Mitel, DragonWave Partner on 5G Innovation

The partnership comes a month after Mitel kicked off an effort to focus on 5G, which promises faster speeds and more capacity than 4G LTE.

5G development

Mitel officials in February launched an initiative to help drive innovation around 5G connectivity. The communications technology company this week took another step in that direction, partnering with DragonWave to develop solutions around the wireless technology.

As part of the partnership, Mitel will bring its software and mobile networking skills, while DragonWare—which makes carrier-grade point-to-point packet microwave systems—will contribute its outdoor networking expertise and packet wireless backhaul solutions focused on small cells.

International standards for 5G networks are still in the works by the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partner Project), which also had set the 4G LTE standard. In March 2015, the 3GPP announced a tentative timeline for 5G that doesn't show a 5G standard being approved until 2020, though that hasn't stopped networking technology vendors and component makers from making moves to embrace 5G. Technology vendors and service providers continue to push innovation and run trials of 5G networks.

Consumer and business users are continuing to demand more data capacity; AT&T officials have said data traffic on the provider's wireless network grew by more than 150,000 percent from 2007 to 2015, driven largely by video. When completed, 5G wireless systems are expected to deliver speeds 10 to 100 times faster than the average 4G LTE connections of today.

"5G opens the door to a fundamental new way to architect mobile networks, including increased integration between access and backhaul components and smaller cell sizes, where an integrated solution becomes more critical," Pardeep Kohli, president of Mitel's 5G Cloud Connectivity business, said in a statement. "This collaboration enables an integrated 5G solution set that will be easier to deploy, optimize and maintain."

Officials with both Mitel and DragonWave said initially the two companies will focus on technologies and research for compatible 5G solutions. Down the road, they may also work on commercial 5G products as the market matures, they said.

"Enabling increased coverage in both dense urban and rural environments while supporting the thrust for virtualization drives the need for new relationships," DragonWave President and CEO Peter Allen said in a statement.