SK Telecom together with Ericsson have successfully demonstrated the Elastic Cell technology quite recently. The technology, is expected to become a key enabler for 5G.
Elastic cell, also known as Flexible Cell, is a new technology that enables multiple cells near the handset to cooperate for every transmission thereby creating a user-centric environment, compared to the current cell-centric one where each handset communicates with only one specific cell.
A serving cell receives information on nearby cells from a handset and selects a group of cells that can improve the network quality in the cell-edge for transmission while temporarily turning off the cells that cause interferences. As a result, Elastic Cell can ensure more seamless data transmission by preventing possible quality degradation that can occur when the handset moves across cell boundaries.
According to SK Telecom and Ericsson, the demonstration confirmed that the technology can improve data transfer rate by up to 50 percent at the cell boundary areas compared to the existing LTE network. With an aim to commercialize Elastic Cell by 2016, SK Telecom will continue to advance the technology.
Once applied, Elastic Cell will enable SK Telecom to provide the most optimized network service to each individual device regardless of its location while bringing the company one step closer to achieving the goal of ‘1Gbps data throughput anywhere’ which is also one of major issues in the minds of ‘METIS (Mobile and wireless communications Enablers for the Twenty-twenty Information Society)’, an EU project for 5G research, and 5G Forum, an industry-academia R&D partnership for 5G in Korea.
Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Technology R&D Center at SK Telecom, said, “SK Telecom, together with Ericsson, succeeded in the world’s first demonstration of Elastic Cell which is expected to become a prerequisite for the next generation network. We will continue to take the lead in developing a variety of technologies necessary to evolve cells.”
Thomas Norén, Vice President and Head of Product Area Radio, Ericsson says: “With this new technology SK Telecom takes an important step toward the next generation of mobile networks. Consumers will benefit from the improved seamless experience wherever they are in the cell and while on the move. SK Telecom has been a leader in technology development of 4G and beyond and we are proud to support the developments.” Earlier on July 6, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding at Ericsson’s headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden for joint research on 5G technologies.