(GTC 2021) — If a virtual tree falls and hits a 5G antenna in Stockholm, does it make a sound in Chicago?
Thanks to Ericsson, the answer is yes. Everything from the locations of trees to the height and composition of buildings is crucial because they impact 5G wireless signals in networks serving smartphones, tablets and millions of other internet-connected devices.
The Stockholm-based maker of telecommunications equipment is combining decades of radio network simulation expertise with NVIDIA Omniverse Enterprise, a real-time virtual world simulation and collaboration platform for 3D workflows. In NVIDIA Omniverse, Ericsson is building city-scale digital twins to help accurately simulate the interplay between 5G cells and the environment for maximum performance and coverage.
The rollout of 5G networks is creating new challenges, and with over 15 million microcells and towers to
be deployed globally by network operators over the next five years, it’s no small undertaking.
The 5G Challenge
5G enables a multitude of new use cases ranging from IoT and manufacturing to self-driving cars and telehealth. Networks serving these use cases operate in vastly different environments. New types of devices will enter the networks, and the number of devices will grow by orders of magnitude in the next few years. These factors make the design and development of 5G products and networks very complex.
Without a digital-twin approach, the interaction between radio transmitters, the environment, and humans and devices that are on the move had to be understood with less detail. And many features had to be field tested only after the networks were already built.
“Before Omniverse, coverage and capacity of networks was analyzed by simplifying many aspects of the complex interactions, such as the physical phenomena and mobility aspects,” said Germán Ceballos, a
researcher at Ericsson. “Now we’ll be able to simulate network deployments and features in a highly detailed scale using Omniverse.”
Creating an end-to-end city-scale digital twin results in faster development cycles, better network optimization and ultimately better, swifter networks because it delivers fast insights into what products to install where, Ceballos says.
Ericsson and NVIDIA entered a strategic partnership in 2019 with the goal of cross-pollinating technologies and challenges between their respective domains.
The 3D community has historically been fragmented along several proprietary and competing formats and tool chains. This creates unacceptable degrees of lock-in and limited abilities to extend to new simulation use cases.
The NVIDIA Omniverse platform provides key technologies that allow Ericsson to accurately model network performance across dynamic environmental elements. NVIDIA RTX-accelerated real-time ray tracing allows researchers to see precise representations of signal quality at every point in the city, in real time, which wasn’t possible before. This means Ericsson can experiment with its telecom products such as beam-forming and explore their impact interactively and instantaneously.
Plus, with emerging Omniverse platform capabilities such as Omniverse VR, network engineers could soon put on a virtual-reality headset and explore any part of any model, at 1:1 scale, tuning the parameters, antenna and literally “seeing” the effects – things that aren’t visible in real life.
For Ericsson, the Omniverse digital twin offers universal telecoms insights, faster development cycles and the ability to achieve a cutting-edge network at lower costs.