The network for the future: Digitization requires a smart network of a new dimension

  • Share
    Two clicks for more data privacy: click here to activate the button and send your recommendation. Data will be transfered as soon as the activation occurs.
  • Print
  • Read out
  • Common standards and platforms determine the future
  • Live world premiere: Deutsche Telekom exhibits the first-ever complete end-to-end 5G system
  • 300 LTE antenna sites bring high-speed internet into Europe’s aircraft
  • First data center for the European Pan-Net
  • New alliance with partners creates global network for corporate customers

Digitization demands high-performance infrastructure: the network of the future. But this network of the future must already be developed today. Innovations such as holographic videoconferences, interactive robots, driverless cars and cutting-edge medical applications all pose significant challenges in a data-hungry digital society. The tactile internet, for example, demands real-time response periods that are unperceivable by users. Deutsche Telekom is expanding its network to meet these challenges, lifting it to a high-end level. At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company will outline the steps it is taking today, tomorrow and in the future to achieve this. In 2015, Deutsche Telekom invested 12 billion euros in expanding its networks. Billion-strong investments for this purpose are also scheduled for 2016.

"Intelligent digitization demands intelligent networks. And they must be of an entirely new caliber," says Tim Höttges, Deutsche Telekom CEO. The convergence of fixed and mobile networks is the foundation of Deutsche Telekom’s integrated network strategy. A network of a new dimension is needed, so that the ideas for a digital world will have the necessary technical basis for implementation. "We are setting new milestones with the development of 5G, our European Pan-Net and a new network company for global corporations. That’s how the network of the future will be. In terms of securing the future, it’s not only questions about conductor media such as copper or glass fiber cables that play a role in the debate; the issues of how the network architecture is to be designed, how common standards and platforms can be developed, and the subject of data security are also highly relevant. We are a driving force in this regard."

5G premiere
For the very first time, Deutsche Telekom will not merely exhibit individual 5G modules, but instead a complete 5G system. In the process, it is smashing a veritable sound-barrier in terms of response time, or ‘latency’: End-to-end response time is less than one millisecond. This is a technical record, and an important step for enabling numerous real-time applications, such as driverless cars, remote surgical procedures and even high-performance games, to be feasible at all. "We are completely on track with 5G and are continuing to actively push standardization and development forward so that we can begin in 2020 – or even earlier," explains Claudia Nemat, Member of the Deutsche Telekom Board of Management, Europe and Technology. "Our goal with 5G is not simply to offer more services. The new mobile phone technology will also address customer requirements more individually. While one person may primarily require high data transfer rates, the other might favor minimal latency or low-energy mass applications."

Deutsche Telekom is also exhibiting extreme bandwidth performance in the 5G network: together with its partners, it raises data throughput in a mobile connection to a smartphone prototype to more than 1.5 gigabits per second. In the future, such data rates will be necessary particularly for TV and virtual reality applications. Moreover, 5G will quite literally also allow thousands of connections to be made in the so-called narrowband (narrowband IoT). The Deutsche Telekom network is already prepared today for this extremely low-energy option for transferring data via sensors. And very soon we will all be experiencing this in day-to-day life, in areas such as waste management or parking facility management. "5G will be the basis for a networked world in real-time," adds Nemat.

High-speed internet in aircraft
The Deutsche Telekom network is also reaching a new dimension in the skies. Later this year, the first antennas will be erected that in future will send LTE signals skywards to facilitate connection with the internet along European flight paths, even at 10,000 meters in altitude. By market launch in early 2018, Deutsche Telekom will establish and put into operation a total of 300 LTE sites across Europe for this purpose. The rollout plan for the European flight network has the first LTE stations scheduled for the end of the year in southern England. Six test flights are planned, the first of which will already take place this year. This will be followed in spring 2017 with the first commercial pilot for the network, also in England. Coverage over Germany and Western Europe’s other most highly-populated areas is scheduled for mid 2017. The provision of internet in the sky throughout Europe is being conducted in partnership with satellite operator Inmarsat.

First data center for European Pan-Net
The network of tomorrow also means thinking beyond borders. For this reason Deutsche Telekom, as the leading network operator in Europe, is continuing to work on the European Pan-Net. An important milestone will be reached in the second quarter of this year, with the launch of operations at the first Pan-Net data center in Hungary. This is set to become the first such data center to provide Pan-IP services in future for all European national subsidiaries, from a central location. The first service that will be provided from this data center, in autumn, is an e-mail service boasting the highest security standards. The CloudCPE service will follow in the fourth quarter. CPE stands for Customer Premises Equipment, and refers to end-devices such as routers or telephone systems used in customer premises. CloudCPE is an innovative development of the VPN that will assist companies along the route to virtualizing their services. The Pan-Net network architecture enables a common, standardized infrastructure to be used across borders. From a central catalog, national subsidiaries can choose the standardized product modules they require for the specific market situation in their individual regions. The aim is to develop centralized European network factories step-by-step by 2020.

Global network for corporate customers
CenturyLink, Deutsche Telekom, Reliance and SK Telecom are jointly founding a new international telecommunications provider. The company is called "ngena" (Next Generation Enterprise Network Alliance). The European competition authorities still have to approve its formation.

Ngena is aiming to provide international network services for major customers from the first half of 2017. Today’s global corporations want to connect employees, and even remote locations, as simply and speedily as possible. At present, no provider has such a seamless network that it can cope without buying in services or entering into partnerships. Setting up and operating a global network is a highly complex and time-consuming enterprise.

Ngena uses Cisco technology to link the networks of the partners in this alliance to form a virtual next-generation global network. The aim is to provide corporate customers, across continents, with flexible and fast high-performance, secure networks. Ngena is looking to acquire 20 additional alliance partners over the coming years. The market for network access and transport services is growing annually by 3.5% and already has a market volume of 50 billion dollars today.

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 62.7 billion euros in the 2014 financial year – more than 60 percent of it outside Germany.