Ericsson builds digital twins for 5G networks

Ericsson builds digital twins for 5G networks

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Ericsson is building digital twins of cities to boost the rollout of 5G network technology. It is using digital twin software from Nvidia called Omniverse to build the models to test out placement of 5G cells. 

“Omniverse is a foundational platforms for digital twins across all our industries,” said Richard Kerris, vice president of the Omniverse developer platform and the industry general manager for media and entertainment at Nvidia. “Digital twins is one of the most important things going on the world today.”

“Ericsson early on got the Omniverse platform and started building on it, using ray racing to work out antenna placements, and then built a digital twin of a city to analyse the placements in real time. 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,” he said.

The digital twin uses Nvidia’ RTX GPU boards to accurately model network performance across dynamic environmental elements with real-time ray tracing that allows researchers to see precise representations of signal quality at every point in the city, in real time. This allows Ericsson to experiment with technologies such as beam-forming and explore the impact interactively and instantaneously.

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 the environment, humans and devices on the move, and radio transmitters had to be understood with less detail, and many of the features had to be field tested once the networks were already built, says Kerris.

“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,” says Germán Ceballos, a researcher at Ericsson. “Now we’ll be able to simulate network deployments and features in a highly detailed scale using Omniverse.”

The 3D community has historically been fragmented along several proprietary and competing formats and tool chains which creates unacceptable degrees of lock-in and limited abilities to extend to new simulation use cases, says Kerris.

“What will bring this together in Omniverse is the connectivity to make them all work together,” he said. “This extends existing workflows and that’s increadibly important, with connectors to the omniverse platform, whether its modelling, textures, lighting, and things like AI, materials and physics

He also points to a digital twin built with BMW with 300 CAD accurate cars, and building a digital twin of the Earth with the European Centre for medium range weather forecasts. There are currently 14 connections to other virtual world systems in beta, with six new this year

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