Cloud 5G ‘could transmit 100Gbps’, after Telekom Slovenia trial

15 June 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


A European-wide research project has successfully demonstrated cloud technology for the next generation of mobile telecoms, achieving 2.5Gbps data speeds.

The iCirrus project, led by two UK universities and a German research institute, means that innovative front-haul solutions could achieve even higher data rates – up to 100Gbps.

“We were able to demonstrate for the first time an Ethernet-based front-haul solution for millimetre-wave signals that achieves the high data rates expected for 5G,” said Kai Habel, project manager at Germany’s Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (Fraunhofer HHI).

The researchers carried out the successful trial with Telekom Slovenia in Ljubljana, but Orange, Cyprus’s PrimeTel, and Spain’s Wellness Telecom were also involved. The project included Adva Optical Networking, Viavi Solutions, IAG – a radio specialist – and InterDigital Europe.

The UK’s University of Kent led the academic side of the project, working with another UK university, Essex, and Fraunhofer HHI. The two universities’ roles in future European Union projects will be threatened if the UK does leave the EU.

The aim of this three-year, €3.8-million project was to develop various solutions for the intelligent cloud-radio access network (cloud-RAN) in the new 5G mobile communications standard.

This new approach puts handovers into effect faster and makes the system more robust against interference; it also enhances the security of communication by preventing unauthorised interception and external attacks.

The iCirrus results show that it is possible to achieve the goals of a 1000-fold area capacity at a tenfold-to-hundredfold higher user data rate, compared with today’s 4G LTE. Fraunhofer HHI’s contribution to the project was the development of a synchronous front-haul solution for 5G. It provides millimetre-wave radio signals at a frequency of 60GHz.


According to the German researchers, unlike with 4G LTE, the 5G signals are generated and detected in the cloud, thus rendering it necessary to have the option of transmitting them over several nodes in the transmission network using optical fibre. This adds the challenge of very high synchronisation requirements to suppress interference.

Fraunhofer HHI says it can transmit data at up to 2.5Gbps error-free in a flexible 5G cloud-RAN for the first time.