STL’s Full-Stack Solutions for Connectivity in US

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We discuss the following topics in this blog:

  1. Decoding the 5G technology landscape
  2. Understanding what it means for Gen Y and Gen Z
  3. 5G live networks deployment scenario
  4. STL’s 5G Multi-Band Macro Radio Ecosystem

In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following FAQs:

  1. What is WiFi?
  2. What is an Optical Fibre Cable?
Next-generation networks for the smartest generation

Decoding the 5G Technology Landscape

Almost every decade we see a significant mobile network transformation happen around us. The ‘G’ refers to the generation of wireless technology. 1G let us talk to each other, 2G let us send messages, 3G gave us broadband data and Internet, 4G made all of this happen at faster speeds but 5G promises to deliver the extraordinary.

5G brings three new aspects to the table: greater speed (to move more data), lower latency (to be more responsive), and the ability to connect a lot more devices at once (for sensors and smart devices). With x100 capacity than 4G, internet speeds will dramatically increase. Imagine downloading a 2-hour movie. It would’ve taken 26 hours on 3G and 6 minutes on 4G. But on 5G, you’ll be ready to watch your movie in just over 3.5 secs!

Fig 1. Here is a glimpse of the improvements of 5G over its predecessors

5G promises ultra-low latency, which is the amount of delay in sending or receiving information. 4G tends to average around 100 ms vs the human reaction time of 200-300 ms but 5G will bring it down to 1 ms. We can use 5G to replace real-time interactions, meaning you will be able to interact with people, objects and characters controlled by someone else with no lag on either side.

It will also provide a much more personalised web experience using a technique called network slicing.

Network slicing is a way of creating separate wireless networks in the cloud allowing users to create their own bespoke network. For example, an online gamer requires faster response times and greater data capacity than a user who wants to check their social media.

Fig 2. 5G technology use-case landscape

What This Means for Gen Y and Gen Z?

Fig 3: Education industry’s familiarity with 5G

Zoomers and Millennials distinguish themselves by being a part of technology rather than being influenced by technology. So, whether you belong to Gen Z or Y, it’s a fact that cell phones and wireless technology is paramount in today’s time and age. It goes without saying that the ‘always on’ generation doesn’t remember a time when wireless didn’t work. From being our new credit card to being our personal TVs – when it comes to Zoomers & Millennials, smartphones are their ID and identity. Having said that, the world is poised to change forever with the implementation of fifth-generation connectivity across the world. So, as far as Gen Z and Gen Y are concerned, the enticing fifth generation has got your back. 

All things considered, 5G is a gamechanger, encompassing a gigantic swatch of radio frequencies. While certain frequencies will enable long-range connectivity inside a building, very high frequencies will enable precise location accuracy along with high-bandwidth applications such as 4k and 8k video streaming. This means a guaranteed internet connection with zero lag time during video conferences, making your work-from-home meetings a whole lot easier. It also means faster and more reliable operational technology for a building! 

With 5G networks being built out all over the world, businesses are witnessing how they can be tapped to facilitate as well as enhance their applications. However, for that to happen, 5G must be more widely available – a promise that many of the world’s biggest telecoms are already turning into reality.

A 5G Rollout! Is This Really Happening? 

What if we say yes, it really is! 

Well, considering that operators around the world are accelerating the deployment of the 5G network, New Radio solutions might have to come together to affordably implement enhanced broadband, low latency, and massive IoT. STL has been actively working towards building a world-class, open, and flexible ecosystem to design as well as deliver such 5G solutions. At STL we believe that the future of networks will be built on the premise of four specialized technological confluences: wired and wireless, software and hardware, connectivity and computation, and open-source – all at the edge of the network

Fig 4. 5G deployments across the globe as of Aug 2020. Fig 5. Current live 5G networks speeds (b/w Jul 20  to Sep 20)

In sum, an industry-leading integrator of digital networks, STL has developed an end-to-end multi-band radio solution for next-generation 5G networks. Providing a comprehensive Open RAN (Radio Access Network) solution spanning across Radio Unit, Centralized Unit, and Distributed Unit, STL has established a key ecosystem alliance for 5G New Radio products aligned with open RAN and open interface standards. These resultant solutions are most certainly going to enable operators worldwide to address multiple deployment use cases with a faster time to market.

STL’s 5G Multi-Band Macro Radio Ecosystem is Driving the Change

With an intense focus on end-to-end network solutions development, STL continues to be driven by the humongous data growth and technology shifts taking place globally. With so many large telecom companies announcing plans with the aim to connect millions of homes and enterprises, STL continues to look at these challenges as opportunities to work with customers in terms of the overall addressable market. 

As operators around the world accelerate 5G network deployment, New Radio solutions will need to expedite affordable implementation of enhanced broadband, low latency communications and massive IoT. STL has been actively working towards building a world-class, open and agile ecosystem to design and deliver such 5G solutions.

Since such solutions require both: a deep specialization in radio hardware and software elements and effective integration of each element, STL has developed deep expertise in Open RAN standards-based software integration. In doing so, STL forged a unique collaboration with Saankhya Labs, VVDN and the associated Open RAN ecosystem for their respective expertise areas. These solutions will enable operators worldwide to address multiple deployment use cases with a faster time to market.While it may take 5G years to expand to its full potential, once it’s fully in place, it will leave us wondering how we ever lived without it!


What is WiFi?

Put simply, WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers, etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a WiFi hotspot that people in its vicinity may use to access internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a WiFi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.

To get a little more technical, WiFi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN that allows devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since WiFi signals need to carry significantly higher amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).

What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

An optical fibre cable is a cable type that has a few to hundreds of optical fibres bundled together within a protective plastic coating. They help carry digital data in the form of light pulses across large distances at faster speeds. For this, they need to be installed or deployed either underground or aerially. Standalone fibres cannot be buried or hanged so fibres are bunched together as cables for the transmission of data. This is done to protect the fibre from stress, moisture, temperature changes and other externalities.

There are three main components of a optical fibre cable, core (It carries the light and is made of pure silicon dioxide (SiO2) with dopants such as germania, phosphorous pentoxide, or alumina to raise the refractive index; Typical glass cores range from as small as 3.7um up to 200um), Cladding (Cladding surrounds the core and has a lower refractive index than the core, it is also made from the same material as the core; 1% refractive index difference is maintained between the core and cladding; Two commonly used diameters are 125µm and 140µm) and Coating (Protective layer that absorbs shocks, physical damage and moisture; The outside diameter of the coating is typically either 250µm or 500µm; Commonly used material for coatings are acrylate,Silicone, carbon, and polyimide).

An optical fibre cable is made up of the following components: Optical fibres – ranging from one to many. Buffer tubes (with different settings), for protection and cushioning of the fibre. Water protection in the tubes – wet or dry. A central strength member (CSM) is the backbone of all cables. Armoured tapes for stranding to bunch the buffer tubes and strength members together. Sheathing or final covering to provide further protection.

The five main reasons that make this technology innovation disruptive are fast communication speed, infinite bandwidth & capacity, low interference, high tensile strength and secure communication. The major usescases of optical fibre cables include intenet connectivity, computer networking, surgery & dentistry, automotive industry, telephony, lighting & decorations, mechanical inspections, cable television, military applications and space.

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