VIAVI Solutions Inc today announced that Mavenir, an upstart provider of end-to-end cloud-native network software for mobile operators, is collaborating with VIAVI for lab validation of radio access solutions in the U.S. VIAVI’s lab test platform, in use by almost every base station manufacturer in the world, provides scalable test systems for validating network performance as experienced by end users, across multiple cells and different radio access technologies.
The year 2020 marked a significant inflection point for mobile networks around the globe. With 229 million subscribers as of December 2020, 5G became the fastest growing mobile technology in history. New MNOs (like Dish Network) were granted licenses to establish greenfield networks to take advantage of this demand. Meanwhile, #1 base station maker Huawei was restricted from supplying infrastructure in markets around the globe. These trends have driven an expansion of the supply chain for mobile network solutions.
VIAVI tools are able to measure the complete performance of the network over multiple interfaces including O-RAN and RF through to the packet core. Capable of emulating one to many thousands of UEs, the platforms create a sophisticated and precise test environment, including comprehensive feature interactions, simulated RF and mobility, accurate replications of real-world user behavior profiles, together with mobility across the radio access network.
“Mavenir is proud to be a leading vendor to mobile operators around the globe, offering software-defined infrastructure that can adapt to evolving requirements for both brownfield and greenfield networks, large-scale to startup networks,” said Ramnik Kamo, EVP Quality, Systems and People, Mavenir. “VIAVI has been a highly collaborative partner with our two companies’ engineering teams working together to prove a new technology against very tight customer timescales.”
“As vendors across the industry develop open, cloud-native and disaggregated architectures, testing against user expectations of service quality will be critical to accelerate adoption at scale,” said Luiz Cesar Oliveira, Vice President, Americas, VIAVI. “We are excited to help Mavenir optimize their advanced radio access solutions based on our unique experience supporting over 200 service providers and virtually every network equipment manufacturer worldwide.”
VIAVI (NASDAQ: VIAV) is a global provider of network test, monitoring and assurance solutions for communications service providers, enterprises, network equipment manufacturers, government and avionics. We help these customers harness the power of instruments, automation, intelligence and virtualization to Command the network. VIAVI is also a leader in light management solutions for 3D sensing, anti-counterfeiting, consumer electronics, industrial, automotive, and defense applications. Learn more about VIAVI at www.viavisolutions.com. Follow us on VIAVI Perspectives, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
Deutsche Telekom said it is taking part in the Platform and Ecosystem for Quantum-Assisted Artificial Intelligence project to conduct research into quantum technologies, under the leadership of research and development unit T-Labs. Deutsche Telekom will carry out research activities and tests for potential use cases of quantum technologies, particularly for network operators. A consortium of 15 partners and 33 associated partners are taking part the research projects, funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Economy.
T-Labs will provide specific use cases from the field of telecommunications, including the optimization of communication networks, Industry 4.0 applications or AI-clustering problems for customer segments. Quantum algorithms can provides solutions to the complexity and size of applications. Quantum computers could be used for Deutsche Telekom’s operational business.
Quantum algorithms for telecommunication providers
Quantum computers promise an exponential increase in processing speed for selected problem classes. For example, in combinatorial optimization problems or the training of AI models (AI: artificial intelligence). In communication science, Shor’s algorithm is usually considered the “killer application” of quantum computing. This is because quantum computers can use it to attack today’s security infrastructures.
In the PlanQK project, T-Labs provides some specific use cases from the field of telecommunications. These include the optimization of communication networks, Industry 4.0 applications or AI-clustering problems for customer segments. These applications have a high level of complexity and, if the problem exceeds a critical size, can only be calculated classically with great difficulty. Here, quantum algorithms promise the solution. With growing size, quality and processing speed, quantum computers could find their way into Telekom’s operational business.
The path to a standardized quantum app store
However, the goal is not only to evaluate and demonstrate the applicability of current quantum technology for use at Telekom. The PlanQK project also seeks to prevent the risk of any one company achieving a dominant market position and setting de facto industry standards. This project is targeted at ensuring the development and establishment of a vendor-independent platform and associated ecosystem for quantum-assisted artificial intelligence. Users could then, for example, compile solutions for their company or commission them via the cloud or a quantum app store.
OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company that’s emerged from bankruptcy is jointly owned by the UK Government and Bharti Global. The company today announced that it has secured additional funding from SoftBank Group Corp. (“SoftBank”) and Hughes Network Systems LLC (“Hughes”), bringing OneWeb’s total funding to $1.4 billion. The capital raised to date positions the Company to be fully funded for its first-generation satellite fleet, totaling 648 satellites, by the end of 2022.
Prior to the latest funding round, the UK government and Bharti Global held 42.2% stake, respectively in OneWeb with other partners holding the balance 15.6%. “The capital raised to date positions the company to be fully funded for its first-generation satellite fleet, totaling 648 satellites, by the end of 2022,” as per a statement released by OneWeb.
Currently, satellite internet is a great option for residents of rural or suburban areas. Along with basically unlimited availability, satellite internet also offers Wi-Fi connectivity and speeds fast enough for streaming services. In addition to OneWeb, Starlink/SpaceX, Kuiper/Amazon, Boeing and Telesat are investing heavily into LEO satellites, aiming to launch thousands of low-orbiting satellites in coming years.
OneWeb’s mission is to deliver broadband connectivity worldwide to bridge the global Digital Divide by offering everyone, everywhere access including to the Internet of Things (IoT) future and a pathway to 5G.
OneWeb’s LEO satellite system includes a network of global gateway stations and a range of user terminals for different customer markets capable of delivering affordable, fast, high-bandwidth and low-latency communications services. In December 2020, OneWeb launched 36 new satellites, built at its Airbus Joint Venture assembly plant in Florida, USA, bringing the Company’s total fleet to 110 satellites, all fully-functioning and benefitting from International Telecommunication Union spectrum priority.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Executive Chairman of OneWeb, commented, “We are delighted to welcome the investment from SoftBank and Hughes. Both are deeply familiar with our business, share our vision for the future, and their commitment allows us to capitalise on the significant growth opportunity ahead for OneWeb. We gain from their experience and capabilities, as we deliver a unique LEO network for the world.”
Secretary of State, BEIS, The Rt. Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng, MP said: “Our investment in OneWeb is part of our continued commitment to the UK’s space sector, putting Britain at the forefront of the latest technological advances. Today’s investment brings the company one step closer to delivering its mission to provide global broadband connectivity for people, businesses and governments, while potentially unlocking new research, development and manufacturing opportunities in the UK.”
Masayoshi Son, Representative Director, Corporate Officer, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank, said, “We are excited to support OneWeb as it increases capacity and accelerates towards commercialisation. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Bharti, the UK Government and Hughes to help OneWeb deliver on its mission to transform internet access around the world.”
Pradman Kaul, President of Hughes, remarked, “OneWeb continues to inspire the industry and attract the best players in the business to come together to bring its LEO constellation to fruition. The investments made today by Hughes and SoftBank will help realise the full potential of OneWeb in connecting enterprise, government and mobility customers, especially with multi-transport services that complement our own geostationary offerings in meeting and accelerating demand for broadband around the world.”
Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb, added “OneWeb’s mission is to connect everyone, everywhere. We have made rapid progress to re-start the business since emerging from Chapter 11 in November. We welcome the investments by SoftBank and Hughes as further proof of progress towards delivering our goal.”
In connection with the investment, SoftBank will gain a seat on the OneWeb Board of Directors. Hughes is an investor through its parent company EchoStar, and also an ecosystem partner, developing essential ground network technology for the OneWeb system.
Additionally, OneWeb has reduced its request for US market access from 47,884 to 6,372 satellites. Together with the satellites for which it is already licensed by the FCC, the total constellation size will be roughly 7,000, down from the 48,000 or so proposed last year.
According to the company, this solidification of their constellation demonstrates the commitment and vision of OneWeb’s new owners, the UK Government and Bharti Global, who are dedicated to deploying a cost effective, responsible, and groundbreaking satellite network to deliver global broadband.
The firm stated that OneWeb remains focused on launching its first-generation system of 648 satellites and is on track to start regional commercial services within a year. This streamlining of activities highlights OneWeb’s plan for global connectivity services and for future generations and possibilities for the network.
OneWeb is a global communications network powered from space, headquartered in London, enabling connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities. It is implementing a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites with a network of global gateway stations and a range of user terminals to provide an affordable, fast, high-bandwidth and low-latency communications service, connected to the IoT future and a pathway to 5G for everyone, everywhere. Find out more at http://www.oneweb.world
Google Cloud, Nokia partner to accelerate cloud-native 5G readiness for communication service providers:
- Google Cloud and Nokia will jointly develop cloud-native 5G core solutions for communication service providers and enterprise customers
- New partnership will deliver cloud capabilities to the network edge to accelerate enterprise digital transformation
Google Cloud and Nokia today announced a global, strategic partnership to bring new solutions for communications service providers (CSPs) that modernize their network infrastructures, build on a cloud-native 5G Core, and develop the network edge as a business services platform for enterprises.
The agreement, which comes three months after Nokia said it will move its on-premises IT infrastructure to Google Cloud, blends multiple technology platforms and services into a more comprehensive and integrated offering, according to the companies.
Google Cloud and Nokia will work closely to validate, optimize and evolve cloud-native network functions, and the two companies will also co-innovate new solutions that will help CSPs deliver 5G connectivity and services at scale.
Today, global CSPs can unlock new monetization opportunities by driving 5G connectivity and advanced services to enterprise customers at the network edge, to deliver new, digital experiences for consumers. Google Cloud and Nokia will create solutions that bring together Nokia’s 5G operations services and networking capabilities with Google Cloud’s leading technologies in AI, ML and analytics, running on Anthos as a platform for shifting workloads to the network edge, across public and private clouds.
As part of this collaboration, Nokia is supplying its voice core, cloud packet core, network exposure function, data management, signaling, and 5G core. This includes Nokia’s IMPACT IoT Connected Device Platform, which enables automated, zero-touch activation and allows for remote management of IoT devices, as well as Nokia’s Converged Charging solution provides real-time rating and charging capabilities that enable CSPs to capture new revenue opportunities from the 5G economy.
Google Cloud’s Anthos for Telecom will serve as the platform for deploying applications, enabling CSPs to build an ecosystem of services that are deployable anywhere, from the edge of the network, to public clouds, private clouds and carrier networks. Anthos is an open hybrid and multi-cloud application platform that offers telecommunications companies the flexibility to modernize existing applications, build new ones and securely run them on-premises and across multiple clouds.
By delivering cloud-native applications at the edge, businesses can benefit from lower latency and reduce the need for costly, on-site infrastructure, enabling them to transform their businesses in industries such as smart retail, connected manufacturing and digital consumer experiences.
In general, Google Cloud is focusing on three strategic areas to support telecommunications companies:
- Helping telecommunications companies monetize 5G as a business services platform.
- Empowering them to better engage their customers through data-driven experiences.
- Assisting them in improving operational efficiencies across core telecom systems.
In December, Google Cloud announced an ecosystem of over 30 partners that will serve more than 200 partner applications at the edge. Google Cloud has more than 2,000 locations globally where it can help service providers monetize their infrastructures.
Adding Nokia as another partner will help Google Cloud modernize telcos’ infrastructures by tapping into 5G connectivity as well as cloud-native applications and capabilities from the 5G network core to the edge.
Note yet again, there are no standards for 5G Core, let alone a cloud-native version. In the References below, we list 5G cloud-native core white papers from Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung.
“Through our partnership we can give customers choice and simplicity in interfacing with Google Cloud and Nokia systems. In many cases, we can provide pre-integrated solutions from Google Cloud and Nokia, which may offer a time-to-market advantage and a more seamless path to 5G for communications service providers,” a Google Cloud spokesperson wrote in response to questions. “At a high level, our approach to supporting the telecommunications industry will span multiple partnerships, geographies, and technology layers,” the Google Cloud spokesperson said.
George Nazi, VP, Telco, Media & Entertainment Industry Solutions at Google Cloud, said: “Communications service providers have a tremendous opportunity ahead of them to support businesses’ digital transformations at the network edge through both 5G connectivity and cloud-native applications and capabilities. Doing so requires modernized infrastructure, built for a cloud-native 5G core, and we’re proud to partner with Nokia to help the telecommunications industry expand and support these customers.”
Alex Choi, SVP, Strategy and Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom, said: “Deutsche Telekom is on a journey to transform to a new open, disaggregated and cloud-native infrastructure with an automated production model. We are therefore excited to see two innovative organizations like Nokia and Google Cloud joining forces to accelerate ecosystem innovation across critical areas like Open RAN and virtual RAN and the cloud-native 5G Core.”
Neil McRae, Chief Architect at BT Group, said: “BT is deploying cloud-native technologies across our platform, creating value for our customers and ensuring they get the best network experience in every aspect of their daily lives, whether at home, on the move or at work. The network and the services that our customers depend upon in their everyday lives can be further enhanced in terms of scalability, reliability, and experience with cloud-native technologies. BT is excited that Google and Nokia are innovating together to help accelerate new, on-demand edge and convergence solutions, creating new possibilities for consumers and enterprises.”
Ron Haberman, CTO of Cloud and Network Services at Nokia, said: “In the past five years, the telecom industry has evolved from physical appliances to virtual network functions and now cloud-native solutions. Nokia is excited to work with Google Cloud in service of our customers, both CSPs and enterprise, to provide choice and freedom to run workloads on premise and in the public cloud. Cloud-native network functions and automation will enable new agility and use-cases in the 5G era.”
The 5G telecom ecosystem will shift to become more enterprise driven from consumer-focused in 2021 and the fundamental architecture become software-defined, said John Roese, global chief technology officer, Dell Technologies.
“In 2021, we will have true standalone 5G materialize and it will include advanced features. (This author strongly disagrees as there are no standards for 5G SA and there will be no roaming or portability as a result.).
Enterprise use cases will dominate the technical landscape of 5G for both public and private deployment models. (We agree on that point). The fundamental architecture of 5G (core network) will move away from the telco and shift to a cloud (native) and IT architecture, which will be open and software-defined for the first time,” said Roese recently while briefing the journalists on the technology trends this year. The Dell senior executive said 5G infrastructure ‘needs to be developed in a very different way with software defined architecture.’
Roese said in 2021 and 2022 the industry would see the shift to building edge computing platforms that can run multiple edge experiences and software-defined services on them to solve the edge proliferation problem. “Edge platforms will become major new areas of on-premise IT capacity delivered as both product and as-a-service,” he added.
Dell said 2021 will also be a prominent year for the quantum computing and semiconductor ecosystem. “This is the year that will enable broader software development ecosystems to experiment with quantum computing. This is the first year that a computer scientist with no prior access to quantum computing can go into a simulator and start to learn the language of quantum,” said Roese.
According to the company, the industry will move from the era of homogeneous compute to an era of heterogeneous compute. This means that homogenous compute like x86 will be highly augmented with domain specific architectures (Accelerators), and semiconductor ecosystems are being reorganized for this domain.
European Union (EU) internal market commissioner Thierry Breton made several important comments at the European Space Conference (ESA) yesterday. Breton outlined plans to “develop rapidly” a new space-based connectivity initiative. In particular, the EU has secured an important budget – €13.2bn – the largest budget ever – for Space. They’ve also agreed on the new EU space program, the first of its kind for Europe.
“My objective is to go fast,” he said. “Therefore, it would be appropriate that the commission puts forward this year a proposal to the European parliament and the council so we can move concretely.”
The satellite constellation design will be “multi-orbital,” combining LEO and GEO satellites. “It will also complement our existing infrastructures, creating synergies,” added Breton. He thinks the new satellite infrastructure will enhance the Galileo signal, and boost performance of Copernicus, another European satellite system focused on Earth observation.
There are four pillars of the EU’s strategy for space/satellite based connectivity:
- Consolidating Galileo & Copernicus
The launch of the second generation of Galileo satellites [1.] will commence with a first launch in 2024.
Note 1. Galileo is the EU’s Global Satellite Navigation System (GNSS). Sometimes called the ’European GPS‘, Galileo provides accurate positioning and timing information. Galileo is a programme under civilian control and its data can be used for a broad range of applications. It is autonomous but also interoperable with existing satellite navigation systems. At the moment, the Galileo constellation consists of 26 satellites.
New missions for Copernicus are coming. The ESA has awarded 6 new precursor missions, all of which have huge potential, such as the CO2 monitoring mission or the polar observation mission. Copernicus will need to adapt to the new competition in the dynamic field of earth observation.
2. Connectivity: secure digital connections for the future
Europe needs to develop rapidly an space based connectivity initiative as a third infrastructure besides Galileo & Copernicus. That infrastructure will:
- put an end to dead zones, giving access to high speed broadband to everyone;
- become autonomous and avoid dependence on the non-EU initiatives under development, like we did with Galileo;
- project Europe into the quantum era, ensuring quantum encrypted communication;
- keep the continent connected whatever happens, including massive attacks on the internet, which are no fiction anymore, especially with the emergence of the quantum computing capacities.
“My objective is to go fast. And therefore it would be appropriate that the Commission puts forward this year a proposal to the European Parliament and the Council so we can move concretely. To be ready, we launched a few weeks ago a study on a secure space-based connectivity system. The selected consortium consisting of European satellite manufacturers, operators and service providers, telco operators and launch service providers will study the possible design & development of this project.”
3. Strategic autonomy in launchers and Space Traffic Management (STM)
The EU budget will be used to support the European launcher industry in the full chain: from earliest research on new propulsion technologies to long-term contracts for the launches of our EU satellites.
“I will therefore gather in the next months all the actors to initiate a European Launcher alliance so to be able to jointly define, with ESA, the Member States, the European Parliament, the industry, a common roadmap for the next generation of launchers and technologies relevant to ensure an autonomous access to space.”
The other element of Europe’s strategic autonomy is how we operate in space thanks to a Space Traffic Management system.
“An increasingly congested space is threatening the viability and security of space infrastructures and operations. A million pieces of debris are in orbit around the earth – and the number is constantly increasing! It is expected that in the next years to come, more than 30 000 additional satellites will be launched. This is why we already have the Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) framework. But we need to go further by developing a robust EU STM policy and related capabilities – starting actively in 2021.”
4. Europe as space entrepreneurship Hub
As a last element of the space strategy for 2021, Tierry wants to position Europe as THE hub of space entrepreneurship in the world.
“I see the future of the European space industry as a combination of strong institutional leadership and European approach to New Space, one that is not a mere copy past of the US. Now is the time to seek alternative business models and funding schemes. I will therefore launch this year a new Space entrepreneurship initiative: CASSINI.
CASSINI will put in place – together with the EIB/EIF – a €1bn European Space Fund to boost start-ups and space innovation. It will cover actions on the whole innovation cycle, from business idea to industrialization, building on the €100m Space Equity Pilot we launched last year. With CASSINI, we want to stimulate more VC funds to actively invest in space companies in Europe; but also to get other industries to invest into space technologies and solutions. We want also to organize a true European space incubator, relying on the strengths of all the actors but putting them into a coherent and integrated network.”
The EC recently launched a study on what a secure space-based connectivity system might look like. A selected consortium, comprising European satellite manufacturers, operators and service providers – along with telcos and launch service providers – are tasked with studying the possible design and development of the project. “This will provide insights on the technical dimension, but also the governance structure, the financing, the missions, the exact scope. I expect their first feedback in April this year.”
In conclusion, Breton said, “2021 will be a defining year for our space strategy and for the position of Europe on the global space stage. We have enormous challenges to face, with serious risk of losing ground. We need to be able to find the resources to reinvent ourselves, to break taboos and the established cooperation.”
“And for this, I wish to work closely with all of you: Member States, Parliament, industry. And of course with the ESA – who will have a central role in this endeavor.”
EU’s Satellite Internet Competition:
Breton’s desire to move fast is no doubt motivated by the progress on two other sat communications initiatives, Starlink and OneWeb. Part of Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, Starlink has already started to offer beta broadband connections in northern Europe. OneWeb, owned by the UK government and Indian conglomerate Bharti Global, hopes to have an initial offering in the same region later this year.
The Centre for Quantum Technologies at Moscow State University has deployed a secure quantum telephony network, reports Cnews.ru. The network will interconnect 20 quantum telephony users. The maximum distance between users is 50 km. The network will be based on the Vipnet Quantum Security System (Vipnet QSS) quantum encrypting system. The project was started in December 2020 and should be completed by the end of 2021.
During the implementation of the program, a secure segment of the quantum network will be created between several subscribers located on the territory of the Moscow State University campus on Lenin Hills. The network points of presence will be installed at the Department of Physics, in the Main Building and in the Center for Quantum Technologies (about 20 subscriber points in total). In 2021, the network will be integrated with the network of Infotecs and by the end of this year the quantum protected network will be fully put into trial operation.
“Before quantum encryption becomes a familiar part of secure business communications, it is necessary to thoroughly test all possible options for the operation of such systems. The project that we started complements and develops the experiments and developments in the field of quantum communications over fiber-optic networks that we and other companies working in this field previously carried out, “said Professor Sergei Kulik, scientific director of the Center for Quantum Technologies at Moscow State University.
The quantum network will be built on the ViPNet Quantum Security System ( ViPNet QSS ), a quantum cryptographic system for generating and distributing keys (KKS VRK ), developed by InfoTeKS in collaboration with the Center for Quantum Technologies of Lomonosov Moscow State University. The system operates in a star topology and is designed to distribute encryption keys between trusted zones. In the course of the project, several tasks will be solved simultaneously: this quantum network will be multi-node, it will work in urban conditions, a secure channel will connect the networks of different organizations.
To ensure the safe transfer of information between protected zones, ViPNet QSS Point clients are installed in each zone, which are connected via a quantum channel through a hierarchical system of ViPNet QSS Switch optical switches to the ViPNet QSS Server. Thus, the trusted zones are combined for secure communication. The ViPNet QSS system delivers encryption keys to all devices that encrypt user information.
The confidentiality of negotiations through this system is based on strong symmetric encryption of network traffic between subscribers using the quantum key distribution protocol. In turn, the robustness of this protocol is based on the fundamental principle of quantum physics – the impossibility of measuring a photon without changing its state. This means that if an attacker tries to intercept photons, from which a quantum key should subsequently be formed, their initially prepared states will change. The protocol will detect these changes and will not use such photons to generate a secret quantum key.
One of the advantages of a “quantum” phone is the ability to encrypt voice traffic and text messages of users on keys unknown even to the network administrator.
“Our cooperation with colleagues from Moscow State University began 4 years ago. During this time, we have created several cryptographic systems operating in different topologies. It is pleasant to note that our joint developments also find practical application, – commented Dmitry Gusev, Deputy General Director of InfoTeKS. “I think that the trial operation of ViPNet QSS will allow us and colleagues from the Center for Quantum Technologies to better understand the real needs of customers interested in quantum technologies.”
One of advantages of “quantum” phone is an opportunity to cipher voice traffic and text messages of users on the keys unknown even to the network administrator.
On May 28, 2019, InfoTeKS and the NTI Competence Center – Center for Quantum Technologies of the Physics Department, Moscow State University demonstrated the work of a pre-production sample of the first “quantum” phone in Russia, ViPNet QSS Phone, which is part of the ViPNet Quantum Security System (ViPNet QSS).
A session of voice communication was carried out between the Center of Quat Technologies and the Infotecs office, protected on quantum keys and using an optical line provided by YL-com.
Quantum telephone is a joint development of the NTI Competence Center, created on the basis of the M.V. Lomonosov and Infotecs, a partner of the university in the quantum Consortium. Work on the product began in 2016 with a decision to support a local project within the MSU Development Program.
The confidentiality of negotiations on a “quantum” phone is based on strong symmetric encryption of network traffic between subscribers using the quantum key distribution protocol for the distribution of keys. In turn, the stability of this protocol is based on the fundamental principle of quantum physics that it is impossible to measure a photon without changing its state. This means that if an attacker tries to intercept photons, from which a quantum key should subsequently be formed, their initially prepared states will change. The protocol will detect these changes and will not use such photons to generate a secret quantum key.
Upstart networking software maker Mavenir claims to be the industry’s only end-to-end Network Software Provider and a leader in accelerating software network transformation for communications service providers (CSPs). The company today has expanded and cloudified its portfolio by announcing four new solutions: WebScale Platform, AI & Analytics, Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) and Digital Enablement Platform, all available now.
With cloud-native applications [1.] and technology innovation in the software space for mobile communications, consistent with Mavenir’s DNA, these solutions support the ongoing cloudification of the mobile networks, to enable CSPs to meet the growing data demands on their networks.
Note 1. Cloud native is an approach to building and running applications that exploits the advantages of the cloud computing delivery model. The software is built upon independent microservices and can run on a container platform, like Kubernetes.
The term has become a new IT industry buzzword, but it is a totally unproven entity for telecom service providers, especially for 5G core network/ stand alone (SA) functions.
According to Ericsson, some of the key benefits of cloud native are:
- Faster TTM (time to market) with increased flexibility and more frequent SW drops
- Support for continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) of new software.
- Improved life cycle management (LCM).
- Improved support and flexibility for distribution of network functions.
- Substantial improvements of total cost of ownership.
The new 3GPP specification (not a standard!) for 5G Core (5GC) is introducing a service based architecture (SBA), which is designed for cloud native deployment. This will be the new platform for new 3GPP capabilities going forward and very limited efforts will be spent on the old evolved packet core (EPC) going forward.
Mavenir’s cloud centric approach means moving applications to Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) computing servers and embracing a complete ecosystem with applications in the Cloud (private, hybrid or public), which complement the basic Network Virtualized Functions (NVFs) and bring automation to improve the way operators manage and operate their networks. In addition, this approach creates more flexibility and agility enabling the introduction of new services not only in the traditional consumer business, but also in the enterprise arena.
Mavenir’s Webscale Platform, which is based on Kubernetes, extends the enterprise IT and webscale platform-as-a-service (PaaS) with telco-specific functions that are open interface and based on open source. The service was developed in conjunction with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and LF Networking, a Linux Foundation group, which is working on webscale technologies through its XGVela project that targets upper layer services as PaaS functions and is designed to enable more cloud deployments among network operators.
Suresh Somasundaram, SVP of 5G Cloud Platforms at Mavenir explains, “Mobile networks require digital transformation towards webscale platform technology that utilizes open source, Kubernetes platform as a service (PaaS). While a Kubernetes-based platform (PaaS) provides the foundation for fully automated life cycle management, it is built for mainly IT and enterprise applications and requires additional and specialized functions to support telecom and specifically, mobile workloads. To support those types of workloads, Mavenir has developed a common software extending standard opensource PaaS components to support telco needs for webscale deployment and to provide agile delivery of new applications expanding to Performance, Monitoring, Legal Intercept and Security. Mavenir’s WebScale Platform is the solution to give Mobile Operators the webscale agility of the Internet players.”
Kuntal Chowdhury, GM, AI & Analytics at Mavenir said, “With the cloudification and automation of the telecom networks, it becomes essential to utilize AI & Analytics solutions in a scalable platform combining real-time and big data analytics based on advanced Machine Learning algorithms. Mavenir’s AI & Analytics platform delivers extensive insights that are mandatory for WebScale network automation, slice management, security and many other use cases defined for the MEC (EdgeAI), RAN intelligence, traffic optimization and security . The AI/ML algorithms are defined with Mavenir’s deep telecom domain expertise, while keeping the interfaces standards-compliant & the platform open for collaborative innovation.”
Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC):
Mavenir is introducing a platform that will enable edge computing within an operator network which it plans to make available later this year. Mavenir is also working with Nvidia and Mellanox (owned by Nvidia) to allow packet core functionality to be deployed at the edge of the network, and integrating its software development kit with other vendors to benefit specific edge applications in industrial automation, augmented or virtual reality, video surveillance, and autonomous driving.
Ashok Khuntia, GM Cloud Packet Computing says, “Delivering low latency and high bandwidth at the edge of the network promises many exciting applications in 5G. Mavenir’s optimized low-footprint data processing 5G Core platform enables mission critical MEC applications in the areas of Industrial automation, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, Gaming, Video surveillance, Autonomous driving and others. The additional focus on Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) will accelerate such applications for many different industries and sectors.”
Sandeep Singh, GM, Digital Enablement at Mavenir noted, “Mavenir enables Operators and Enterprises to launch innovative value-based services faster to market with lower upfront investments in capital and time. Mavenir’s Digital Enablement Platform unlocks any network data, sources partner data, and serves up a value-added offering enriched through the platform’s flexible business control functions like Partner/Customer Management, Order Journey-Experience builder, Subscription/Usage Billing, Charging and Settlement. With the design focus on ‘adaptability’, the platform provides customers the agility and flexibility to experiment iteratively and deliver enhanced subscriber engagement experiences, ultimately benefitting in increased market reach and customer stickiness through new revenue generating services.”
“With a modern and secure Webscale platform as a foundation for edge computing, state of the art AI-based Analytics and Customer engagement solutions in our portfolio, Mavenir is a partner of choice for Telcos looking to offer new mission critical network edge solutions, transform network operations and business models for new 5G networks. In addition, Enterprises who need cost efficiency and customization in their connectivity and communication solutions will benefit,” said Bejoy Pankajakshan, Mavenir’s Chief Strategy Officer. “With a worldwide installed base and decades of experience in designing ‘Multi-G’ Telco services, Mavenir now offers its customer a path to realize the true potential of 5G through these new technology solutions.”
Orange has already activated 5G in 160 cities across France, the operator’s CEO Stéphane Richard said in an interview with local newspaper Jornal du Dimanche (JDD) on Sunday. Some of the initial cities covered by Orange’s 5G network include Marseille, Nice, Le Mans and Angers.
“We will very soon deploy 5G in 30 other cities, such as Aix-en-Provence, Brest or Toulon,” the executive said. Also, that Orange is currently engaged in talks with the Municipality of Paris for the deployment of 5G in the nation’s capital. Richard said that he expected the activation of 5G in Paris to occur during the first quarter of the year.
He also announced that Orange will donate 10,000 SIM cards before the end of January to FAGE, the main student federation.
More importantly, Richard is worried about the causes of the delay in the deployment of 5G in France. He told the French newspaper:
“We are indeed not really ahead in the deployment of this technology. In addition to basic problems, the chronology of the last months provides an explanation for the recent tensions. 5G indeed became, in the spring of 2019, a campaign theme for the municipal elections, which did not make things easier, on the contrary. While the authorizations had finally been granted to the operators. France is leaving with almost a year and a half late in the deployment of 5G. It is difficult to know today if she will catch up with him.”
France has already authorized 5G in nearly 7,000 municipalities. The JDD unveils a preview of the National Frequency Agency map of sites in France authorized to transmit in 5G as shown in this image:
Orange initially launched commercial 5G services in 15 municipalities at the beginning of December 2020. The leading network operator in France will offer 5G in the 3.5 GHz frequency band. Orange recently obtained 90 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band. The telco said that its upcoming 5G deployment focuses mainly on these new 3.5 GHz frequencies and may be supplemented by the use of 2.1 GHz frequencies.
The operator said it has chosen to initially cover areas that are already heavily used in order to avoid any risk of saturation. Richard previously said that the company’s 5G deployment will be done gradually and in a constructive dialogue with all local authorities, in parallel with the carrier’s efforts to expand coverage of the French territory in 4G.
The main auction for 3.4-3.8 GHz frequencies for the provision of 5G in France was completed in early October 2020. In that spectrum auction, local operators Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Iliad committed to pay a total of 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) for a total of 11 blocks of 10 megahertz of spectrum.
Telecom regulator Arcep’s specifications for the 5G auction stipulate that each operator must launch 5G services in at least two cities before the end of 2020. Each carrier should deploy 3,000 sites by 2022, 8,000 sites in 2024 and 10,500 sites by 2025. Eventually, all of the cell sites must provide a 5G service using frequencies in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band or other bands, according to the French regulator.
What about the ecological risk, in the context of the fight against global warming?
“We have to go back to a little objectivity. Data storage, network infrastructure and equipment manufacturing only represent 4% of greenhouse gas emissions. Of this 4%, 80% of emissions are linked to equipment, from manufacturing to the use of telephones, and only 20% to networks, including data centers. I would remind you that industry is 43%, buildings 26%, while transport represents 25% of emissions. It is therefore wrong to present digital technology as one of the causes of the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2. One ton of CO2 spent on digital technology is 10 tons of CO2 that is not used everywhere else.
When you do a video conference, you are not traveling: the ecological impact between a video meeting and a physical meeting is reduced from 1 to 100. When you use connected objects in cities, you have more control over energy consumption.
5G technology is much better from an environmental footprint perspective than 4G. It is ten times more efficient on energy consumption. It would take a particular bad faith not to recognize that digital technology itself is the bearer of a solution, rather than the creator of problems. Personally, obscurantism bothers me a lot.
France is a country of engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs. That the refusal of progress develops there is sad. You have more control over energy consumption. 5G technology is much better from an environmental footprint perspective than 4G. It is ten times more efficient on energy consumption. It would take a particular bad faith not to recognize that digital technology itself is the bearer of a solution, rather than the creator of problems. Personally, obscurantism bothers me a lot. France is a country of engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs. That the refusal of progress develops there is sad.you have more control over energy consumption. 5G technology is much better from an environmental footprint perspective than 4G. It is ten times more efficient on energy consumption. It would take a particular bad faith not to recognize that digital technology itself is the bearer of a solution, rather than the creator of problems. Personally, obscurantism bothers me a lot. France is a country of engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs. That the refusal of progress develops there is sad.a particular bad faith in not recognizing that digital technology itself is the bearer of a solution, rather than the creator of problems. Personally, obscurantism bothers me a lot. France is a country of engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs. That the refusal of progress develops there is sad.
A particular bad faith in not recognizing that digital technology itself is the bearer of a solution, rather than the creator of problems. Personally, obscurantism bothers me a lot. France is a country of engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs. That the refusal of progress develops there is sad.”
Has the mobile telephone sector engaged in the search for carbon neutrality? Richard answered:
“As president of the GSMA, the alliance that brings together the majority of operators worldwide, I have pushed the sector to make extremely strong commitments in this area. Neutrality will be achieved in 2050, in accordance with the Paris Agreement. And in 2040 for Orange, that is to say very soon. The telecoms industry is particularly ambitious in this area, contrary to what some argue. Its commitments in terms of reducing carbon emissions are the most drastic of all industrial sectors. At Orange, we are also setting concrete targets to reduce electricity consumption, which remains the main difficulty for networks. In Africa, which represents 10% of the group’s activities, we invest in solar energy. As in Jordan, where our solar farms already cover 70% of our local electricity needs.”
GlobalData, a leading market data and analytics company, has rated Huawei’s LTE RAN portfolio to be a leader in the market. In competitive analyses of five major RAN vendors, GlobalData evaluated 4G LTE base station portfolios according to four key areas important to mobile operators: baseband unit (BBU) capacity, radio unit portfolio breadth, ease of deployment and technological evolution. GlobalData found Huawei to be a Leader in all four categories and a Leader overall among its peers.
Editor’s Note/ Disclaimer:
We don’t know whether Huawei paid Global Data (?) to evaluate 4G LTE vendor portfolios or if that was done indepedently on Global Data’s own initiative. It’s disturbing that we could not find a related report or media press release on the company’s website after doing multiple searches.
LTE RAN Basics: In the RAN, radio sites provide radio access and coordinate the management of resources across the radio sites. User Equipment (e.g. wireless network endpoints) are connected to Nodes (base stations or small cells) using LTE. Radio Network Controllers are wirelessly connected to the core network which for LTE is called the Evolved Packet Core (EPC). This is depicted in the illustration below:
Source: Research Gate
Huawei has introduced new advances in its LTE RAN portfolio to enhance the coverage and capacity of mobile networks. It also offers solutions to aid the coordination of 4G and 5G networks and to enable new services for operators. The Chinese IT behemoth has the highest BBU cell capacity – in terms of both LTE carriers and Narrowband IoT – of any major RAN vendor. It also offers more radio units and more Massive MIMO options than other vendors and supports a wide array of 4G spectrum bands. To make deployment easier, Huawei offers multiple novel solutions, including its Super Blade Site and Bracelet Kit offerings. And to help operators evolve their networks technologically, Huawei has been proactive in commercializing spectrum-sharing capabilities such as its CloudAIR solution, which allows various access technologies (2G/3G/4G/5G) to use the same spectrum, and its SuperBAND solution, which can improve user experience under multi-frequency networks.
This portfolio is well-suited to meet the diverse needs of the world’s mobile operators, and Huawei continues to expand its RAN portfolio to help operators prepare for the future and maximize the value of their LTE networks.
Adequate network coverage is an essential characteristic for ensuring quality mobile services. It becomes especially important in LTE networks as 5G is deployed in high-frequency bands whose coverage footprint areas are more limited. LTE must cover the areas that 5G does not.
To enhance the coverage of 4G/5G networks, Huawei has introduced the Blade Pro solution. The Blade Pro Ultra-Wideband Remote Radio Unit (RRU) is a pole-mountable RU that supports three low or medium Frequency-Division Duplex (FDD) bands simultaneously: it currently supports 700 MHz, 800 MHz and 900 MHz; and in late 2021, it will support 1.8 GHz, 2.1 GHz and 2.6 GHz.
By supporting three frequency bands in a single 25-kilogram unit, the Blade Pro eliminates the need for two boxes, reducing the load on poles, easing the burden on installers and making deployment faster, smoother and less expensive. Making installation easier means operators are better able to increase coverage by expanding or densifying their networks.
Operators face the eternal challenge of keeping up with ever-increasing user demand for data at faster speeds in the space of finite spectrum. One way to add network capacity without finding additional spectrum is to deploy greater antenna arrays, upgrading radios with two transceivers to those with four or eight, for example, or adding Massive MIMO antennas bearing 32 or 64 arrays.
Huawei’s LTE RAN portfolio now includes a radio unit with eight transceivers and receivers for enhanced capacity, useful for urban hotspot areas. The “Smart 8T8R” solution also gives operators flexibility in their migration to 5G. The FDD 8T8R RRU is hardware-ready for 5G NR, and the antenna array is software-defined, meaning its configuration can be adjusted – without changing the hardware – for example, to six sectors for LTE and three sectors for 5G. The solution also dynamically adjusts the power supply allocated to sectors according to how users are distributed. This flexibility can be helpful in allowing operators to serve specific needs on a site-by-site basis and to adapt in real time to changes in user behavior. On TDD side, meanwhile, Huawei leverages its considerable research in TDD-LTE to offer an 8T8R IMB (Intelligent Multi-Beam) solution, which is also based on a software-defined antenna and promises to deliver 1.8-2.2x capacity gains compared with more common products.
For even higher capacity needs, Huawei has introduced the “Smart Massive MIMO” solution, a dual-band 5G-ready 4G radio with 32 transceivers and receivers promising three to five times the download speeds compared with more common products. Like the Smart 8T8R solution, Smart Massive MIMO automatically adjusts the power allocated to individual beams based on user traffic patterns. This lends efficiency in two ways, since Massive MIMO beamforming is itself a more efficient use of mobile spectrum than traditional antenna arrays, and the Smart Massive MIMO solution uses its power supply more efficiently than typical Massive MIMO gear.
In addition to the ways Huawei’s aforementioned gear balances and coordinates 4G and 5G networks, its portfolio also includes other solutions to further optimize the relationship between the two.
Its SuperBAND solution uses artificial intelligence (AI) to aggregate network scheduling – the coordinated allocation of radio resources to mobile signals – among multiple frequency carriers, essentially boosting network capacity beyond the divisions and fragmentation of various spectrum bands. In 4G/5G networks, SuperBAND can perform this aggregation across both 4G and 5G, maximizing spectral efficiency and, ultimately, optimizing the quality of the user experience.
Meanwhile, Huawei also offers Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) as part of its CloudAIR solution. DSS allows 4G and 5G traffic to share the same spectrum bands, increasing spectral usage efficiency; it also allows 4G and 5G traffic to dynamically switch from one band to another, regardless of radio access technology, in response to congestion on specific bands, ensuring the best use of spectrum even as user behavior changes. CloudAIR goes even further, applying a similar spectrum-sharing function to 2G and 3G traffic as well for a more comprehensive capability that is especially relevant to markets where legacy networks remain.
New Service Enablement:
Enhancing and optimizing the network are important aims, but from a commercial perspective, one of the most important imperatives operators face is the need to deliver new revenue-generating services. Huawei’s LTE RAN portfolio addresses this requirement in multiple ways.
Huawei’s Voice-over-LTE solution, VoLTE Plus, helps operators migrate voice traffic from legacy technologies like 2G and 3G to LTE, not only achieving higher quality voice service but also allowing operators to sunset their legacy networks and repurpose their VoLTE investments for the future. In addition, Huawei’s latest VoLTE solution, goes further, adding four new capabilities that help protect the quality of voice service in 4G/5G networks:
- 5G-to-LTE EPS fallback
- LTE-to-5G fast return
- New Enhanced Voice Services capabilities
- Dedicated services that allow for optimization on LTE
Beyond voice, Huawei’s LTE portfolio also supports Narrowband IoT, to capture opportunities in the Internet-of-Things space. The vendor’s roadmap also targets support for 5G NB-IoT in particular, which will allow operators with existing IoT services to migrate those services to their 4G/5G network and replace disparate or ad-hoc legacy networks with a unified network that yields multiple revenue streams from a common infrastructure investment.
Huawei’s portfolio also enables new services via fixed wireless access (FWA) products. Amid the global pandemic, the increase in telecommuting and home-based learning based on video connections has increased the demand for residential broadband networks. Where fiber isn’t available, FWA is vital in building these residential networks. Huawei’s LTE-based FWA solutions have achieved enviable momentum in the market. The vendor has also added 4G/5G customer premises equipment to its portfolio, giving these networks a future-proof migration path to continued service enablement.
Huawei’s LTE RAN portfolio continues to evolve in order to help operators maximize the value of their networks as they prepare for the future. New solutions in the portfolio enhance the coverage and capacity of LTE networks as well as maximize network efficiency by coordinating 4G and 5G operations. Meanwhile, Huawei offers multiple solutions aimed at enabling the delivery of additional services that can help operators grow revenue in a variety of ways, including VoLTE, the Internet of Things and FWA.