The Irish city will explore the practicalities of 5G deployment and how Dense Air’s ‘neutral host’ infrastructure can be used by multiple operators
Dublin’s initial 5G testbed network in the city’s Docklands area is now live and will be open for companies to start testing in the next six to eight weeks.
The initiative is the result of an existing partnership between Dublin Council and its smart city initiative, Smart Dublin, Dense Air Ireland and Trinity College’s Connect communications research unit.
Compared to previous generation networks, 5G requires a much denser network of base stations. This hardware densification presents challenges for operators around the cost of deployment. Cities are also concerned about the visual and practical impact of increased telecoms infrastructure.
The hardware densification required for 5G presents challenges for operators.
Under the agreement, Dense Air is building a trial small cell network which will be deployed on new and existing street furniture. The city will explore how Dense Air’s ‘neutral host’ infrastructure can be used by multiple operators.
Dense Air, a subsidiary of Airspan Networks, uses “carrier of carriers” neutral host small cell technologies to deliver cost-effective densification to any existing LTE mobile carrier or service provider.
Jamie Cudden, programme manager, Smart Dublin, said the purpose of the testbed is to gain insight into how 5G might be installed and deployed on a large scale.
“What we’re figuring out is, how can a city like Dublin enable faster roll-out and help the operators deploy this technology?” said Cudden. “They’re not going to be able to do this themselves because it’s expensive and they need access to power and height”.
The network will be available to both mobile network providers and innovative technology companies.
As well as enabling super-fast streaming on mobile networks, Dublin is also eyeing opportunities such as how 5G could be used to enable drones to help in emergency situations and to support the roll-out of connected cars.
“What we’re figuring out is, how can a city like Dublin enable faster roll-out and help the operators deploy this technology?”
Vodafone, Three Ireland and Eir all plan to launch 5G in Ireland this year.
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