Are you looking for information about offers, devices or your account?

Please choose your local Vodafone website

Vodafone’s ‘5G in a Box’ is back at MWC24…lighter and more powerful than before

14 Feb 2024Technology news
3 minute read

Vodafone is unveiling its next generation 5G Network in a Box at Mobile World Congress (MWC) (Hall 3, stand 3E11), 26 – 29 February 2024.

Built on a credit card sized Raspberry Pi personal computer, the portable 5G network developed in cooperation with Lime Microsystems now packs more features than the previous version which was showcased this time last year. Lime Microsystems aims to start selling this upgraded version in the first half of this year.

It is designed with small businesses, schools, and universities in mind; anyone who needs their own affordable, fast, and secure 5G network in a hurry.

Zero Touch Operation

A key feature of this new version is that it can be configured and managed entirely remotely. A Vodafone engineer could provide full over the air management, maintenance, configuration, and software updates via the cloud. This makes 5G Network in a Box ideal for customers who want all the benefits of a mobile private network (MPN) without the need for in-house IT or telecommunications skills.

The system is also sporting a more modular and lightweight design and is offered with an optional battery pack that can run autonomously for up to ten hours. For example, it could be easily and securely coupled with a small industrial drone to ‘fly’ and provide reliable coverage to a not-spot in an emergency, whether it is up a mountain or out in the sea.

5G Network in a Box is one of the many ways Vodafone is helping small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and public sector organisations across Europe take advantage of new cloud-based connectivity and edge computing services. A hotelier, farm or campus could quickly establish their own private, fast, reliable, and ultra-secure slice of coverage. Consumers could also setup the box in locations where public Wi-Fi is slow or unsecure, as well as extend the coverage of the public network to hard-to-reach locations such as basements.

Entire network on a Raspberry Pi

The key benefit of the platform compared with established femtocell-like solutions (used to extend indoor coverage) is that it leverages the simplicity and flexibility of the low-cost software-defined radio (SDR) silicon produced by Lime Microsystems. This innovative approach enables the use of SDR technology on any frequency band, whilst reducing the computing requirements so that an entire 5G network can fit into a Raspberry Pi. The overall system can be easily configured over the air (for the target technology and frequency band) without the need to replace the hardware.

The 5G Network in a Box will be upgraded to work on the newest Raspberry Pi5 later this year, which will further boost the overall capacity of the system, including supported bandwidths, number of simultaneous users and overall speed – by at least a factor of two.

Open architecture

The concept was co-developed at Vodafone’s R&D Centre in Málaga, which has a team of engineers dedicated to the advancement of silicon chips to power new Open RAN innovations. These new networks are built on open architecture comprising a mix of hardware and software from multiple vendors rather than most of today’s single-supplier networks. This leads to greater innovation and a strengthened vendor supply chain.

Vodafone’s 5G Network in a Box prototype offers many benefits for smaller companies which can be realised through collaborative development with partners and vendors. Interested partners can experience the potential of this innovative technology first hand at Vodafone’s MWC stand.

  • 5G
  • Cloud
  • Connectivity
  • Digital skills
  • Drones
  • Europe
  • Mobile
  • MWC
  • Networks
  • OpenRAN
  • Partnerships
  • Products
  • Technology
  • Vodafone Business

More stories

No results found