Deutsche Telekom partners with Crown Castle, Altiostar on 3.5 GHz test bed

Deutsche Telekom HQ
Bonn, Germany-based Deutsche Telekom is partnering on an edge computing test bed with Crown Castle in the U.S. (Deutsche Telekom)

Deutsche Telekom is getting together with Crown Castle and vRAN solution vendor Altiostar to study edge computing at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh using the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Services band.

Deutsche Telekom said it’s extending its Living Edge Lab (LEL), an ultra-low latency mobile test bed, to three sites on the CMU campus. Crown Castle is providing the fiber optic network.

“The Living Edge Lab test bed is a major technology milestone towards use-case centric Edge Computing and will provide application developers with an early experience of the benefits of 5G technology,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP of research and technology innovation at Deutsche Telekom, in a statement. “It is a unique Edge Computing platform that leverages a fully virtualized end-to-end solution and the implementation of user-tracing beamforming antennas for the first time in a live environment.”

The edge computing setup includes a modular Radio Access Network (RAN) platform as the key enabling concept for future low-latency networks. The experiment will leverage advanced LTE and 5G features such as Massive MIMO, Active Antenna Systems (AAS) and beamforming technology by Airrays, a German radio vendor, and is powered by virtual RAN (vRAN) technology provided by Altiostar of Tewksbury, Mass.

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The vRAN solution uses what’s described as an innovative method to connect the AAS panels with the virtualized baseband unit (vBBU), a performance-optimized NFV platform running on commercial off-the-shelf hardware inside the CMU campus next to the edge computing server “cloudlet.” Crown Castle owns and maintains the fiber optic network that provides connectivity to each site. The network design allows them to achieve latency as low as 15 milliseconds.

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A Deutsche Telekom spokesperson told FierceWirelessTech that the test bed will use the 3.5 GHz CBRS band; a test license already has been granted to Sunesys, a unit of Crown Castle, for the campus in Pittsburgh. Sunesys was granted (PDF) a two-year license last year, when it told the FCC that it would be using a variety of fixed and mobile transmitters for the indoor and outdoor testing. Crown Castle also is a member of the CBRS Alliance.

Deutsche Telekom said the Living Edge Lab test beds will be used to accelerate the development and demonstration of new edge computing applications jointly with industry partners in 2018.