Cisco and Samsung join with Orange in 5G FWA smart city trial in Romania
Cisco and Samsung have completed the first successful 5G fixed-wireless tests on Orange’s live network in Romania. The fixed-wireless access (FWA) tests, in the 26 GHz band, have verified a number of smart city use cases, the trio said.
The trial started on June 1, and runs until July 16, across multiple homes in Floresti, in the Cluj district, in Romania. The group presented the results of the some of the most promising 5G-powered smart city and home entertainment solutions earlier this week.
The 5G FWA set-up in Romania has made use of Samsung’s virtualised 5G radio access network, comprising a diminutive 5G access unit and multiple indoor and outdoor 5G routers. It has also used Cisco’s Meraki Z3 Wi-Fi router and ‘ultra gateway platform’.
By leveraging the wide bandwidth available at 26 GHz and antenna technologies like massive MIMO and beamforming, the companies were able to achieve speeds of 1Gbps in live conditions at distances of more than one kilometre from the base station, and aggregated cell downlink throughputs of 3Gbps with few users.
Samsung nodes have been installed on a streetlamp to provide wireless connectivity for temperature and humidity sensors and security cameras; sensors and cameras are connected wirelessly to the node, which is then connected to the core network via 5G. The nodes are described as “compact, high-capacity, easy-to-install and economical alternatives for places where wireline deployment is unfeasible or costly.”
In another set-up, Cisco cameras have been deployed to provide video coverage and video-based analytics for various smart-city and retail scenarios, including for counting people in the camera field. Samsung said the arrangement delivered “precious information to improve disposal of products in retail environment”, and to better organise spaces.
GY Seo, senior vice president for Samsung’s networks business, commented: “5G will be more than just a faster internet connection. It will make cities safer and more convenient than ever before, and it will bring home entertainment to new levels that only existed in our imagination.”
The 5G FWA trials have also demonstrated capacity to stream several ultra high-definition (UHD) videos and virtual reality (VR) sessions in parallel over the same 5G connection. All of the content is transmitted via the 5G core and 5G radio link.
Much of Orange’s innovation work is done on its network in Romania.
Arnaud Vamparys, senior vice president of radio networks and microwaves at Orange, said: “We better understand the way in which this technology works in real usage environments in order to complement wireline solutions. This is a major step in driving forward the development of 5G in Europe and Africa.”
Seo at Samsung said: “These demonstrations offer a glimpse into some of the new, groundbreaking services and capabilities that people across Europe will be able to enjoy in their everyday lives in the future.”
Yvette Kanouff, senior vice president at Cisco’s service provider business, said: “With 5G we have the opportunity to help service providers broaden their portfolios to deliver new levels of connected experiences for consumers, businesses and governments.”
Orange has focused much of its smart city work in Romania in the city of Alba Iulia, capital of Alba County in Transylvania.
The French operator has worked with the city since late 2016 to expand and upgrade its backbone communications infrastructure, including its 4G/4G+ networks, fibre-optic broadband network, LoRa WAN network for IoT, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networks. This enhanced infrastructure underpins 14 different smart city solutions, selected to support the local tourist industry and to facilitate better communications between city and citizens.
As part of this infrastructure overhaul, a network of 200 beacons has been installed around the city. The data they gather and transmit supports a new app for tourists, providing information on attractions and services and enables local businesses to communicate with visitors.
Wi-Fi has been extended to the Alba Carolina Citadel, the city’s main tourist area, as well as the city’s bus stations, train station, high schools and university. City Hall collects useful information from its array of beacons and Wi-Fi terminals to observe and optimise pedestrian traffic and public transport. It can also use the Wi-Fi network to organise surveys and polls, and engage with citizens.