Verizon leveraging integrated wireless, fiber engineering process to hasten 5G deployment
Editor’s note: This interview, based on a conversation during the Wireless Infrastructure Association’s Connect X show last month, has been edited for length and clarity. A video recording of the full interview is available here and embedded below.
Q: Tell me a little bit about Verizon’s broader strategy as it relates to 5G near-term and long-term.
A: What you’re seeing now is really a remarkable technical evolution that’s occurring in the industry. What we’ve been driving literally since 2015 believe it or not is an advancement of a set of capabilities that the network can provide to consumers, enterprise, small business alike, that is truly transformational. Probably the best way to think about what 5G can bring to the table is in the form of currencies.
Q: Let’s go into those currencies. If I recall Mr. Vestberg’s CES keynote correctly, there’s eight of them. Maybe you can walk us through those.
A: They are based on network capabilities that are largely defined today so the starting point for them is actually fairly mature while the network deployments are new and off to the races…the currencies are defined by true network capabilities. Starting with throughput, the promise of 5G is really a throughput experience of up to 10 GBPs if you have the right amount of bandwidth deployed. That’s currency number one.
The second one is the bandwidth that can accommodate connections like that, so being able to accommodate significantly more users on a per square kilometer basis.
The third one is low latency. This gets really exciting when you combine your 5G radio access network with your multi-access edge compute framework…for example, in a use case like virtual reality where you want to ensure your roundtrip latency is less than 20 milliseconds. Part of that you solve with a new 5G air link, part of that you solve with an edge compute framework that puts that processing closer to the customer.
We see a lot of activity in high-speed mobility. Today’s LTE networks are somewhat bound by how fast the end device can go but in the context of drones and high speed trains, 5G enables significantly faster end-device speed, raw speed, ground speed if you will or air speed, on the network so the hand-off mechanisms between sectors and sites in the context of 5G is designed for high-speed mobility like that.
We talk about service deployment timeframes and probably a key feature within 5G you’ll want to focus on is the concept of network slicing. When you have a virtualized network framework you can actually slice the network in real time to provide different types of use cases in a highly efficient way for the operator and an optimized way for the end user. That allows us to shorten service delivery for new features and services on the network significantly. Certainly from an enterprise perspective, it allows for a very agile framework to deliver new products.
A:What we focus on today is two-fold in the sense that we’ve you’ve got really an award-winning LTE network that is best-in-class and…you’re providing a phenomenal experience over 98% of the population in the United States. I think you have to ensure on day one for us is, as we roll out our 5G networks, we want to ensure very seamless experience between 4G and 5G for the consumer, continue to meet the broadband needs as the network evolves and the consumer experience shifts.
A: We’ve made a conscious effort to really pair our wireless engineering with a fiber engineering process and what that’s allowed us to do is pursue over 60 markets around the country. We’re going to actually be building fiber into the footprint and you know, truthfully, serving our own needs if you will from a frontal and backhaul perspective. That’s a very integrated engineering process that creates tremendous synergy on our end and allows for very rapid deployment.