Last week both Orange and Telefónica made headlines: the first, for launching the first commercial 5G SA network, and the second, for announcing the deployment of the first commercial 5G mmWave mobile network. Now it is Vodafone’s turn, which today presented a private 5G network prototype very interesting.
And why is it interesting? because it is built on a Raspberry Piso it’s affordable and portable. This concept has been developed at the operator’s European R&D Center in Malaga and will see the light of day at the MWC in Barcelona.
A miniature 5G base station
Vodafone has wanted to give private mobile network (MPN) services a twist through 5G and has presented a 5G network prototype built on a Raspberry Pi PC with a silicon chipset.
To do this, he has combined a Raspberry Pi 4 with a small software defined radio circuit board (SDR) embeddable and compatible with 5G. That SDR board can turn any computing platform into a miniature 5G base station and is fully compliant with Open Radio Access Network (RAN) standards.
The result is a system that 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. With this, according to Vodafone, small companies will be able to have your own 5G mobile network private, affordable and portable as an alternative to the public mobile network.
The objective, explains the operator, is to make 5G-based private mobile networks (MPN) more accessible for small and medium-sized European companies, although it also offers households wider coverage and an additional broadband connection.
Also, this 5G network prototype on a Raspberry Pi has a size similar to a home WiFi routerso it can be easily transported to set up your own private network in a public place or extend public network coverage to a remote location like a basement.
As we said at the beginning, the concept has been developed at the new Vodafone European R&D Center in Malaga and will be presented in a demo during MWC 2023. For now, is a prototypebut Vodafone “is open to interested providers” to develop and produce it.