Explained: Reliance Jio 5G in the 4 metros by Diwali, how will its ‘standalone’ architecture work?

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Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Reliance Jio 5G in the 4 metros by Diwali, how will its ‘standalone’ architecture work?” published in Indian Express on 30th August 2022.

What is the News?

Reliance Jio has announced the launch of its 5G services in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai by Diwali this year with an aim to expand and cover the entire country by December 2023.

Note: Reliance has said that it will launch its 5G services on a “standalone” 5G architecture, against the “non-standalone” approach that other operators are betting on.

What are the two different modes of 5G networks?

5G networks are deployed mainly on two modes: standalone and non-standalone. 

– In the standalone mode, the 5G network operates with dedicated equipment and runs parallel to the existing 4G network.

– In the non-standalone mode, the 5G network is supported by the 4G core infrastructure.

What are the key differences between standalone and non-standalone 5G networks?

5G Capabilities: Standalone mode provides access to full 5G capabilities and new network functionalities such as slicing that provides greater flexibility to operators to efficiently use their spectrum holdings.

– On the other hand, non-standalone networks are generally considered to be a stepping stone, and global precedent suggests operators that have launched non-standalone 5G networks eventually transition to standalone networks. 

Initial Cost: Given that the non-standalone networks are built on existing infrastructure, the initial cost and the time taken to roll out services through this track is significantly less than standalone networks. 

5G Devices compatibility: Most smartphones currently have capability to connect to non-standalone 5G networks — which are essentially 5G airwaves transmitted through 4G networks.These smartphones will require software updates by their original equipment manufacturer(OEMs) to be able to connect to standalone networks.

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