Gartner strategic roadmap for networking

Strategic Roadmap for Networking: Future State, Current State, Gap Analysis and Migration Plan

The future-state network is an aspirational view of how enterprise network architectures should evolve to meet emerging business requirements and align more closely to critical business objectives.

The primary external forces driving network change are the adoption of digital business and the concept of “digital to the core.” This will result in increased adoption and investments in hybrid-cloud-based infrastructure, platform and application services to meet dynamic business requirements, and a greater focus on always-on service delivery to clients. Digital to the core will also drive IoT deployments to richer, more complex business models and processes, which will compound the pressure of increasing user expectations for consistently strong network performance, quality, reliability and security. This is overlaid with the fact that we anticipate increased pressure from the business to maintain flat networking budgets.

As expectations of greater network dynamism become the norm, network service providers will also follow suit with rapid delivery of new enterprise network services. These will be delivered through network function virtualization (NFV) capabilities, deployed on customer-located vCPE platforms, or within the service planning network, in next-generation, Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD)-based architectures. We will see a continued trend to leverage software-based, virtualized network solutions deployed with enterprise networks — as xSP services and available as over-the-top (OTT) services from a growing number of players.

After decades of focusing on speed, network performance and features, future network innovation will target operational simplicity and business models that closely align with elastic cloud-based services. These services are becoming more prevalent in — and demanded by — organizations with strong digital transformation agendas. The evaluation of networking technology within the most successful enterprises will balance between functional, financial and operational requirements. Understanding when “good enough” is actually good enough will be critical to architecting networks that are ready for digital business.

Gartner Group: Enterprise WAN Recommendations & Predictions

Five Predicts to Create a Better Enterprise Network

Key Findings:

  • As enterprises increasingly rely on the internet for WAN connectivity, they are challenged by the unpredictable nature of internet services.
  • Enterprises seeking more agile WAN services continue to be blocked by network service providers’ terms and conditions.
  • Enterprises seeking more agile network solutions continue to be hampered by manual processes and cultural resistance.
  • Enterprise’s moving applications to public cloud services frequently struggle with application performance issue


IT leaders responsible for infrastructure agility should:

  • Reduce the business impact of internet downtime by deploying redundant WAN connectivity such as hybrid WAN for business-critical activities.
  • Improve WAN service agility by negotiating total contractual spend instead of monthly or annual spend.
  • Improve agility of internal network solutions by introducing automation of all operations using a step-wise approach.
  • Ensure the performance of cloud-based applications by using carriers’ cloud connect services instead of unpredictable internet services.
  • Improve alignment between business objectives and network solutions by selectively deploying intent-based network solutions.

NTT Com expands North American operations with PoP in Toronto, Canada

Japan’s NTT Communications has expanded its North American footprint with the establishment of a new point of presence (P0P) in Toronto, Canada.


NTT Com Group has more than 30 companies in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the Americas.


NTT Com will use the new PoP to scale its offerings to ISPs, content providers and cloud, hosting and CDN providers in the Canadian market.

The expansion of its global IP network footprint will also help the operator meet growing demand for IP services from global companies and organizations with a Canadian presence.

Michael Wheeler, executive vice president of the NTT Communications Global IP Network at NTT America, said the company plans to particularly target the nation’s financial services, commercial, distribution, media and industrial sectors.

“We are thrilled to extend our footprint into one of North America’s fastest growing technology hubs,” he said.

“Internet-centric businesses and organizations operating in the area will have direct access to our tier-1 global backbone and the high-performance IP solutions they need for their content, online video, hosting, gaming and other bandwidth-intensive applications,” he added.

About NTT Communications

NTT Communications solves the world’s technology challenges by helping enterprises overcome complexity and risk in their ICT environments with managed IT infrastructure solutions. These solutions are backed by our worldwide infrastructure, including industry leading, global tier-1 public and private networks reaching over 190 countries/regions, and more than 400,000m2 of the world’s most advanced data center facilities. Our global professional services teams provide consultation and architecture for the resiliency and security required for your business success, and our scale and global capabilities are unsurpassed. Combined with NTT Data, NTT Security, NTT DOCOMO and Dimension Data, we are NTT Group. | Twitter@NTT Com | Facebook@NTT Com | LinkedIn@NTT Com

About NTT Communications Global IP Network

Consistently ranked among the top networks worldwide, NTT Com’s Tier-1 Global IP Network covers North and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania, and provides the best possible environment for content, data and video transport through a single autonomous system number (AS 2914).

NTT Com was recently named Best North American Wholesale Carrier at the Global Carrier Awards 2018 for the fifth consecutive year. The company has also won the Best Global Wholesale Carrier (Data) award twice in the last five years.

D-Link announces 5G NR Gateway, but not which “5G” networks it’s compatible with

D-Link’s  DWR-2010 “5G NR” Enhanced Gateway is one of the first gateway available for pre standard 5G broadband networks. D-Link claims it delivers speeds up to 40x faster than typical fixed broadband speed in the U.S.  The average U.S. fixed-line broadband speed is around 70Mbps, the company claimed, citing a Forbes report.

Editor’s Note:

D-Link has not revealed which pre-standard 5G network this device will be compatible with.  One would assume it would be for fixed broadband wireless access, which Verizon already offers but that service is based on their V5GTF proprietary spec.  Verizon has said it would transition its (fake) 5G fixed service to 5G NR (3GPP Release 15)in the near future but has not said when that might be.  C-Spire also offers a proprieatary fixed 5G service, but again it’s not compatible with 5G NR.  Hence, we wonder where this D-Link device could actually be used.


“With expanded spectrum and new applications, 5G is going to bring more competition to the broadband market within the coming years,” said Raman Bridwell, vice president of product and services, D-Link Systems, Inc. “This gateway will help more people access that network in more places with the same wireline experience we have today.”


As “fake 5G” adoption accelerates within the coming year, more people may be turning to wireless carriers as their home internet provider. D-Link’s 5G gateway will help them take full advantage of the new wireless capability.

The DWR-2010 also offers customization options for service providers, making it suitable for deployment on a range of network configurations. The gateway features an embedded 5G NR (New Radio) NSA module and can operate on the sub-6 GHz or mmWave frequencies in 200 MHz (2 x 100 MHz) or 800 MHz (8 x 100 MHz) configurations. Complete with remote management (TR-069) and FOTA, the DWR-2010 provides hassle-free operation and a better customer experience.

Device Overview:

Embedded 5GNR NSA module (3GPP Rel.15)

◼  Qualcomm SDX55 Chipset

◼  Sub-6 GHz or mmWave frequency compatible

◼  5 Ethernet Ports

•   1x 2.5Gbps LAN

•   1Gbps LAN

•   1x 1Gbps WAN/LAN

◼  AC2600 Dual Band Wi-Fi (800 + 1732 Mbps) with MU-MIMO

◼  4 external antennas for LTE/5G NR

◼  Whole home coverage with D-Link Wi-Fi Mesh

◼  Auto Firmware Upgrade

◼  Supports VoLTE

◼  Supports Remote Management (TR-069)

Availability and Pricing
The 5G NR Enhanced Gateway will be available in the second half of 2019. Pricing will vary depending on preferred service providers (?).

About D-Link
D-Link designs, develops, and manufactures award-winning solutions for homes, businesses, and service providers. The global leader in connectivity implements and supports unified network solutions that integrate switching, wireless, broadband, IP Surveillance, and cloud-based network management. For more, visit, or connect with D-Link on Facebook, Twitter, and D-Link’s Blog.

Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) makes 600MHz band available for 5G services-AT&T or Telcel?

International Law Office (subscription required):

In October 2018, after relocating more than 200 TV channels, Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) approved the relocation of the last two TV channels that transmitted in the 600MHz band in order to free it up for 5G broadband services. In doing so, Mexico became the first country to finish implementing this transition and liberate the 600MHz band.

This transition will enable Mexico to make the 600MHz band available to the market through a bidding process and exploit international mobile telecoms (IMT) applications for 5G mobile broadband services. It is anticipated that the 600MHz band auction will be launched in 2020 so that the deployment of the network can commence in 2021.

Mexico will be the first country in the world to use the 600 Mhz band for 5G, IFT approves its eviction

Mexico had already successfully switched off the 700MHz band for analogue TV in November 2015. In such band, the government implemented the Red Compartida (or Shared Network) project through a public-private partnership in order to:

  • provide broadband in areas that lacked coverage;
  • improve service quality;
  • reduce the price of mobile services;
  • promote competitiveness; and
  • improve digital service innovation.

The auction was won by Altán Redes, a new joint venture responsible for the design, implementation, operation and maintenance of the Red Compartida.

In addition, in 2018 the IFT conducted a bidding procedure in which it allocated 120MHz of the 2.5GHz band in favour of AT&T and Telefonica.

In light of the above, Mexico has allocated 584MHz to IMT, which represents 44.9% of the International Telecommunications Unit recommended spectrum allocation for 2015.

With the future auction of the 600MHz band, the IFT will take the lead in providing more spectrum for telephony and 5G mobile internet services. This is in line with the spectral policy, which has allocated more than double the amount of spectrum to the market over the past five years, resulting in greater benefits for Mexican users.

In addition, the IFT is considering using the 3.3GHz to 3.6GHz band for 5G technology, as some companies are already using this band for such purposes.


With this, Mexico becomes the first country in the world to completely dislodge the frequencies from 614 to 698 Mhz to start testing the 5G network.

AT&T will likely be the first operator to deploy its 5G network in Mexicoo (at some point next year).   Telcel would follow closely with the launch of its own technology a year later, in 2020 . The reality is that there is still a lot of work to be done , but apparently Mexico is on the right track.

In Xataka Mexico | 5G, everything you need to know about the new generation of mobile networks





Nikeii: Softbank to drop Huawei LTE equipment in favor of Nokia and Ericsson

SoftBank Group Corp, Japan’s third largest telco, plans to replace 4G LTE network equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd with hardware from Nokia and Ericsson, Nikkei Asian Review reported on Thursday, without citing sources.  SoftBank is also expected to place orders with the two European companies for its 5G networks, Nikkei reported. SoftBank is the only telecom carrier in Japan that uses Huawei equipment, according to the news outlet.  Nokia and Ericsson are already big suppliers to SoftBank.

The move comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of Chinese tech firms by the United States and some prominent allies over ties to the Chinese government, driven by concerns they could be used by Beijing for spying.  The U.S., Australia and New Zealand have already banned Huawei from their countries 5G networks while Canada and the U.K. are considering that.

Last week, British multinational telecoms company BT confirmed it has been removing Huawei equipment from the core of its 3G and 4G networks since 2016, and will be excluding the Chinese company when selecting vendors for its 5G core.

A SoftBank spokesman said the report was “based on speculation and no decision has been made.”  It also has the longest running relationship with Huawei among Japan’s top three telcos, but the firm has previously said that the amount of equipment it uses from Chinese makers “is relatively small.”

Replacing the 4G equipment, which Nikkei reported will be done over several years, is likely to be time-consuming and expensive, industry sources have said.

The Nikkei report on the supplier switch comes as SoftBank is preparing to list its telecoms unit in Tokyo on Dec. 19.  The report also comes on the heels of Japan issuing a policy document on maintaining cybersecurity during procurement.

While Huawei was not explicitly named, sources have said that the policy document was aimed at preventing Japan government procurement from the company as well as China’s ZTE Corp.

Huawei has already been locked out of the U.S. market, and Australia and New Zealand have blocked it from building 5G networks amid concerns of its possible links with China’s government. Huawei has said Beijing has no influence over it.

Japan’s decision to keep Huawei out would add to the woes of the firm, whose chief financial officer was recently arrested by Canadian officials for extradition to the United States.

“It’s extremely important to avoid buying equipment that includes malicious functions like stealing or destroying information or halting information systems,” Nikkei reported Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as saying.

Addendum:  The Financial Times reports: Huawei spat comes as China races ahead in 5G  (on line subscription required)

A leaked memo, apparently written by a senior National Security Council official, revealed as far back as the start of this year exactly how worried the US is about Huawei. The rise of the Chinese company to become the world’s biggest supplier of telecoms equipment has given China a huge boost over the US in the race to introduce and develop 5G, the next generation of mobile communications, the memo complained.

“We are losing,” it said. “Whoever leads in technology and market share for 5G deployment will have a tremendous advantage towards [ . . .] commanding the heights of the information domain.”

Eleven months on, those fears have mushroomed into open conflict between Washington and Beijing, with American officials pushing allied countries to ban Huawei from building their 5G networks, citing concerns over security and the company’s unclear links to the Chinese state. The arrest and planned extradition to the US of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter to the company’s founder, has further exacerbated the spat.

Several countries have begun to trial 5G networks, though the full international standards have not yet been agreed. The shift to the new technology carries profound implications, and countries are wary of being left behind. 5G is “by no means simply a ‘faster 4G’”, the US memo said, describing it instead as “a change more like the invention of the Gutenberg Press”. It will bring higher speeds, lower lag times between network and device, and a much larger capacity to transfer data. Together, these features are expected to underpin self-driving cars, AI and machine-to-machine communications that will transform the way everything from homes to hospitals to factories operate.



Verizon, Samsung & Qualcomm achieve 1.7 Gbps in mobile 5G test; 5G smartphone for VZ and AT&T

Verizon, Samsung and Qualcomm report achieving a speed of 1.7 Gbps [1] through a mobile 5G connection while using the 28 GHz band. The test took place at Qualcomm’s San Diego, CA facilities, using Samsung’s 4G LTE and 5G NR gear, Verizon’s 28 GHz spectrum and a Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem.

Note 1.  For IMT 2020, the minimum requirements for peak data rate are: – Downlink peak data rate is 20 Gbit/s. – Uplink peak data rate is 10 Gbit/s.  Recommendation ITU-R M.2083 defines eight key “Capabilities for IMT-2020”, which form a basis for the 13 technical performance requirements. Recommendation ITU-R M.2083 also recognizes that the key capabilities will have different relevance and applicability for the different usage scenarios addressed by IMT-2020 (enhance mobile broadband, massive machine to machine communications, and ultra reliable, low latency communications).


“Successful inter-operation of multiple network technologies takes us another step closer to the commercialization of 5G mobility services,” Woojune Kim, the Senior Vice President and Head of North American Business at Samsung Electronics’ Networks Business said in a press release. “We are proud to join with Verizon and Qualcomm Technologies to spotlight the next steps driving network evolution. The use of substantial mmWave spectrum and EN-DC demonstrates how a seamless 5G/LTE approach succeeds in delivering high-speed, high-capacity mobility on next-generation networks.”

The year ahead likely will bring much news about the device market, which promises to be challenging. Indeed, the news seems to be picking up before the year arrives.

Verizon and Samsung said that they will bring a 5G smartphone [2] to market during the first half of 2019. They said that plans are to unveil a proof-of-concept 5G smartphone during the Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui. The device seems similar to the one used in the data testing. It includes the Snapdragon Mobile Platform featuring the Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem and antenna modules with integrated RF transceiver, RF front-end and antenna elements.

Note 2.  Samsung showed a prototype design of its first 5G phone at the Qualcomm Summit, one that it promised will launch with Verizon and AT&T in the first half of 2019. Those “5G” networks will be based on 3GPP Release 15 “5G NR” non stand alone (dependent on a LTE core network).  The phone “is the result of years of collaboration to deploy an end-to-end solution for commercial 5G services using Samsung network equipment and personal devices,” the companies said in a press release.


AT&T also said that it will offer a Samsung 5G smartphone during the first half of the year.  Cities AT&T is targeting for mobile 5G in 2019 are Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas; Houston; Indianapolis; Jacksonville; Louisville; Oklahoma City; New Orleans; Raleigh; San Antonio and Waco, Texas; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Nashville; Orlando and San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, CA


Verizon Tests Interoperable 5G and LTE Technology, Achieves Mobile 5G Speed of 1.7 Gbps


IHS Markit: SD-WAN revenue reached $284M in 3Q-2018

Cloud service providers to offer SD-WAN, and telcos hedge their bets by choosing multiple SD-WAN vendors.  SD-WAN (appliance + control and management software) revenue reached $284M in 3Q18, up 23% QoQ.  VMware led the SD-WAN market with 19% share of 3Q18 revenue, Cisco moves into second with 13% revenue share, and Aryaka is in close third, according to the DC Network Equipment market tracker early edition from IHS Markit by Cliff Grossner, PhD.

In 3Q18, VMware and Azure announced an SD-WAN partnership worth closer scrutiny, as Azure wants to offer backbone connectivity as part of its service, allowing customers to “exit” to the Internet at different points of presence. This means Azure DCs are no longer only an end point, potentially making Azure competitive with other global networking providers.

Citrix, Versa Networks and Riverbed also announced availability of their SD-WAN offerings via Azure and AWS. Oracle took this one step further by stating its intent to acquire Talari Networks to enable greater connectivity to its Oracle Cloud offering; it also integrated Aryaka’s SD-WAN capabilities, giving its enterprise customers a choice of SD-WAN provider

“Cloud service providers have begun to realize the importance of bundling SD-WAN as part of a cloud service, ensuring a positive user experience when utilizing SaaS-based applications such as Office 365 or while migrating workloads to AWS or Microsoft Azure.”said Cliff Grossner, senior research director and advisor for cloud and data center at IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions.

“Although the SD-WAN market is maturing, we still see a plethora of SD-WAN vendors in the market, and carriers are beginning to show concerns that when integrating an SD-WAN vendor into their network, there is a risk the SD-WAN vendor could be acquired or drastically change offerings in a year. As a result, carriers are selecting multiple SD-WAN vendors, creating frustration and integration complexity when there is a lack of interoperability with carrier APIs” said Josh Bancroft, senior research analyst at IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions.

More Data Center Network Market Highlights

·         3Q18 ADC revenue increased 2% from 2Q18 to $457M and declined 3% from 3Q17

·          Virtual ADC appliances stood at 34% of 3Q18 ADC revenue

·          F5 garnered 49% ADC market share in 3Q18 with revenue up 4% YoY. Citrix had the #2 spot with 26% of revenue, and A10 (8%) rounded out the top 3 market share spots.

Data Center Network Equipment Report Synopsis

The IHS Markit Data Center Network Equipment market tracker is part of the Data Center Networks Intelligence Service and provides quarterly worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2022, analysis and trends for (1) data center Ethernet switches by category [purpose built, bare metal, blade and general purpose], port speed [1/10/25/40/50/100/200/400GE] and market segment [enterprise, telco and cloud service provider], (2) application delivery controllers by category [hardware-based appliance, virtual appliance],  and (3) software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) [appliances and control and management software]. Vendors tracked include A10, ALE, Arista, Array Networks, Aryaka, Barracuda, Cisco, Citrix, CloudGenix, CradlePoint, Cato, Dell, F5, FatPipe, Fortinet, HPE, Huawei, Hughes, InfoVista, Juniper, KEMP, Nokia (Nuage), Radware, Riverbed, Silver Peak, Talari, TELoIP, VMware, Versa, ZTE and others.

IHS Markit: 2G, 3G and LTE hardware revenues -8% YoY; 5G ramping up

By Stéphane Téral, executive director, mobile infrastructure and carrier economics, IHS Markit


  • Total combined 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G infrastructure hardware revenues are forecast to bottom out at $49.7 billion in 2018, declining 8 percent over the previous year.
  • Global 5G hardware revenue is expected to reach $19 billion in 2022, starting from a very low base of early adopters in the United States in the second half of 2018, followed by 5G rollouts in South Korea and massive 5G trials set for China in 2019.

IHS Markit analysis

After more than two decades of existence, the global mobile infrastructure hardware market – including all types of radio access network (RAN), switching and core equipment – has reached maturity. It now fluctuates between $31 billion and $48 billion annually, depending on macroeconomic cycles and shifts in technology generations. The 2G and 3G markets are both continuing to decline, as 4G reached maturity after its rollout peak in 2015. Today, 5G is on the imminent horizon, with the first rollouts occurring in the second half of 2018.

Fueled by LTE upgrades and the start of 5G rollouts in the third quarter of 2018, hardware revenue was stronger than it was the rest of the year. Continuing LTE activity in the US again propelled sequential double-digit growth in the North American market. There was also moderate activity in Europe and South Korea and other countries in Asia. In China, which has the world’s largest LTE footprint of 4 million E-UTRAN Node Bs (eNodeBs), the market dipped significantly again at the end of the first half of the year.

It’s still an LTE world, as we know it

LTE continues its penetration around the world, becoming even more ubiquitous globally. Although preparing existing LTE footprints for 5G upgrades is bringing much-needed fuel to the mobile infrastructure market, LTE deployment volume is far from its peak level as the number of LTE-upgradable mobile networks continues to diminish significantly. 5G is not expected to create a major investment spike any time soon, and mobile network operators are still struggling to deliver a compelling business case for 5G, even as LTE is delivering more 5G-like elements and services as it develops.

5G plans around the world

In order to leverage the LTE network, most service providers are starting their 5G rollouts with 5G non-standalone (NSA) New Radio (NR) technology, as follows:

  • United States: AT&T’s and Verizon’s initial rollouts of 5G NSA NR 28 gigahertz (GHz) and 39 GHz for enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and fixed wireless access (FWA) use cases, respectively, have started as planned in the second half of 2018. Verizon launched its 5G FWA service in October, using its own 5G Technical Forum (5GTF) standard. Sprint is deploying 5G in its 2.6 GHz by implementing massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) for eMBB services, while T-Mobile is targeting coverage with the 600 megahertz (MHz) spectrum band.
  • South Korea: SK Telecom, LG U+ and KT recently turned on their 5G networks, beginning the launch of commercial 5G services in the country. The country’s three telecommunications companies [1] have already deployed a few thousand 5G NR units — LG U+ alone already has 4,000 in Seoul — and are gearing up for 5G eMBB commercial launch at 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz with NSA NR in the first quarter of 2019.
  • China: The country is gearing up for its massive 5G trial in 2019 and has already started minor trials this year. China Unicom pledged to roll out more than 300 5G NRs. Trials will be conducted in six cities, to test 5G connectivity, coverage and mobility. China will increase 5G NR volumes very quickly, having so far shown little interest in 5G NSA NR.
  • Japan: Moderate 5G rollouts are planned for 2019, to test the technology during the Rugby World Cup. The country will also showcase potential 5G services — 4.5 GHz and 28 GHz — during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, followed by a commercial launch in 2021. A nationwide 5G launch is not expected until 2023.
  • United Kingdom: EE, the leading mobile network in the UK and part of BT Group, is rolling out 5G, to switch on 5G sites in 16 cities in 2019.

Note 1.   At yesterdays excellent SCWS Americas conference, Ki Seok Yang, Manager, Access Network Lab introduced SK Telecom’s in-building service in LTE: improving network quality and capacity in 5G which included an in building 5G repeater.  After his talk he told me that SK Telecom and the two other South Korea wireless network operators have been coordinating and collaborating  their 5G network specs and IMT 2020 RIT contributions.  That will ensure there is a comov 5G spec implemented on all of Korea’s 5G networks, which is very much UNLIKE the U.S. where each carrier will have their own version of 5G, based on 3GPP NR non standalone (LTE Core network),  Suc carrier collaboration might be inferred from the IEEE Techblog post titled South Korean Mobile Operators to Launch 5G Simultaneously on Korea 5G Day.

Mr. Yang sai that South Korea’s Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) facilities that coordination and collaboration covers telecommunications, information technology, radio communications and broadcasting.  The Association establishes industry standards and has been instrumental in creating the current Korean Information and Communication Standards.  TTA also collaborates with international and national standards organizations, such as ITU and other organizations.

Mobile Infrastructure Market Tracker – Regional

The “Mobile Infrastructure Market Tracker” from IHS Markit provides quarterly data and analysis for the 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G mobile infrastructure market – including market size, vendor market share, forecasts and market trends.


Dell’Oro: 5G Mobile Backhaul + WDM equipment market grew 15% in 3Q-2018


    Point-to-point microwave has a place in the future

    Mobile radio technology is moving from 4G to 5G, but it cannot move in isolation. Operators learned this valuable lesson with the move to 4G. In particular, the transport layer, often referred to as mobile backhaul, became a network choke point at cell sites with upgraded 4G mobile radios and legacy backhaul systems. To avoid these past mistakes, operators are placing as much emphasis on the transport layer as they do on 5G mobile radios.

    5G will need more backhaul capacity

    One area of concern for operators planning their transport layer is determining whether the mobile backhaul network must shift away from wireless systems, such as point-to-point (PTP) microwave, to fiber-based systems, such as packet transport network (PTN) systems.

    The main issue, of course, is not the cost of the equipment; it is the cost of either installing fiber, maintaining fiber (ex. fixing fiber breaks), or leasing fiber. One of the benefits of a wireless backhaul system is the freedom from incurring the high cost of owning a large fixed asset—a fiber plant.

    The second issue is operators have already invested a large amount of resources (time and money) on the 4G backhaul network using a mix of fiber and wireless systems. We estimate that by the end of 2017, the percentage of macro cells using wireless backhaul systems was approximately 45%, so one can imagine the cost if all those cell sites have to be retrofitted with fiber links. The good news for the operators and major microwave vendors—Ceragon, Ericsson, Huawei, 5G mobile backhaul isn’t all fiber NEC, and Nokia—is that we do not think this will be the case. In fact, we think that 5G will bring back a growing demand for PTP microwave. In our latest study of mobile backhaul and microwave (July 2018), we assessed that operators have installed fiber and microwave backhaul capacities ranging from 50 Mbps to 500 Mbps in their 4G networks. Therefore, with a 500 Mbps backhaul link, a mobile phone user will likely experience a peak download speed ranging from 65 Mbps to 130 Mbps in a non-congested area, based on factors such as the distance from the antenna, number of antenna sectors, and spectrum. With a 50 Mbps backhaul link, the user peak download speeds should be about 1/10th of those values.

    Is this capacity enough for 5G? Perhaps initially but it is unlikely for the long term. That being said, we also predict that only a few sites will be installed to operate at the maximum 5G advertised user download rate of 20 Gbps.

    We think that in most cases, a 5G mobile radio network will double or triple the user download speed from what users have experienced with 4G. Research we have seen states that the average 4G user experiences only about 20 Mbps of download speed with the more developed countries such as Singapore and South Korea averaging closer to 50 Mbps. Therefore, if an operator aspires to triple this download speed, a cell site with six sectors would likely require no more than about 1 Gbps of backhaul capacity, which can be accomplished with PTP microwave. The latest microwave systems operating in E-band (70/80 GHz) have 10 Gbps of link capacity over a single carrier and 20 Gbps over dual carriers. Hence, the use of wireless backhaul systems becomes a point of congestion only when the backhaul link capacity requirement exceeds 20 Gbps, which can provide a user download speed exceeding 2.5 Gbps. Simply stated, PTP microwave will meet the capacity demands of most 5G macro cell sites for many years to come, and operators that want to stay with wireless backhaul over fiber can continue to do so with 5G.


    Editor’s Note:  We were told today at the SCWS Americas conference in Santa Clara, CA.. that 5G backhaul could be 5G itself, microwave or (more likely) fiber.  It all depends on densification of the network, e.g. number of small/macro cells within a given geographical area.

    Related image


  2. The optical transport WDM equipment market grew 15% year-over-year in the third quarter, according to a report by Dell’Oro Group.

The majority of the optical transport WDM equipment growth occurred in the Asia Pacific region, according to the report. In the third quarter, coherent wavelength shipments increased 30%.

Service providers are replacing legacy gear to accommodate the growth of higher speed fixed broadband and data center interconnection, which has, for the most part, driven up WDM equipment shipments.

Shipments of 100 Gbps wavelengths increased by nearly 15% year-over-year while shipments of 200 Gbps and higher wavelengths more than doubled over the same time frame. Over the past few years, service providers have been migrating from 100 Gbps to 200 and 400 Gbps.

The top third-quarter manufacturers of WDM systems on a revenue basis were Huawei, Ciena, ZTE, and Nokia.

“The Optical market outperformed in the third quarter,” said Jimmy Yu, Vice President at Dell’Oro Group. “All of the growth was driven by rising demand for coherent wavelengths in metro and long haul WDM systems.  Shipment of 100 Gbps wavelengths continued to rise, but it was a newer, higher speed wavelengths operating at 200 Gbps that truly moved the market revenue higher,” added Yu.

Additional highlights from the 3Q 2018 Optical Transport Quarterly Report:

  • Majority of optical transport WDM equipment revenue growth occurred in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Lead manufacturers of WDM systems on a revenue basis were Huawei, Ciena, ZTE, and Nokia.
  • Shipment of 100 Gbps wavelengths grew nearly 15 percent year-over-year.
  • Shipment of 200+ Gbps wavelengths (speeds higher than 100 Gbps) more than doubled year-over-year.

About the Report

The Dell’Oro Group Optical Transport Quarterly Report offers complete, in-depth coverage of the market with tables covering manufacturers’ revenue, average selling prices, unit shipments (by speed including 40 Gbps, 100 Gbps, 200 Gbps, and 400 Gbps).  The report tracks DWDM long haul terrestrial, WDM metro, multiservice multiplexers (SONET/SDH), optical switch, optical packet platforms, and data center interconnect (metro and long haul).

To purchase this report, please contact us at

Optical Transport WDM Equipment Market Grew 15 Percent in 3Q 2018, According to Dell’Oro Group


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