The eyes of the small cell industry are on Taiwan this week as a double act of major events takes place in the capital Taipei. Small Cell Forum is partnering with ITRI, Taiwan’s world-renowned technology research institute, on its latest Plugfest, and on a ground-breaking 5G Workshop.
The 2017 edition of the Forum’s Plugfest series will focus on one of the hottest topics in mobile networks – private evolved packet core (EPC). Together with small cells, a private, sometimes virtualized, EPC can enable a wide range of new business models, especially in the enterprise sector where SCF is focusing many of its efforts this year. The emergence of shared and unlicensed spectrum options for LTE will expand the opportunities further.
An enterprise, city or public safety organization can deploy a private EPC on localized hardware or in the cloud, and achieve a self-contained network of small cells which is highly controlled, cost-effective and optimized for their particular needs – while still linking to the mobile operator’s core when required.
Held in conjunction with ETSI, the Plugfest is being held in the ITRI labs June 5-9, with a wide variety of EPC and small cell suppliers testing performance and interoperability between their solutions. Specific tests (specified by SCF and GSMA) will involve the S1 interface between the RAN and the EPC, and the S6a and S8 interfaces between private and MNO packet cores, including VoLTE roaming.
Like all SCF Plugfests, it will make a significant contribution to achieving scalable, interoperable platforms and accelerating deployment.
SCF also headlined a packed day of presentations and discussions, at the 5G Workshop in Taipei on Monday June 5.
The Forum’s covered the topic of ‘The critical role of small cells on the road to 5G’, and addressed the migration path to next generation networks, the key enablers of hyperdense 5G deployments, and the importance of an open ecosystem to foster innovation and accelerate uptake. Taiwan is a fitting location for this discussion since its electronics industry has played such a significant role in building this kind of open ecosystem in the wireless sector.
The event also featured speakers from major operators in the region such as Chungwha Telecom and Softbank; from ITRI and the Taiwanese National Communications Commission; in addition to local and global vendors.
More reports next week.