Spark claims NZ first for 5G standalone tech

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Spark claims NZ first for 5G standalone tech
Josh Bahlman, Spark

Telco incumbent Spark has stood up two proof-of-concepts with 5G Standalone (SA) technology that is fully virtualised for cloud, using microservices and architected to be scalable.

Spark worked with telco equipment Nokia for the 5G New Radio technology, and deployed a cloud-native core solution from United States software based network builder Mavenir on an Amazon Web Services Snowball Edge device.

The AWS Snowball device is compact - Spark said it could literally fit into a suitcase - and allows data to be stored and processed close to where it's generated with low latency (delay) for better application responsiveness.

AWS Snowball Edge
AWS Snowball Edge/Supplied

Spark said the 5G SA proof of concepts represent the first mobile deployment on AWS in New Zealand, and the first global edge deployment on the cloud giant's Snowball Edge for Avenir.

Smartphone maker Oppo is providing 5G SA capable handsets for proof of concepts, Spark said.

For its 5G service, Spark uses spectrum in the 3400 to 3800 MHz range, and was allocated management rights to 60 MHz in the band by the government.

Initial 5G network rollouts around the world were non-standalone (NSA), with the next-gen mobile tech using a carrier in the 3.5 GHz frequency band.

Nokia's chief technology officer for Australia and New Zealand, Dr Robert Joyce told CRN NZ that with NSA, phones are connected to both existing 4G and new 5G networks.

"Signalling is done on 4G, and data is sent on both 4G and 5G," Joyce explained.

"In 5G SA, the phone is connected only to 5G, and signalling and all data is done on 5G," he said.

“These proof-of-concepts create line of sight for us to deliver the enhanced benefits of standalone 5G, Spark's lead for telco cloud, Josh Bahlman said.

This applies to businesses looking to innovate using 5G connectivity and multi access edge compute (MEC) and to subscribers wanting to access a network that supports applications such as instant video streaming, cloud hosted gaming and the reaction times required for driverless vehicles, Bahlman explained.


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© CRN New Zealand

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