Ericsson has selected Juniper and ECI Telecom to provide 5G transport network gear, citing their expertise with optical and packet networks.
Alignment between the radio, core and transport layers of the network has never been more critical to meet the requirements of 5G use cases such as enhanced mobile broadband, fixed-wireless access, and massive and critical IoT. In this environment transport needs to keep pace with the rapid radio and architectural evolution in 5G networks.
With its focus on transport between radio and core functions, Ericsson delivers transport portfolios specifically for backhaul and fronthaul. Ubiquitous transport solutions for both 4G and 5G are gaining strong momentum with service providers and Ericsson’s flagship mobile backhaul product – Router 6000 – empowers close to 60 operators. More than 110 operators also use Ericsson’s 5G-ready microwave technology, MINI-LINK solutions.
Ercsson will use Juniper’s edge and core packet transport technologies (the MX and PTX series platforms) to support connectivity between radio cell sites and an operator’s core network. Ericsson will continue to offer its own Router 6000 and microwave products as packet backhaul options for 5G transport network deployments and will sell Juniper’s SRX Series Services Gateway network security system. “With Juniper there is no overlap and a good fit,” says Nishant Batra, Ericsson’s global head of network products.
ECI Telecom Ltd. will provide optical transport gear for the metro market for service providers as well as so-called “critical infrastructure” customers of Ericsson.
Ericsson notes that the Juniper and ECI platforms are “fully interoperable with Ericsson’s transport portfolio and will be managed by the same Ericsson management and orchestration solution. This will simplify the overall management and control of 5G across the radio, transport and core network.” It adds that the “management and orchestration solution will also provide integrated software-defined networking (SDN) control for Ericsson, Juniper and ECI nodes, enabling automated network control for applications such as network slicing and traffic optimization, to ensure the best possible user experience.”
“The partnerships help us strengthen areas where we are not building organically,” says Batra. “Instead of making a blanket commitment to be in IP, we have segmented into radio near, core and edge, and it’s the radio-near part we’ll address with our own products.”
Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson, says: “Our radio expertise and knowledge in network architecture, end-user applications and standardization work put us in an excellent position to understand the requirements 5G places on transport. By combining our leading transport portfolio with best-in-class partners, we will boost our transport offering and create the critical building blocks of next-generation transport networks that benefit our customers.”
Separately, Ericsson will acquire service assurance firm CENX, saying the company’s closed-loop automation work will be a boon to Ericsson’s virtualization plans.
Mats Karlsson, Head of Solution Area OSS, Ericsson, says: “Dynamic orchestration is crucial in 5G-ready virtualized networks. By bringing CENX into Ericsson, we can continue to build upon the strong competitive advantage we have started as partners. I look forward to meeting and welcoming our new colleagues into Ericsson.”
Closed-loop automation ensures Ericsson can offer its service provider customers an orchestration solution that is optimised for 5G use cases like network slicing, taking full advantage of Ericsson’s distributed cloud offering. Ericsson’s global sales and delivery presence – along with its strong R&D – will also create economies of scale in the CENX portfolio and help Ericsson to offer in-house solutions for OSS automation and assurance.
Ed Kennedy CEO, CENX says: “Ericsson has been a great partner – and for us to take the step to fully join Ericsson gives us the best possible worldwide platform to realize CENX’s ultimate goal – autonomous networking for all. Our closed-loop service assurance automation capability complements Ericsson’s existing portfolio very well. We look forward to seeing our joint capability add great value to the transformation of both Ericsson and its customers.”
CENX, founded in 2009, is headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey. The company achieved significant year-over-year revenue growth in the fiscal year that ended December 31, 2017. CENX employs 185 people.