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Ericsson and Telstra Achieve World First Packet Fronthaul Commercial Deployment

Telstra and Ericsson announced the first commercial network deployment of Ericsson’s industry-leading packet fronthaul technology in Telstra’s network. The new solution delivers greater efficiency and flexibility, helping prepare Telstra’s network for future Radio Access Network (RAN) virtualisation

The field deployment is the first of its kind utilising the new Ericsson Router 6673 fronthaul gateway. The Ericsson Router 6673 enables fronthaul (radio to baseband interface) packetization for all available Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) radios at a Telstra mobile site from the legacy Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) standard to the newer Evolved CPRI (eCPRI) standard. This is achieved using unique Ericsson Silicon, which integrates Ericsson RAN Compute (baseband) technology into a router for the first time. Replacing the CPRI link with eCPRI offers a more efficient and flexible way to connect the radio and the baseband using Ethernet.

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For Telstra, this solution provides the ability to take advantage of future Cloud RAN packet switched connections needed to underpin technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and Internet of Things (IoT) while also enabling the full virtualisation of a network, which is an important ingredient in the evolution of 5G technology.

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The Router 6673 was first deployed at three Telstra mobile sites in regional Victoria using ethernet transport to connect back to the nearest Telstra baseband aggregation site. The new technology was implemented successfully with real-time traffic patterns showing promising conversion gains. This included downlink peak fronthaul reducing from 30Gbps to ~2Gbps (93 per cent) and uplink peak fronthaul reducing from 30Gbps to ~16Gbps (46 per cent).

Iskra Nikolova, Telstra’s Network and Infrastructure Executive, says: “Telstra’s long collaboration with Ericsson has once again delivered a technological breakthrough that will reaffirm Telstra as the 5G leader in Australia. The ability to packetize existing FDD radio connections using the new fronthaul gateway technology will allow Telstra to leverage its significant investment in 5G radio infrastructure while getting the benefit of the rapid evolution of RAN Compute technology. We’re proud to be partnering with Ericsson on the development of technology that will enhance the country’s connectivity.”

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Emilio Romeo, Head of Ericsson, Australia, and New Zealand, says: “This world-first deployment represents a truly noteworthy step in the journey towards network virtualisation and centralisation, while also paving the way for further development of new and emerging technologies, such as AI and IoT, that rely on fast, agile, and efficient networks. I’m pleased that Ericsson is able to play such an essential role in the development of Australia’s connected future.”

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