Nokia touts digital twin tool for 5G planning

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Nokia says it is making 5G deployments faster and more cost-effective with a patent-pending virtual reality (VR) test lab.

As 5G increases the number and complexity of physical antennas, the tests help operators to visualise the best locations for the antennas and optimise the performance of them.

At the testing site in Oulu, Finland, Nokia is already working with operators, including Telia, to simulate the performance of massive MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) beamforming antennae through combining physical over-the-air tests with virtual reality.

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, explained, "We are very proud of our one-of-a-kind 5G virtual reality testing environment. Instead of expensive and time-consuming drive tests in the city streets, we can build a digital twin on the test lab wall and simulate the mobile devices moving around and the antenna beams following them.

"This is used for verification, troubleshooting and optimisation, making it faster and more efficient to deploy 5G."

Building a bridge

Timo Hietalahti, Head of Network Architecture and Development at Telia Finland commented, "Nokia's unique lab environment helps us to identify 5G radio network planning challenges earlier and solve them faster. This is a big step forward, as it builds the bridge from product design to network implementation and optimisation."

Nokia says the test lab will also be instrumental in the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to maximise the capabilities and spectral efficiency of massive MIMO beamforming antennas.