Dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) technology allows spectrum resources to be shared dynamically between 4G (Long Term Evolution (LTE)) and 5G New Radio (NR) radios. 4G coverage rollout took several years without DSS, since new spectrum, new antennae and new RF units were required. In contrast, communication service providers (CSPs) can build 5G coverage a lot faster because the spectrum, the antenna and the RF units can now be shared between existing 4G and emerging 5G deployments using DSS.
DSS functionality was defined in 3GPP standardization and Nokia was a major contributor to that process. DSS capability has been built into Nokia’s hardware and software, with AirScale baseband and AirScale and Flexi radio hardware platforms ready to support it. Millions of Nokia 4G RF units already in the field can be upgraded to support 5G, which enables fast rollout of 5G coverage and access to 5G services. Nokia’s AirScale baseband software provides fast dynamic resource allocation between 4G and 5G to maximize the system efficiency.
DSS with 5G carrier aggregation (CA) releases the full potential of the technology, especially when combined with standalone (SA) architecture. CA provides the highest data rates while SA maximizes low-band coverage and access to 5G services. DSS will be supported by a growing number of 5G devices from 2020 onwards, with widespread support for devices with DSS, SA and CA available during the course of 2021.
The introduction of Nokia’s DSS capability therefore aligns with the growing availability of devices. Nokia’s DSS solution extends beyond the 4G/5G transition to include dynamic sharing between 2G, 3G and 4G technologies. This enables a smoother evolution to 5G deployments.