First introduced as 4G only solution in 2014 for EE to provide wireless connectivity in rural UK communities, the now multi-mode 3G/4G solution is deployed globally: on land, in the air, and on water to connect the unconnected at much lower deployment cost and on accelerated timeline. Two years later, we have teamed up with Telefonica to provide digital services in remote areas in European and Latin American markets. Our deployment with Optus in Australia put Parallel Wireless rural solution on five continents.

Parallel Wireless rural solution is a fully 3GPP-compliant, standards-based solution that uses standard RAN and core interfaces. This interoperability has been tested at the plugfests hosted by Small Cell Forum and multiple operator deployments.

This solution has gone through several innovations since its introduction in 2014. First, we have added 3G capabilities to the solution including our RAN hardware (Converged Wireless System or CWS) and HetNet Gateway (HNG) orchestrator. Our CWS base station now comes in a smaller form factor, but higher RF power output and consumes the equivalent power consumption as a MacBook running on full CPU. Our HNG software now includes 3G gateway functionality and multi-technology SON. As a result, it can seamlessly manage handoffs between 3G and 4G end user traffic while making multi-technology rural deployments self-configuring and self-optimizing.

By leveraging Moore’s Law to drive down the cost of hardware, and virtualization to bring elasticity, automation, and programmability to the network, Parallel Wireless has created an innovative HetNet architecture that reduces TCO for rural deployments up to 90%. Our rural solution enables flexible backhaul which allows operators to have the freedom to choose whichever backhaul option suits their needs and budget and also enables cost-effective backhaul mesh. Our HetNet Gateway RAN orchestrator is enabled by NFV/SDN to orchestrate rural cells and make them self-configuring, self-optimizing and self-healing. These capabilities enable easy installation where multiple communities can be installed in a day and hands free maintenance where engineers do not need to go on site to make any network changes. As a result of combining small form factor, low power consumption, and easy installation/maintenance, this rural solution has been deployed on land (rural villages), on water, and in the air (tethered balloon to extend coverage during outdoor events or to create coverage in emergencies in rural areas). By deploying Parallel Wireless’ innovative solution on a balloon, operators in rural areas can also provide rapid coverage that meets critical communication service demands while maintaining the necessary security of information, thus enabling rural public safety coverage as well. It delivers instantaneous coverage with autonomous operation and SON on HetNet Gateway orchestrator to mitigate interference and enable dynamic traffic routing, making these instantly deployed rural network self-configuring, self-optimizing and self-healing.

Our technology’s mission is to enhance the end-user experience by connecting the 4 billion people previously unconnected in rural areas that were once overlooked due to high deployment cost and low ARPU. With the United Nations declaring Internet connectivity a basic human right, our rural solution allows mobile operators to provide this basic right. Providing Internet connectivity enables many economic and social benefits for citizens; for starters, it would implement access to better healthcare, education and employment opportunities. The social benefits of connectivity allow families, friends, and businesses to stay in touch throughout the globe. These examples listed are among regular day to day activities that many of us take for granted. This solution also improves QoS for end users as it manages handoffs and seamless mobility, enables dynamic traffic rerouting and interference management for consistent end user experience, so people living in rural communities can enjoy uninterrupted videos, submit homework on time, and area visitors or highway drivers can stay connected while visiting.

Our rural solution improves the economics of the mobile industry by addressing the challenges of cost of base station, cost of building backhaul, cost and complexity of install and challenging business models due to low ARPU. It enables mobile operators to meet regulatory requirements for rural coverage and cost-effectively bring Internet connectivity to the unconnected communities and businesses worldwide. The CWS nodes utilize commodity components and the latest powerful, but cost-effective System on Chip (SoC); as a result, the system can deliver reliable coverage at an affordable price point for service providers. Our CWS multi-mode, multi-carrier software-defined small cells integrate flexible backhaul capabilities that enable connectivity through whatever backhaul is available in the area: satellite, LTE, Ethernet and wireless mesh. This eliminates the need to lay down expensive fiber. The nodes can daisy chain this mesh network even further, bringing low cost high speed wireless broadband to the most challenging terrains (valleys, mountains). Our HetNet Gateway RAN orchestrator enables easy and instant installation with minimum planning applications and hands-free maintenance of the rural network with real-time multi-technology SON to mitigate interference and traffic congestion. Because HNG includes essential gateway functions on the same platform, operators no longer need to spend millions extra for individual 3G and 4G gateways. Operators can now expand their services to all rural areas that were once overlooked while generating new revenue opportunities. Parallel Wireless rural solution is proof that we can make carrier-grade network deployments as easy and cost-effective as enterprise Wi-Fi.

Cost-effectively delivering coverage to hard to reach areas is a global challenge, but at the same time it is an estimated $163B opportunity for mobile operators globally. While many traditional vendors cannot address rural markets cost-effectively, Parallel Wireless is innovating with RAN hardware and virtualization to bridge the digital divide, having deployed or trialed this solution on five continents and being selected by leading operators including publically announced: EE/BT in the UK, Optus in Australia, and by Telefonica to provide rural connectivity in LatAm and European markets.

Wireless services enabled by Parallel Wireless’ technology provide rural communities around the world with reliable 3G/4G broadband service and voice. By eliminating the need for large masts, cabling on site, and multiple core gateways in the data center, service providers can deliver wireless connectivity to untapped markets quickly and economically. This innovative architecture will play a bigger part in helping operators better balance their roll-out costs with their revenue potential as we migrate forward into 5G. Since 5G’s vision is to better people’s lives via improved connectivity, this solution is a crucial first step in enabling 5G for today and tomorrow.