Ericsson, Qualcomm drive 5G Standalone benefits in UK, Finland

Leading comms tech provider and mobile platform provider reveal projects in key European territories showing differentiated connectivity enabled by network slicing on 5G core and radio access network technology

Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies have announced successful network trials looking at network slicing for BT Group in the UK, along with a partnership with Finnish communications service provider Elisa, to demonstrate high uplink speeds in a commercial 5G Standalone (SA) network.

Working at BT’s Adastral Park, BT Group’s home of research and innovation, the three companies said they have successfully demonstrated end-to-end consumer and enterprise 5G differentiated connectivity enabled by network slicing on Ericsson’s 5G Core and radio access network technology in the UK, with devices powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for the Samsung Galaxy Mobile Platform.

The trial established network slices for gaming, enterprise and enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), and showed how, by allocating a portion of a 5G SA network to provide dynamic partitions for specific use cases, optimal performance can be maintained for bandwidth-heavy activities including mobile gaming and video conferencing even during peak times.

Looking at the potential of network slicing for BT Group’s business customers, the trial used enterprise and eMBB slices – configured via URSP rules that enable a device to connect to multiple network slices simultaneously depending on the application – to demonstrate what it said was consistent 4K video streaming and enterprise use cases using the Samsung S23 Ultra device, powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy.

Enterprise communications platforms and video applications require a stable connection and low jitter to work well. The Ericsson 5G RAN Slicing feature, Radio Resource Partitioning, was enabled to ensure the enterprise traffic to achieve an optimal experience.

Mobile gaming is experiencing relentless growth, with traffic on BT’s EE network almost doubling since the beginning of 2023 to more than two petabytes of data every month. With consistent low-latency, jitter-free and immersive experiences increasingly essential to the gaming experience, the three companies assured that network slicing is expected to be a key enabler of performance and growth in the 5G SA era.

With Elisa, Ericsson and Qualcomm concentrated on uplink. Putting their trial into context, the partners noted that a growing amount of data traffic generated today is in the uplink, highlighting the need for new network capabilities to boost its speed and capacity, and deliver seamless 5G user experience. In an example, they said concertgoers were recording and streaming videos live on their social media accounts.

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In the trial, the three parties achieved an upload speed of 230 Mbps in a live 5G network using Uplink Carrier Aggregation. For this test, a 25MHz 2.6 GHz frequency division duplex (FDD) band was combined with a 100MHz 3.5 GHz time division duplex (TDD) band running on a mobile test device powered by Snapdragon X75 5G Modem-RF System.

Ericsson's Uplink Carrier Aggregation software combines mid-band FDD and mid-band TDD within frequency range 1 to boost speeds and enable uplink-heavy applications such as live streaming, broadcasts, cloud gaming, extended reality and video-based use cases.

“The use of augmented reality and development towards the metaverse will increase the demand for fast uplink connections,” said Sami Rajamäki, vice-president of network services at Elisa. “Therefore, the top speeds achieved together with Ericsson and Qualcomm are an important step in the development of the 5G Standalone network.”

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