Versatility, superior connectivity and security are the keys to defining Mobile Private Network (MPN) services through 5G. In this area, Vodafone went further by presenting a prototype 5G network built on a Raspberry Pi computer the size of a credit card and an equally small and advanced silicon chip. This industry-first concept will allow small businesses and homes to expand 5G coverage and increase capacity as needed, as well as having their own affordable, portable 5G network.
This beta version combines the expertise and broad coverage of Vodafone’s European network with the versatility of the Rapsberry Pi PC to make 5G-based Mobile Private Networks (MPNs) more accessible to the 22 million SMBs worldwide. Europe. This development will also give homes wider coverage, providing an extra broadband connection at times when many residents are connected at the same time.
MPS offers companies an alternative to the public mobile network, providing private, fast, reliable and highly secure coverage for their daily activities. MPNs are mainly used by large companies or organizations that have facilities that need to connect many devices, machines, autonomous vehicles and robots, such as in large factories.
Vodafone is looking at ways to democratize NPM and extend its benefits to small business owners and SMEs, while reducing the cost of entry and the resources needed to try out new digital services. The 5G network on the Raspberry Pi is also portable and no bigger than a home WiFi router, meaning a customer can immediately set up their own network in a public place like a coffee shop or extend public network coverage for a remote control. remote. Location as basement.
Yago Tenorio, Director of Network Strategy and Architecture and Vodafone Fellow commented, “We’ve seen what the Raspberry Pi has done for computing, making it more accessible for people of all ages, and we hope to achieve the same with 5G.” .
The new system combines the Raspberry Pi 4 with a small 5G-capable, embeddable, software-defined radio (SDR) circuit board manufactured by UK-based Lime Microsystems. This SDR card can turn any computing platform into a miniature 5G base station. The resulting system can be used as part of a dedicated private network, an extension of a larger MPN, or connected to Vodafone’s public network like any other base station. The card’s design is fully compliant with Open Radio Access Network (RAN) standards, which means it can be used with any computer capable of running Open RAN compliant software.
The concept was developed at Vodafone’s new European Research and Development Center in Malaga (Vodafone Innovation Centre), which has a team of engineers dedicated to the development of silicon chips to drive new RAN innovations. These new networks are based on a combination of hardware and software from multiple vendors rather than existing single vendor networks, driving more innovation and strengthening the vendor supply chain.
Iago Tenorio continued: “While this is just a prototype, it has the potential to bring new technologies – such as cloud, artificial intelligence and big data – within reach of the many small businesses we support across Europe. are to a place where they can eventually be developed and produced. Our doors are open to interested service providers.”
Vodafone will bring its 5G demonstration on the Raspberry Pi to the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which starts on Monday, February 27th.