Vodafone Australia and Nokia announce mobile edge computing prototype

Vodafone and Nokia are looking to 4G-powered mobile edge computing to improve public safety through network function virtualisation applications.

Vodafone Australia has announced a partnership with Nokia to create a proof of concept to combine mobile edge computing, 4G networks, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, network function virtualisation (NFV), and video analytics to improve public safety.

The virtualised network infrastructure will be used with the Nokia Mobile Edge Computing platform to track the movements and numbers of people in public safety applications through real-time data processing and video analytics from censors including CCTV footage.

The companies are planning on trialling the technology in 2017.

Vodafone Australia general manager of Technology Strategy Easwaren Siva said the technology could be used for security monitoring at airports, shopping malls, and sports stadiums.

The proof of concept will rely on low latency in the 4G network, head of Nokia Oceania Ray Owen said.

"The Nokia Mobile Edge Computing platform rapidly processes content at the network edge, closer to users to ensure an ultra-low latency experience," Owen said.

"For these demonstrations, the data feeds from the camera remained local thanks to the MEC platform while benefiting from the robust, secure capabilities of 4G, which is critical public safety communications."

Vodafone also signed a memorandum of understanding with Nokia to join the Mission Critical Communications Alliance, consisting of mobile operators, public authorities, and public safety agencies worldwide to research how 4G can be used for public safety applications.

Vodafone Australia and Nokia are also partnering on 5G network technology trials, having attained throughput speeds of up to 5Gbps in a public lab trial at the University of Technology Sydney last month.

In what was the first public demonstration of 5G in Australia, Nokia and Vodafone attained average combined download and upload speeds of around 4.84Gbps and latency of 2.8 milliseconds by using 8x8 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) and 64 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) technologies.

The lab trial, announced by Vodafone Australia CEO Inaki Berroeta in August, was conducted across the 4.5GHz spectrum band, with 200MHz cell bandwidth.

Rival telecommunications provider Optus also signed an MOU with Nokia to collaborate on developing its 5G network.

As part of the deal, Optus and Nokia have undertaken closed lab tests using Nokia's 5G radio test bed on its Airscale product, as well as NB-IoT tests. The two companies will also conduct a trial of a 5G prototype across Optus' 3500MHz spectrum band by 2017.

Optus said it is readying its core and transport networks with NFV and cloud infrastructure, and will demonstrate pre-commercial 5G systems at an upcoming "major sporting event". ZDNet understands that Optus is looking into trialling its 5G network at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.

Telstra and Ericsson conducted the first live 5G trial in Australia, achieving download speeds of between 18Gbps and 22Gbps, with the trials conducted in a real-world outdoor environment using Ericsson's 5G radio test bed in September.

The 20Gbps speeds were split between two mobile devices, with each one getting around 10Gbps download speeds thanks to the use of Massive MIMO, which sends multiple channels of data at the same time, allowing users to have peak performances simultaneously.

In addition, a moving vehicle achieved download speeds of between 1Gbps and 6Gbps thanks to the use of beam-forming technology, in which antenna arrays steer a beam to where a user is.

Telstra and Ericsson will also conduct a trial run of their 5G network during the Commonwealth Games.

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