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Accurate Prediction Simplifies Private, In-Building 5G Network Deployments


Accurate Prediction Simplifies Private, In-Building 5G Network Deployments


Not too long ago, IT managers, RF engineers, system integrators, project managers, and OEMs had limited options when it came to deploying wireless networks in large warehouses and multi-floor buildings. The cellular bands were the exclusive domain of major carriers who held the licenses. To get cellular performance indoors, anyone wanting to deploy a private network had to work with individual carriers to extend macro networks to indoor spaces. In many facilities, this could be a complex and costly undertaking. As a result, the comparatively low cost and simplicity of Wi-Fi made it the go-to option for most in-building deployments where mobility rather than performance was the main requirement.

CBRS changed the game. Today, private 5G NR networks that deliver all the benefits of the most advanced cellular technologies can be deployed almost anywhere. Smaller facilities can leverage the reach, coverage, reliability, and performance of 5G in the 3.5 GHz spectrum to create seamless user experiences that go beyond the capabilities of Wi-Fi.

But, while choice is a wonderful thing, designing a private 3.5 GHz network that capitalizes on all the benefits 5G has to offer can be challenging. There’s always a risk of over-designing or under-designing the network, which can complicate deployments and add additional costs to limited budgets. The only way to effectively simplify network deployment and keep costs low is with accurate prediction of the coverage needed before the design process begins.

Inaccurate Designs Increase Cost and Reduce Performance

From a network service perspective, private 3.5 GHz networks provide several advantages over Wi-Fi indoors, including:

Increased reliability and security, which is needed to support performance-sensitive applications, such as on-site voice communications and a variety of IoT connections

Neutral host configuration capabilities, which can be leveraged to provide seamless user experiences for anyone entering the building

Greater reach and coverage compared to Wi-Fi at 5 GHz and 6 GHz, which means the same area in a building can be served with fewer base stations and access points

Potential for future network slicing, which is an exclusive 5G NR feature. A portion of the network can be dedicated to one functionality (IoT), while another portion can be dedicated to data streaming, and yet another to other functionality

To capitalize on these and other advantages a private 5G NR network offers, the network must be designed to achieve the ideal balance between cost and performance. This requires careful consideration of the same variables that impact Wi-Fi performance, such as the size of the space, the number of floors, the configuration of the coverage area, obstructions that could affect signal propagation, potential interference, dead zones, and more.

Inaccurate designs can negatively impact cost and performance. Under-designing the network can create blind spots and negate all the benefits 5G offers. Over-designing the network can complicate deployment and create more coverage and/or more interference at a higher cost compared to Wi-Fi. And the potential for error increases as the size and/or complexity of the venue increases.

Network design tools created specifically to enable the design of Wi-Fi networks simply aren’t equipped to provide the prediction accuracy needed. And design tools that offer optional 5G network modules may not provide the high degree of accuracy delivered by those specifically engineered for 5G network design.

Prediction Accuracy Enables Efficient Design and Deployment of 5G Networks

For anyone looking to achieve the right balance between cost and performance, the ideal prediction tool must be optimized for 5G networks and simple to use. Unlike carriers, IT managers, RF engineers, system integrators, project managers, and OEMs don’t need to delve deeply into RF engineering principles and processes to get their network up and running. They need features and functions that will enable them to quickly predict coverage and visualize the placement of small cells on one floor or multiple floors of a facility.

Of course, the tool must be proven to provide the prediction accuracy needed to enable the design of reliable, private 5G networks. A trial network deployed by QMC Telecom earlier this year at the Bossa Nova Mall in Brazil is a good example of how accurate prediction can be leveraged for 3.5 GHz deployments.

Designed to demonstrate the efficiency of 5G service at 3.5 GHz, the Bossa Nova Mall trial confirmed that all the benefits of 5G can be delivered in large, indoor, public spaces where multiple users and devices are vying for bandwidth and service. With a private 3.5 GHz network, Wi-Fi upgrades can be avoided, and the 5G performance needed to provide seamless user experiences indoors can be delivered easily.

The Bossa Nova Mall trial network also offered an opportunity to compare predicted and actual 5G coverage. As explained in a recent iBwave webinar, the results of the data analysis show that the accuracy of the prediction provided by iBwave Design enabled QMC Telecom to deploy a 3.5 GHZ network that met all coverage requirements.

More importantly, the analysis shows that accurate prediction modeling before design can be used to leverage the reach, coverage, reliability, and performance of 5G to go beyond the capabilities of any Wi-Fi network. And it confirms that accurate prediction can simplify and streamline the in-building network design process so that deployment is done right the first time.

iBwave Design Enables Accurate 3.5 GHz Deployments

The data from the Bossa Nova Mall trial shows that iBwave Design offers the prediction accuracy needed to simplify deployment of indoor 5G networks at 3.5 GHz. With its powerful prediction engine and advanced 3D modeling capabilities, iBwave Design goes beyond tools that have been adapted for 5G. It enables users to predict and visualize the placement of network components and cabling from floor-to-floor in any indoor venue, streamline deployment, and strike the right balance between cost and performance for any 5G indoor wireless network.

Watch the webinar to learn more about the data analysis that shows how iBwave Design prediction modeling enabled QMC Telecom to accurately design coverage for its 3.5 GHz trial deployment at the Bossa Nova Mall.




Ali Jemmali
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