nbn picks Nokia for 5G FWA mmWave CPE


Nokia has been selected by nbn to supply 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) mmWave Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) for nbn’s fixed wireless network upgrade. The program will help deliver faster speeds to thousands of homes and businesses across semi-rural, regional and remote Australia.

In a world-first, the customer premise equipment (CPE) provided by Nokia supports high frequency ‘mmWave’ bands, which are capable of Gigabit speeds for premises within a 7km radius of a radio base station.

nbn uses a mix of technologies across its network. Among them, FWA currently covers almost 650,000 premises across Australia. The upgrade program will extend the existing fixed wireless footprint by up to 50 percent,enabling approximately 120,000 former satellite-only eligible premises access to fixed wireless services for the first time.

The 5G mmWave upgrade utilizes the 28 GHz band to be operated in Non-Stand Alone (NSA) mode along with cmWave spectrum and will help enable faster speeds on the network, including the launch of two new wholesale high-speed tiers – 100 Mbps and 250 Mbps.

Nokia’s mmWave solution introduces an innovative, high gain antenna design that can leverage mmWave to a range of up to 10km to meet nbn´s stringent throughput and capacity requirements. The CPE comprises an outdoor unit installed on the roof of the premise and an indoor unit providing user interfaces for the customer, connecting to the outdoor receiver with a 2.5Gbps Power over Ethernet connection.

The devices will be used as part of nbn’s Fixed Wireless and Satellite Upgrade Program, a $750 million investment in the nbn Fixed Wireless network, made up of $480 million from the Australian Government supported by an additional $270 million from nbn.

“Using mmWave over long distances has been very challenging due to high signal attenuation. Nokia’s high gain Long Reach technology is an important innovation as it compensates for this attenuation, and minimises possible satellite interference, offering a balance of throughput and TCO,” said Shiv Putcha, Founder and Principal Analyst, Mandala Insights. “The collaboration with nbn is an important step to connecting the next billion users, who represent a significant opportunity for service providers in Australia and around the world.

Jason Ashton, Executive General Manager, Fixed Wireless and Satellite at nbn said: ‘We are facing a step-change in demand for broadband in rural and regional areas, with an estimated 300% increase in demand for data on our fixed wireless network over the next ten years. Nokia’s 5G mmWave solution allows nbn to better utilise both our sub6GHz and 5G mmWave spectrum allocations to vastly extend the range, speed and capacity of our existing fixed wireless network and improve the end user’s experience.

“This innovative antenna design will be a critical enabler for our Fixed Wireless upgrade program, and the long-standing relationship we have with Nokia is helping us to deliver on our commitment to continually enhance customer experience and evolve the Fixed Wireless network for future needs”l

The solution deployed by nbn is the latest addition to Nokia’s FWA portfolio which provides solutions for urban, suburban and rural environments. In another innovation, Nokia will show the second generation of its 360 High Gain technology at the Network X event in Amsterdam this month. 360 High Gain makes indoor installations of 5G mmWave FWA viable by amplifying available signals and dynamically finding the strongest connection. The second-generation proof of concept units is in ongoing customer trials in Europe, APAC and the U.S.

Dirk Verhaegen, VP Nokia Broadband Devices said: “Australia is a big country, much of which is sparsely populated. nbn’s deployment is a prime example of the utility of mmWave in FWA deployments which are an ideal solution in these environments. mmWave connections let us massively increase speeds, essential for residents to get proper access to education, healthcare and entertainment services.”