Nokia claims pathway for easy 4G-to-5G upgrades

Nokia claims pathway for easy 4G-to-5G upgrades

Nokia has announced a software-based upgrade which it says will enable its 4G/LTE radios to be migrated seamlessly to 5G/NR.

The company said the availability of the technique will “have a high value to Nokia’s customers as they provide immediate support for approximately one million radios, reaching 3.1 million by the end of the year and over 5 million in 2021”.

Nokia said that upgrading existing radio elements via software will help to streamline the process of refarming 4G/LTE spectrum into 5G/NR and offer a “seamless and cost-effective” upgrade path to 5G/NR.

According to the company, most 5G/NR deployments to date have been performed with TDD cmWave and TDD mmWave — but the next big wave of 5G/NR rollouts will be delivered by refarming existing FDD bands to 5G/NR.

Nokia said it has 359 4G/LTE customers with deployed FDD RF units, most of which can be upgraded, adding that the ability to upgrade via a software update will minimise costly and disruptive site visits.

Indeed, the company estimates that this solution will save the telecommunications industry potentially tens of billions of dollars in site engineering and revisit costs.

“While Open RAN promises software upgradability to ease transitions between ‘Gs’ and add new features, Nokia’s Flexi and AirScale portfolio shows it is ahead of the game by providing a software upgrade to transition over 5 million 4G radios to 5G,” said Chris Nicoll, Principal Analyst at ACG Research.

“Efficient FDD spectrum refarming is critical for fast, broad and deep 5G deployments. With Nokia supplying the majority of the world’s top 4G operators, supporting key advanced features such as DSS helps those operators lead with 5G.”

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