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Researchers develop 5G-based standalone small cell software for ultra-fast data transfer

By Park Sae-jin Posted : November 25, 2021, 11:25 Updated : November 25, 2021, 11:25

[Courtesy of ETRI]

SEOUL -- South Korean researchers have developed software for standalone 5G small cells, which are low-powered radio access network nodes designed to provide mobile data network coverage to a radius of a few kilometers. The newly-develop software will help network operators to easily set up specialized 5G networks such as for
Most nodes, or base stations, being used for 5G are non-standalone (NSA), meaning that an NSA base station supports both 4G and 5G. NSA nodes are established on existing 4G base stations to provide basic 5G data communication features to provide 5G services until the commercial popularization of 5G is accelerated and completed. Standalone (SA) nodes are individual base stations that only provide connection to a core 5G network.
Small cells are affordable key communication nodes used for 5G data communication. While expensive macrocells, or microsites, provide a larger coverage by using communication towers, antennae, or masts, small cells cover a relatively small area and are mainly deployed in nearby radio shadow areas to expand the service coverage of mobile carriers.
The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) said in a statement on November 25 that its research team has developed software that will allow small cell nodes to provide the same communication features as macrocell nodes. 5G network operators can expand coverage by deploying cheap SA small cells.
Because the data transfer speed of 5G is about 100 times faster than that of 4G's, it is an ideal data communication technique for smart farm and smart factory operators as well as ordinary consumers. However, NSA nodes or macrosites are expensive to set up near or inside factories for smart manufacturing systems. 5G SA small cells just a little larger than an adult man's hand are very cheap. Smart factory operators can install many 5G SA small cells around their factory with an expensive antenna.
The institute has installed the software onto the "FSM 5G RAN Platform," a radio access network platform developed by Qualcomm, to create the prototype of a 5G small cell SA base station. The prototype succeeded in the interconnection of commercial 5G smartphones. ETRI's software was able to provide connection to 32 devices simultaneously.

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