MWC once again showcases the latest advances in mobile technology

The organizers of the Mobile World Congress must have been relieved to see the crowds in the Fira exhibition hall in Barcelona on the opening day of the first real MWC for two years.

And it will also be a great relief for the many companies that have come to show off their technology, announce new developments, and seek out new business opportunities the old-fashioned way.

Furthermore, the GSMA deserves a lot of praise for banning the Russian flag and preventing some Russian companies from participating in the wake of the country’s shameful actions against a democratic state like Ukraine over the past week. Historically, the Association has rightly kept a low political profile, focusing on technology, the potential greening of the sector and “supplier diversity”.

The sector should also celebrate that it has helped everyone tremendously during the worst days of the pandemic by making it possible to learn, work and get health care from home.

The organization’s chief executive, Sweden’s Mats Granryd, has done whatever it takes to rally the troops to an evolving mobile communications industry.

Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon certainly accepted the baton when he took to the stage proclaiming that “mobile technology goes literally everywhere”, reeling off more than a dozen announcements covering advancements in many applications and industries. .

Perhaps most significant in the company’s core technology sector is the Snapdragon X70 5G Modem-RF system which features its own built-in AI to achieve even faster speeds and improved latency, coverage and power efficiency. . The setup targets all global 5G bands and offers standalone mmWave support without the need for sub-6 spectrum.

A key capability of the X70 Mobile-RF system was demonstrated by Qualcomm using a modified Xiaomi smartphone, which achieved an active call with simultaneous connections to commercial ZTE networks (n78 + n41) – simultaneously enabling video streaming and 5G voice experiences.

Qualcomm is also touting what it suggests is the first commercial Wi-Fi 7 part that features 4K QAM and high-speed simultaneous multilink in the Fast Connect 7800 subsystem.

Meanwhile, on the networking side, the company showcased a RAN automation platform targeting private networks. Qualcomm has created what it calls a “partner ecosystem” program to assemble pre-integrated packages for specific vertical use cases that it says will help expand and accelerate the deployment of private networks. .

In the same field, it has partnered with Microsoft to combine its 5G technology with Azure Private MEC and the latter’s core solutions for another approach to offer private networking enthusiasts a pre-integrated 5G solution.

On the automotive front, Qualcomm has come up with a new as-a-service model for Snapdragon cloud-based car operation with built-in analytics and supported apps on device and in the cloud.

Also with semiconductors, Intel has focused on a new line of Xeon processors targeting network and edge deployments. The coins are based on the chip group’s Ice Lake platform and feature built-in AI and crypto acceleration, as well as built-in Ethernet.

The Xeon D-2700 and D-1700 are said to deliver “breakthrough performance” for use cases such as enterprise routers and switches, cloud storage, security appliances, wireless networking and edge servers.

Intel showcased the open, fully virtualized native cloud infrastructure in conjunction with Rakuten Symphony Symware, powered by the new D processors, highlighting how communications service providers could offer what they claim is the first hardware subscription for digital networks. radio access.

Meanwhile, on the infrastructure front, Nokia used the event to highlight commercial 5G edge-cutting trials in collaboration with Telia and Israeli telecom operator Cellcom.

The latter focuses on network slices specifically for business applications as well as enterprise interconnectivity over a high-speed metro network.

“Nokia was the first vendor to offer a network slicing solution and we are proud to continue this pioneering history by being the first to bring 5G Edge slicing to our customers,” said Tommi Uitto, President of Finnish Group Mobile Networks. These successful trials cover different use cases and customer requirements and demonstrate the possibilities of network slicing. I look forward to seeing this important new area grow and provide opportunities for our customers in the coming year.

The solution is the latest iteration of Nokia’s 4G/5G network slicing technology, which was initially demonstrated in early 2020. The setup allows operators to centrally manage and control the network slice, while routing traffic data locally. The solution is said to be scalable so that the same virtualized infrastructure can support multiple clients in the same area.

This allows, for example, an operator to offer 5G slicing to several different companies in the same business park.

Nokia is also highlighting its plans to deploy a machine learning (ML) technique to address the complexity of the 5G network. The company’s latest Intelligent RAN Operations solution is said to enable operators to improve network quality and efficiency, while reducing emissions as well as costs.

To achieve these demanding parameters, the service would use ML to automate a selection of common network management tasks that improve the ability to identify and correct network problems faster than previously possible. This, says Nokia, is because human error has been eliminated from the equation.

Mobile World Congress 2022 (Image credit: Nokia)

Meanwhile, big Scandinavian rival Ericsson is focusing on its environmental ambitions with an updated version of its 5G RAN portfolio that emphasizes energy efficiency. The flagship 4490 HP dual-band FDD radio is claimed to be lighter and consume 25% less power than its existing version, but can deliver up to 50% more power than equivalent radios.

The upgraded portfolio also includes the highly integrated 4602 multi-band antenna which is only 398mm wide, designed for improved wind load durability and maintained site construction requirements.

And there are new Expanded Deep Sleep mode software solutions for new Massive MIMO radios and wallets. These are said to consume up to 70% less power per radio during low traffic hours.

Meanwhile, while the buzz around the Open RAN concept has died down lately, it promises to remain a big talking point at the show. Although testing of Open RAN has accelerated lately, the main challenge remains whether the technology can truly replace traditional RAN infrastructure on a 1:1 basis.

At the show, Marvell said it was working with partners including Dell Technologies, Analog Devices and ARM on Open RAN solutions based on its Octeon Fusion baseband processor, including a full suite of 5G Layer 1 hardware accelerators. and support for O-RAN standards.

Open and virtualized massive MIMO RU DU solutions, based on Marvell reference designs, are expected to augment traditional 5G RAN configurations that are built and deployed using the same processors and bring high performance and power efficiency to cloud-native 5G.

For example, ADI’s booth features a demonstration of a 32T32R Massive MIMO C-band radio unit powered by Octeon Fusion baseband processor and beamforming technology.

And ARM is showcasing an Octeon-powered O-RAN Accelerator platform that leverages the extensive computing collaboration between enterprises that they say enables best-in-class 5G RAN features and performance in an open data center environment. and virtualized.

All these technological advances will of course have to compete with a host of new smartphones and PCs unveiled at Fira.

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