3D Computer-generated Cityscape Helps Planners Design Small Cell Networks

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What if an RF engineer could tune a network for optimal performance or identify path disruptions and actually see the effects of their adjustments in real time? Now, according to Ericsson and NVIDIA, the wireless industry can benefit from use of Omniverse, which is a real-time digital counterpart of a physical space and the proposed RF coverage.

“Before Omniverse, coverage and capacity of networks were 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.” 

With wireless densification driving small cells closer and closer together, Ericsson is using the latest in computer-aided design technology, powered by artificial intelligence with a little Disney-style animation added, to create a digital twin of a city that helps determine where to place and how to configure each of their 5G small cell sites for the best coverage and network performance.

City-scale digital twins simulate the interplay between 5G cells and the environment using NVIDIA Omniverse,™ which is a real-time reference development platform for 3D simulation and design collaboration. It uses 3D computer graphics technology from Pixar and the NVIDIA RTX,™ NVIDIA wrote in a blog.

“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 said.

Ericsson built a custom Omniverse, enabling it to integrate RF propagation data and quickly visualize and calculate the quality of the signal at every point in the city, NVIDIA wrote. The 3D city scale models are physically accurate down to the materials of the buildings, vegetation and foliage. A wireless network component can be added at a precise location, height and with the  antenna pattern of the transmitter. Because Omniverse materials are physically accurate, the intensity of reflections are precisely determined, the company said.

“Visualization is a critical capability for Ericsson. Antenna beamforming and signal paths can be accurately simulated and visualized in the simulations,” NVIDIA said in a video. With Omniverse Virtual Reality, network engineers can virtually explore any part of the RF model, teleporting to any location anywhere in the world at one to one scale.”

By J. Sharpe Smith Inside Towers Technology Editor

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