Vodafone doubles NB-IoT network to cover 98% of the UK
Vodafone has invested heavily in deploying NB-IoT sites to meet growing demand from customers across the country, and it has now announced its doubled the number of its NB-IoT network sites in the UK to cover 98% of the country’s geography.
As the world becomes increasingly connected, the NB-IoT ecosystem has soared. In January 2020, NB-IoT connections reached the 100 million milestone, with expectations that they will make up 46% of all cellular IoT connections by 2026.
NB-IoT is a low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) technology, used for enabling efficient communications between devices that require long battery life and have low data demand. This makes the NB-IoT perfect for numerous applications that do not need to constantly transmit data, such as smart gas and water metres, environmental sensors, or smoke and fire alarms.
Vodafone sees NB-IoT as complementary to its other connectivity services, such as 4G 5G, which can deliver greater bandwidth and a constant connection. This, it argues, allows it to offer flexible, tailored services for customers based on their needs.
“NB-IoT is a part of our network that is often overlooked, but it is becoming increasingly important, bringing data from a growing variety of devices to power decision-making in more organisations,” explained Anne Sheehan, Business Director at Vodafone UK.
“This is a network which has been designed for low-bandwidth devices, allowing for coverage that goes beyond 4G, and devices where battery life could be extended to as long as ten years. In IoT, customers might want to use our 4G network for real-time, data-intensive analytics, while others might need a connectivity solution for non-time-sensitive use cases, such as environmental monitoring.”
Vodafone also runs NB-IoT networks in a number of European countries, including Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain
Verizon, Samsung complete 5G data session on C-band spectrum
U.S telecom Verizon, in partnership with Samsung Electronics, has completed a trial of a 5G data session over the C-band spectrum. The test was conducted in a live network environment using cloud-native, end-to-end virtualisation in preparation for Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband expansion.
Adam Koeppe, Senior Vice President of Technology Planning at Verizon, said: “We have been driving the industry to large-scale virtualisation using the advanced architecture we have built into our network from the core to the far edge. This recent accomplishment paves the way for a more programmable, efficient, and scalable 5G network. “Customers deserve more than mere access to 5G. They deserve 5G built with the highest, gold-standard engineering practices that have positioned Verizon as the most reliable industry leader for years.”
The importance of virtualisation in optimising 5G network performance
According to Samsung, Virtualisation plays a vital role in delivering advanced 5G network services. This is due to 5G use cases such as IoT solutions, more robust consumer devices and solutions, AR/VR, remote healthcare, autonomous robotics in manufacturing environments, and ubiquitous smart city solutions, becoming more dependant on the programmability of virtualised networks.
Pleased with the result of the trial, Junehee Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of R&D, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics, said: “We’re proud to mark another milestone following our first large-scale commercial 5G vRAN deployment for Verizon, which is currently servicing millions of users. This trial reinforces our commitment to helping operators evolve their advanced 5G networks.”
The trials used Samsung’s fully virtualized RAN (vRAN) solution built on its own software stack and C-band 64T64R Massive MIMO radio in coordination with Verizon’s virtualized core. “The trials achieved speeds commensurate with traditional hardware-based equipment,” the companies said.
Verizon claims that cloud-native, virtualised architecture provides greater flexibility aster delivery of services, greater scalability, and improved cost efficiency in networks”, allowing it to lead the way in network slicing and wide-scale mobile edge computing.
The technology also enables Verizon to respond quickly to customer’s latency and computing needs. Virtualisation aims to lower the entry barrier for new vendors in the ecosystem while entrants will be able to accelerate innovation and reduce operating costs, the companies said.
Verizon is planning to make the 5G C-band spectrum initially available to 46 markets by the first quarter of 2022, and provide the Ultra-Wideband service to 100mn people. Throughout the next two years, the company expects coverage to increase to 175mn people before reaching 250mn by the end of 2024.