Innovating to Shape the Future of Distributed Edge

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Colt delivers ground-breaking Private 5G pilot in Paris, supported by Cisco and Calnex

Innovation is at the heart of Colt’s strategy and we’re continually testing the latest technologies to meet the future needs of our customers. As part of our 5G and Edge incubation program we’ve been working with partners including Cisco and Calnex on a private 5G pilot in Paris.

This explored a range of new concepts, including a distributed Edge platform and network synchronisation, both enabled on the Colt IQ Network. Our goal was to provide valuable use cases, especially for digital transformation and Smart City concepts, and validate them in a real user environment.

As part of Colt’s 5G and Edge incubation program, we have been working with partners including Cisco and Calnex on a private 5G pilot in Paris to trial a range of new concepts, including a distributed Edge platform and network synchronisation, both enabled on the Colt IQ Network. This was intended to provide valuable use cases, especially for digital transformation and Smart City concepts, and validate them in a real user environment.

In a world where everything is connected and every user will have the opportunity to enjoy a highly personalised experience from home or at the office with the hybrid model, 5G offers massive potential to revolutionise both business and consumer markets.

As a result, many sectors with high bandwidth requirements for business-critical services, including manufacturing, R&D, and broadcasting, are looking at how private 5G can help deliver the promised benefits.

The real estate sector is also assessing private 5G, and our pilot examined the performance of indoor 5G connectivity and opportunities related to smart offices and consolidated private building networks​.

For developers and real estate companies, connectivity presents an ever-present challenge – particularly for their development pipelines, where the expectation is that they will be at ‘state of the art’ upon delivery, which may be several years down the line.

The pilot represents an important step forward in further understanding the benefits 5G for business verticals like real estate and how to deliver them. It also highlights the importance of working closely with trusted partners, which we see as a critical element in delivering services in the future.

Cisco supported Colt with the distributed Edge platform that underpinned the end-to-end private 5G architecture, by supplying the on-premise compute infrastructure to deliver the disaggregated Open-RAN architecture (DU, CU and security). In addition, it enabled Colt’s Telco Edge NFV infrastructure in Amsterdam, hosting the virtualised private 5G core, security gateway, centralised management and telemetry VNF applications for the overall solution.

In addition, Calnex Sentinel delivered time-based test and measurement capabilities to support the network synchronization element of the pilot. This allowed Colt to successfully test the synchronisation between London and Paris, across the Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) network over a distance of 661km.

This long-term test delivered positive results for MAX TE (maximum time error), cTE (constant time error) and dTE (dynamic time error). Asymmetry measured via cTE was also adjusted at the destination, resulting in a maximum time error of just 72nsec, which was very promising and well within standard tolerances. This opens a range of possibilities for customers who are using applications that need high quality time synchronisation to deliver the real benefits of 5G.

Cisco’s Vice President, EMEAR Service Provider, Adam MacHale, said: “Colt continues to invest in cutting-edge innovation and technology with Cisco. From Segment routing based 5G backhaul on its IQ Network to 400G OPEN ZR+ Routed Optical Networking the partnership goes from strength to strength. Colt have now further evolved the platform to tie their customers’ cloud and 5G services together with a transport network slice with Service Level Agreements. This proved the perfect platform for Colt’s Private 5G initiative as we explore opportunities across retail, healthcare and manufacturing, alongside enterprise networks, based on Wi-Fi.”

Calnex’s Business Development Director, Paul Norris, said: “It has been exciting to be part of this leading-edge Private 5G network project in Paris. As the development of private networks in the business and consumer market grows, the importance of high-quality time synchronisation is ever-more critical for success. The measurement results of Colts IQ network performance captured on Sentinel demonstrated that the required tight sync standards can be achieved, and we are looking forward to the next step to test time error measurements at the network O-RUs.”

Colt’s Executive Vice President – Strategy and Transformation, Jaya Deshmukh, said: “Our pilot in Paris, which was part of our 5G and Edge incubation program, was ground-breaking. Not only is private 5G is a new concept, particularly for the real estate sector, but Virtual Functions, Edge and Open RAN are also brand new in the market. In addition, delivering 5G sync from two different countries is completely new and offers really exciting possibilities.”

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