leading provider of 4G and 5G Campus Network solutions, Deutsche Telekom views Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) as an important future solution to leverage the coexistence of cellular and indoor Wi-Fi access. In this context, the AGV was chosen as a relevant industry use case with a high requirement for network reliability that will benefit from FMC capabilities to ensure seamless mobility. 

Multipath

The multipath technique employed is a pre-standard implementation of 3GPP Standard R16 ATSSS and using Multipath TCP. This standard extends the 5G system in order to support flexible traffic management and traffic aggregation between 3GPP and non-3GPP access networks. With ATSSS networks and devices can exchange policy and capabilities to enable the intelligent and advanced use of 4G/5G and Wi-Fi access in multiple ways including the activation of multipath capabilities in the devices to utilize both cellular and Wi-Fi simultaneously

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