Moscow, Russia. MegaFon, Nokia and the Radio Research and Development Institute (NIIR) have successfully completed testing of a cognitive system for broadband wireless access (cognitive radio), which envisages capitalizing on additional possibilities to make more effective use of the radio frequency spectrum.
The testing was carried out as part of research initiated by the Russian Federal Radio Frequency Committee. Field tests proved that, even at the current stage of development of broadband mobile networks, it is possible to implement a technical solution for licensing shared use of spectrum bands (Licensed Shared Access, LSA). As such, the industry has moved one step closer to 5G. Flexible use of the spectrum is a must for supporting billions of network connections — users, apps, devices and facilities.
By using additional radio frequency bands, the LSA solution employed by MegaFon, Nokia and NIIR makes it possible for a mobile operator to improve coverage and boost the quality of mobile internet for subscribers in buildings and also out in the open. Using LSA will simplify management of the radio frequency spectrum by employing technical solutions capable of dynamically calibrating the network in line with established spectrum use rules based on knowledge of the electromagnetic environment in that specific geographical area. Base stations and user equipment will adjust operating parameters in line with commands from the network management system, which in turn will get information from the LSA geolocation database on current restrictions on use of a certain radio frequency.
The radio frequency spectrum is a limited resource and this limitation is often the reason for low capacity and inadequate mobile network coverage and could negatively affect subscribers’ perception of the quality of services. At the same time, radio frequencies that could be employed are often not used to their full potential or are only partially used, for example in specific regions or at certain times. The LSA concept the industry is suggesting would allow operators to use radio frequencies as effectively as possible and also provide the regulator with new tools for distributing frequencies more dynamically.
To investigate the possibilities the LSA cognitive broadband access system offers, Nokia, Fairspectrum and MegaFon created a test area where, together with NIIR, they studied the possibility of quickly managing the performance parameters of mobile internet devices depending on the electromagnetic environment. NIIR will present the results of the test to the Federal Radio Frequency Committee. Through the test MegaFon obtained valuable information about radically new 5G approaches for use of the frequency spectrum and also practical experience that will be useful for developing the company’s network development strategy.
Alexander Bashmakov, Chief Technology Officer, MegaFon, said: “Thanks to joint efforts with Nokia and NIIR, we are now talking about the first practical step towards using cognitive radio in Russian telecommunications. This is the next step towards the emergence of the 5G standard, which underlines MegaFon’s status as a technology leader and its commitment to developing further with the best interests of customers in mind.”
Juha-Pekka Takala, VP, Head of the Eastern Europe Region, Nokia, said: “The collaboration between MegaFon, Nokia and NIIR on cognitive radio testing and implementation of LSA is extremely important for our industry because, as a result, we will obtain the technical and legal base for shared use of the spectrum. Thanks to this partnership we can get a deeper understanding of the specifics of operators’ activities, their requirements and challenges and build our solutions around the latest technology trends. We are ready to support MegaFon’s strive for innovation and the highest quality.”
Valery Butenko, CEO, NIIR, said: “Thanks to collaboration with MegaFon and Nokia we have carried out testing of a cognitive wireless access system incorporating a geolocation database. The testing clearly demonstrated the possibility of shared use of radio frequency bands by several radio communication services and implementation of LSA as a promising solution for access to and management of different radio frequency spectrum bands. Thanks to these tests, Russia can make a significant step forward in regulating use of the radio frequency spectrum.”
Notes for editors
A significant amount of the frequency spectrum is assigned to organizations that only partially use their frequencies. A large part of the spectrum is only used by owners in specific regions or at a certain time. The business advantages of LSA are clear: it opens up access to new bands or significantly expands opportunities to use bands that have already been assigned and on which other spectrum users continue to operate. Standardization of LSA is being handled by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). A Plum Consulting survey for Qualcomm and Nokia showed that the benefit from using LSA in Europe for just one frequency band could be 30 billion euros.