DT shows world’s first end-to-end multivendor 5G system

  • The feature list includes Network Slices as Ultra Low Latency, Ultra Mobile Broadband and LTE-like connectivity
  • DT raises the bar in 5G development together with Huawei, Samsung and Stanford University
  • The partners achieve a world first sub one millisecond end-to-end latency in a Network Slice

Deutsche Telekom’s specialized innovation laboratory 5G:haus does not only solve a challenging worldwide puzzle regarding the first end-to-end (E2E) system. Together with partners it has taken a giant step in the development of a powerful 5G system optimized for next generation services. From Virtual Reality to Massive Internet of Things and Tactile Internet for real-time steering of robots - Huawei, Samsung, the SoftRAN Initiative at Stanford University and DT point the way at the Mobile World Congress 2016.

Network slicing is the key
At the DT booth in Barcelona, 5G:haus proudly presents a running E2E 5G system for the first time in the world. It is based on a novel flexible architecture featuring technology enablers for use cases requiring extreme network characteristics. The system architecture is software-defined. It is based on open interfaces, industry standard hardware and leveraging Network Slicing principles. With this architecture DT is demonstrating in Barcelona three network slices co-existing on the same hardware. The E2E radio and core network is covering slice creation, orchestration, deployment and operation for each slice.

“Network Slicing is envisaged for 5G to provide differentiated connectivity quickly and efficiently for future industry use cases, as well as the mass mobile broadband like connectivity for consumers”, says Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO Deutsche Telekom AG. “Our groundbreaking end-to-end system shows how extreme capabilities can be provided as on-demand network services for diverging use cases in a digitized society.”

Network Slicing leverages Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) for architectural flexibility and extends its application to the radio part of the network. In the ultra low latency slice, the partners achieved a world first sub one millisecond end-to-end latency – an industry marker regarding the feasibility of Tactile Internet or extreme real-time communications applications.

Integrated capabilities serve a digitized society
Addressing the growing need for ultra high speed connectivity, the 5G:haus system integrates Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMBB) as an end-to-end slice. Using 60GHz band radio access technology and leveraging unique beam-forming technology for increased coverage, mobility and performance improvement, the partners demonstrate implementation feasibility by integrating the concept into a high-end smartphone. In Barcelona 5G:haus and partners achieve more than 1.5 Gbps throughput to a Smartphone prototype.

Ultra Low latency (ULL) is a powerful enabler for industrial applications requiring a stable and extreme real-time communication with the network. The 5G:haus partners achieve a world-first sub one millisecond end-to-end latency in a network slice. They show the feasibility of delivering ULL in a 5G system for Tactile Internet applications like industrial robotics or autonomous driving. 2.6 GHz spectrum is used to assume ubiquitous coverage.

LTE-like connectivity will exist in 5G and will represent majority of traffic for at least some years to come. 5G:haus demonstrates that it is possible to guarantee the performance of an ULL slice while supporting mobile broadband connectivity at the same time and on the same infrastructure. For this purpose it is using the same 2.6 GHz spectrum and taking advantage of Network Slicing principles.

Next stop on the road to 2020: Involving customers
The integration of all critical 5G technology enablers into one concept in a multivendor environment gives DT and partners a valuable first experience. They learn more about requirements on interface specification and implementation for 5G utilizing end-to-end network slicing capabilities. The development of an E2E 5G design is an industry effort. So the partners will feed the experience from multivendor integration into the 5G standardization process on the way to developing a truly global 5G.

“As we demonstrate, the development of 5G technology has reached a very exciting phase. As a next step in the 5G:haus, we will involve customers in the technology development process to bring the technology closer to them and ensure it meets their expectations,” says Bruno Jacobfeuerborn.

About Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies with around 151 million mobile customers, 30 million fixed-network lines and more than 17 million broadband lines (as of December 31, 2014). The Group provides fixed network, mobile communications, Internet and IPTV products and services for consumers and ICT solutions for business customers and corporate customers. Deutsche Telekom is present in more than 50 countries and has approximately 228,000 employees worldwide. The Group generated revenues of EUR 62.7 billion in the 2014 financial year – more than 60 percent of it outside Germany.

Key facts about integrated technologies
The demonstrated setup has been designed based on multiple radio technologies, a unified core network and network slicing - and fully integrated as an E2E system within a multivendor environment.

The core network implementation based on Huawei’s service oriented architecture (SOA) has been driven to enable end-to-end network slicing. It uses a software defined topology, software defined protocol and software defined resource allocation, in short, the programmable network. The service oriented architecture allows the decoupling of user plane and control plane for a simplified network, and basic network modular functions on demand for fast time to market. The specific core network and RAN interface function can be flexibly assembled driven by different applications to support real end-to-end network slicing. For slice lifecycle management and slice monitoring, a slice manager to both the Radio Access Network (RAN) and Consumer Network has been produced.

Stanford’s SoftRAN architecture represents the heart of the 5G system for agile and programmable radio networks. SoftRAN provides operators the ability to define customized radio access network stacks tailored to each slice’s requirements. The SoftRAN architecture is realized using open, COTS based hardware and its decoupled control plane enables operators to manage each slice in a software-defined manner. In this system, It is used to stitch together two slices one of which delivers LTE-like mobile broadband and the other delivers ultra low latency connectivity using the same 2.6 GHz spectrum, while assuring end-to-end quality of experience through network slicing.

DT and Samsung demonstrate 60GHz radio access technology for ultra high mobile broadband connectivity (U-MBB). Samsung has implemented unique beam-forming technology as well as intra and inter-system mobility, both required for 5G ubiquitous coverage and consistent 1Gbps user experience. In the showcase, the implementation feasibility into smartphone form factor is proven. The technology is capable to switch between the mmWave small cells and/or mmWave/LTE cells within the time below 100 msec. 16 antenna elements integrated into the smartphone are used for beam-forming and the system is capable of ultra fast on demand beam-forming.