A1, Telstra tap Nokia to enhance 5G evolution and pilot network slicing

Self-organising network software deployed to boost automation of leading Australian comms operator’s wide radio access networks as it continues its evolution towards 5G services

Australian telco Telstra has deployed Nokia EdenNet self-organising network (SON) software to centralise and automate network operations, while Austrian operator A1 is working with the Finnish comms tech firm to support advanced communications for railway operator ÖBB Infrastruktur.

Nokia’s EdenNet SON will be used in automating Telstra’s radio access network (RAN) configuration management, improving network performance and efficiency to support the increased demands of 5G.

The deployment is also intended to enable Telstra to migrate legacy tools to an open, scalable and future-proof platform and increase automation. The deal will see Telstra roll out the SON on its multi-supplier, nationwide 3G, 4G and 5G RAN and delivered across model, staging and production environments.

EdenNet SON is an open, 3GPP standards-based platform that is designed, said Nokia, to enable mobile operators to realise the full potential of their existing networks, as well as drive transformation to 5G. As a centralised system, the cognitive EdenNet SON platform is said to eliminate complexities from multi-supplier, multi-technology and multi-layered networks.

The multi-supplier capability is supported by the operations support systems interoperability initiative (OSSii). Supporting a range of SON modules, this can help operators achieve self-configuration, self-healing and self-optimisation and has already seen use with over 100 communications service providers globally to enhance their radio network reliability.

Telstra network engineering executive Ashley Hunter said the EdenNet SON would help the operator automate its network configuration and operations to improve cycle time, repeatability, reliability and cost. “Telstra is a world leader in adopting new radio and platform technologies,” he said. “Nokia’s Open SON framework APIs [application programming interfaces] hide the complexity of the underlying network, allowing us to focus on automating the configuration of our network to help provide greater reliability, faster speeds and peace of mind for our customers.”

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In the course of developing an automated control system on Austrian regional trains, ÖBB Infrastruktur is testing a dedicated network slice in the existing A1 4G/LTE network, from which more information than before is directly transmitted to the traction units. With the real-time transmission of location data and signals to the traction unit, the positions of trains can be determined even more precisely and enhance the maintenance of safe rail operations, it said.

The new system works with 4G and 5G network slicing launched by Nokia in February 2020, extends across core, transport and wireless networks and supports all 4G and 5G devices. ÖBB board member Johann Pluy said: “The digitisation of the railways and the associated use of new technologies provides us with the basis for implementing the mobility concepts of tomorrow. Together with our partners, we are focusing on innovative digital solutions that meet the future requirements of our customers.

“With intelligent automation via secure and high-performance communication networks, we are not only increasing the flexibility of our offerings, but also taking advantage of unprecedented opportunities for optimising safety, reliability and performance. Network slicing provides us with the standards and prerequisites we need for efficient and safe railway operations.”

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