In preparation for using newly acquired C-band spectrum to expand its 5G Ultra Wideband service offering, Verizon has completed an end-to-end fully virtualized 5G data session over C-band spectrum in a live network environment. Verizon reached the milestone in collaboration with Samsung Electronics, according to a statement from Verizon.
“We have been driving the industry to large-scale virtualization using the advanced architecture we have built into our network from the core to the far edge,” said Adam Koeppe, senior vice president of technology planning at Verizon. “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 trials, conducted over Verizon’s network using a C-band Special Temporary Authority granted to Verizon by the FCC, took place in Texas, Connecticut and Massachusetts. They 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, according to the statement.
“Virtualization is critical to delivering the services promised by advanced 5G networks,” the statement reads. “Key 5G use cases such as massive scale IoT solutions, more robust consumer devices and solutions, AR/VR, remote healthcare, autonomous robotics in manufacturing environments, and ubiquitous smart city solutions, will heavily rely on the programmability of virtualized networks.”
Cloud native virtualized architecture leads to greater flexibility, faster delivery of services, greater scalability and improved cost efficiency in networks, paving the way for wide-scale mobile edge computing and network slicing, according to Verizon. This technology enables Verizon to rapidly respond to customers’ varied latency and computing needs, the company said. Virtualization will also lower the barrier to entry for new vendors in the ecosystem, Verizon said. New entrants will accelerate innovation, reduce operating costs and lay the groundwork for flexible network and cloud infrastructure closer to the customer, eventually leading to single-digit-millisecond latency, the statement reads.
“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,” said Junehee Lee, executive vice president and head of research and development for networks business at Samsung Electronics. “This trial reinforces our commitment to helping operators evolve their advanced 5G networks. This achievement represents our dedicated efforts in leading the transition to virtualization, and helping Verizon realize greater efficiency, scalability and flexibility. vRAN is a powerful enabler for network transformation, and we aim to continue leading this journey.”
Massive MIMO is an evolution in antenna arrays that uses a high number of transmitters, which enables more possible signal paths between a device and a cell tower, according to Verizon. It also reduces interference through beamforming, which directs the beam from the cell site directly to where the customer is resulting in higher and more consistent speeds for customers using apps and uploading and downloading files, the company said. The information Verizon provided said that the trial used Samsung’s C-band 64T64R massive MIMO radios that support digital/dynamic beamforming, SU-MIMO, MU-MIMO and dual connectivity and carrier aggregation.
“Incorporating full, cloud-native virtualization, massive MIMO and beamforming into our network design and deployment will result in so much more than our customers merely seeing a 5G icon on their devices,” said Koeppe. “This is 5G service optimized for peak performance.”
The milestone follows Samsung’s announcement about expanding its vRAN capability to support mid-band massive MIMO radios, which Verizon said is a first for the industry. Samsung’s C-band massive MIMO radio is part of a complete C-band solutions portfolio, the statement reads.