TIP Launches Total Site Solution for Ultra-Rural Network Deployments
Deploying reliable and high-speed networks to ultra-rural communities has long been one of the greatest challenges for the telecoms industry. The combination of lower population densities, lack of existing infrastructure, and availability of local expertise means that expanding networks into these areas has traditionally not been economically viable, leaving significant areas of the world unconnected. To help catalyze the industry to find a solution to this challenge, the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and its members have developed the Total Site Solution (TSS), an optimized, lean site configuration specifically adapted to ultra-rural environments.
The solution which incorporates a range of essential elements, including low-power RAN equipment, off-grid energy solutions and satellite backhaul links, has been created by a diverse group of technology partners, including vendors and local system integrators, who have built, tested, and validated each of the necessary elements and their interoperability, as well as their ability to work with TIM Brasil’s core network.
The first TSS use case targets greenfield deployments to off-grid populations of less than 5,000 people, looking to address mid to low amounts of data consumption, through a “Town Center Model” for 4G coverage and supporting VoLTE for voice service.
For the use case, TIM Brasil created the technical and business use case requirements in a Pilot Program. Initial lab trials were then conducted at TIP’s Community Lab in North Los Angeles, California, in collaboration with vendors BaiCells (RAN); Morningstar (power systems); and Gilat (satellite backhaul links) to evaluate the interoperability of the elements. After the validation in the labs, local system integrator partners WLLCTEL and Zurich/Amerinode created cost-optimized site designs tailored for ultra-rural environments. Two test sites were subsequently built to prove the design and to simplify the construction process of the sites, after which TIM Brasil conducted a field trial to test the effectiveness of the solution in preparation for market trials and commercial deployments.
TSS has now gone through TIP’s Rural Site Configuration PlugFest which has expanded the initial configuration to include additional RAN (Airspan, Parallel Wireless, VNL) and VSAT backhaul equipment vendors (including ST Engineering iDirect), and validated them against a comprehensive test plan. These proven configurations are now listed on TIP Exchange and PlugFest, making them available to all members for further trials of TSS in other areas of the world.
Next steps for the TSS project include:
- Sharing ultra-rural TSS test plans, site installation runbook, and RSC PlugFest summary with TIP community (linked on TSS website)
- Working with additional partners globally to launch the proven ultra-rural TSS configuration into networks, bringing more unconnected people online
- Working with ecosystem partners across the NaaS Solution Group to apply the proven TSS incubator model to develop additional NaaS use-cases
- Market trial with TIM Brasil in the first half of 2021
Silmar Palmeira, Architecture & Innovation Technology Director from TIM Brasil, said: “The TSS program showcases the value of TIP to members and the industry. It brings together a diverse range of international industry experts and organizations alongside local vendors and system integrators to develop new, innovative, and cost-effective solutions that help connect the unconnected.”
Philip Liddell Co-Chair of the Networks as a Service Solutions Group said: “TSS is the first step to creating a range of innovative, cost effective, and scalable end-to-end solutions that enable MNOs and organizations to close the digital divide in rural and peri-urban environments. The use of TIP Exchange and TIP PlugFest for TSS illustrates the value of these platforms, allowing telecom providers to strengthen their rural ecosystem with reduced costs and time-to-deploy, faster tests and trials, and easier operation and support at remote sites than ever before.”
Explore the TIP Total Site Solution website to learn more.