STL Launches Accellus End-To-End Fiber Broadband And 5G Wireless Solution; India’s PLI scheme explained

India based telecom equipment company STL (Sterlite Technologies Limited) has launched Accellus, its flagship solution for 5G-ready, open and programmable networks. This new product line raises the position of STL as a provider of disruptive solutions for Access and Edge networks. For the past 5 years, STL has been investing in research and development to expand its capabilities in converged networks based on fiber optic broadband and Open RAN.


India’s PLI Scheme

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represents service providers and network equipment vendors, said that the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme will boost local manufacturing, exports and also create employment opportunities.  STL plans to take advantage of that initiative. Nokia (through its India subsidiary) said the guidelines were an encouraging initiative by the government towards making India a global manufacturing hub. “Nokia is committed to this vision with our Chennai factory that manufactures telecom equipment from 2G to 5G-making for India and the world.”

“India is already the second largest telecom market globally and this will go a long way in making the country a global hub for telecom innovation,” said SP Kochhar, director general, COAI.


STL’s Accellus is built on this industry-leading converged optical-radio architecture. The company expects the global adoption of this decision to accelerate at a rate of 250% on an annual basis, stimulating better TCO for customers and gross margin for shareholders. Accellus will allow four main benefits for network builders – scalable and flexible operations, faster time to market, lower TCO and greener networks.

Accellus will lead the industry’s transition from tightly integrated, proprietary products to neutral and programmable converged wireless and optical networking solutions. It offers wireless and fiber-based solutions:

1. 5G multiband radios: Exhaustive portfolio of RAN radios with single and multiband macro radios. Co-developed in partnership with Facebook Connectivity to build total availability for Open RAN-based radios

2. Internal small cells: O-RAN compliant, highly efficient internal 5G small cell solution, with level 1 edge treatment

3. Wi-Fi 6 access solutions: Outdoor Wi-Fi 6 solutions providing carrier-class public connectivity in dense environments

4. Intelligent RAN Controller (RIC): An Open RAN 5G operating system that allows the Open RAN ecosystem to use third-party applications to improve performance and save costs

5. Programmable FTTx (pFTTx): A complete solution that offers programmability and software-defined networks in large-scale FTTH, business and cellular sites (FTTx) networks

Commenting on the launch of Accellus, Philip Leidler, Partner and Consulting Director, STL Partners, said: “One of the goals of the O-RAN alliance was to expand the RAN ecosystem and encourage innovation from a wider base of technology companies worldwide. the message is the last indication that this goal has been achieved. “

Commenting on the launch of Accellus, Chris Rice, CEO of Access Solutions at STL, said: “Disaggregated 5G and FTTx networks based on open standards are becoming more common for both greenfield and brownfield deployments. These networks will require unprecedented scalability and flexibility, possible through an open and programmable architecture. STL’s Accellus will unlock business opportunities for our customers and provide a immersive digital experience worldwide.”

Optical fiber has evolved in its maturity and in its form factors to drive the infrastructure medium for the “wireline” side of the network. It continues to be the preferred medium for high-speed network delivery, Rice said.

“What network infrastructure is needed for 5G to become a reality and deliver expected Performance?” 

Answer:  “Upgrade the network backhaul and core IP infrastructure for the expected growth in bandwidth that 5G Applications will enable. The necessity of wireline 5G upgrades sometimes does not get the attention it deserves; this includes IP equipment (e.g. cell site routers) and the necessary fiber upgrades to the cell sites.

Perform the network planning for the new cell site builds required to get the coverage and capacity required for ubiquitous 5G at the speeds users expect. For 5G to pay off for Telcos, there have to be new capabilities and services to sell that deserve higher price points from consumers and business users.

Ensure that operational automation is available to keep operating costs reasonable, especially as the number of cell sites grows. CAPEX is typically only 20 to 25% of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for a RAN, meaning that operating costs are 3X to 4X what CAPEX is. The RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) is an example in ORAN / Open RAN that helps Telcos fulfil this need in an open way. It is essentially the operating system for Open RAN. It provides a platform for third-party applications to deliver these operational benefits and automation.”

How Is STL Helping Industry Stakeholders to Explain to Government Officials the Importance of Fiber for 5G or High-Speed Broadband?

Answer: “Network speed in the RAN air interface is essentially meaningless without the ability to ensure that the connected IP network can backhaul the required bandwidth. This fact necessitates additional fiber deployments to the existing cell sites (where it does not exist) and to new cells sites.”

In conclusion, Rice opined, “Our (STLs) newest business unit, the Access Solutions BU, focuses on fiber broadband and 5G wireless products. These products are based on open networking principles and give STL the opportunity to participate in the disruption that is occurring in the open networking markets, like ORAN and Open RAN initiatives. While Access Solutions BU is new, it has an R&D and innovation heritage of almost four years. During that time, a top talent team has been put in place, fundamental technology and innovation have been developed and matured, and now a well-defined product roadmap has been put in place as the BU launches many new products in its Accellus product line.”


Huawei announces seven innovations in digital infrastructure for next decade

On Friday at HUAWEI CONNECT 2021, Huawei unveiled “breakthrough” innovations in several different domains, providing a first look at its comprehensive digital infrastructure range. Several of these innovations are completely new and have never been seen before outside of Huawei’s labs. The release highlighted how these products and solutions are set to shape digital infrastructure for the next decade. Huawei is one of the world’s leading creators of digital infrastructure, and is dedicated to building a fully connected, intelligent world.

During the event, Huawei Executive Director and President of ICT Products & Solutions David Wang delivered a keynote speech titled Leading Innovation in Digital Infrastructure. In the speech, he noted, “Infrastructure has been vital to every stage of human development. The intelligent world is fast approaching and digital infrastructure is the key to building this intelligent world. The world now faces unprecedented challenges and so Huawei will remain customer-centric and committed to innovation. We are dedicated to breakthroughs to serve major application scenarios such as digital offices, smart manufacturing, wide area network (WAN), and data centers, and accelerate the development of the global digital infrastructure.”

David WangDavid Wang unveils seven innovations in digital infrastructure at HUAWEI CONNECT 2021


Wang explained how digital infrastructure of the future would need to be hyper secure, reliable, and deterministic, and need more efficient data circulation and computing power as the world dives into digital. This speech started with the ideas Wang introduced two days ago at the release event for Huawei’s Intelligent World 2030 report. The report itself finds that, by 2030, global connections will top 200 billion; monthly data per cellular user will grow 40 times to 600 gigabytes; worldwide general computing volume will grow 10 times over; and data generated will increase by 23 times, reaching one yottabyte for the first time. All of this creates a picture of new challenges and opportunities for the digital infrastructure sector over the next 10 years.

The main focus of his speech were seven specific innovations Huawei has launched or is about to launch onto the market.

1.  Digital meeting rooms: Powered by intelligent “Office Twins” and bridging the world with ubiquitous gigabit and seamless collaboration

The newest “Office Twins” from Huawei are the AirEngine 6761 and IdeaHub. AirEngine 6761 are the industry’s highest-performance Wi-Fi 6E product that delivers an experience-centric, all-wireless network for businesses, with instant and secure user access, interaction latency down to 10 milliseconds, and ultra-fast file transfer at 1,000 Mbps. As part of the next generation of smart office tools, the 6-in-1 design of IdeaHub allows it to function as a projector, whiteboard, computer, conference endpoint, speaker, and microphone, enabling “frictionless collaboration” across different locations.

2. Huawei OptiXsense: Accelerating pipeline inspection

The Huawei OptiXsense EF3000 is the company’s first product under the OpiXsense family, and is currently the most accurate optical sensor of the industry. Coming packed with Huawei’s leading optical technologies, the OptiXsense uses a unique optical digital signal processor (oDSP) and a new vibration ripple analysis engine for automatic incident identification. The OptiXsense achieves 97% accuracy, compared with the industry average of 60%–80%. It is designed to streamline oil and gas pipeline inspections, and will ultimately enable intelligent, unmanned pipeline inspections. Going forward, OptiXsense products will also support other domains, monitoring temperature, stress, and water quality.

3. The industry’s first deterministic IP network solution: Making lights-out digital factories a reality

Industrial control systems demand extremely low levels of network latency and jitter. Conventional IP networks cannot deliver these standards, but today Huawei unveiled the industry’s first deterministic IP network solution, providing end-to-end guaranteed network performance to support industrial controls. This solution uses CloudEngine S6730-H-V2 switches and NetEngine 8000 M8 routers. Huawei’s innovations in IP system engineering and algorithms deliver microsecond-level single-hop latency and keep jitter within 30 microseconds from end to end, regardless of the number of hops. The solution supports multi-hop networking of tens of thousands of nodes, so it can deliver deterministic IP network performance for a workshop, a factory, or even multiple factories. It can even support centralized remote control of production lines located thousands of kilometers away.

4. H-OTN: Leading a revolution in secure production networks

H-OTN, the industry’s first converged optical device that supports hard pipe technologies, introduces an innovative Point-to-Multipoint (P2MP) OTN architecture for access networks. For the first time, Huawei enables an end-to-end hard pipe, from the access network to WAN, using a redefined product architecture and converged protocols. This not only guarantees 100% security, but also reduces latency by at least 60%. Huawei H-OTN will provide highly reliable communications networks, with ultra-low latency and simplified O&M, to support digital transformation across industries such as electric power and transportation.

5. An industry-leading IP network solution: Enabling cross-region computing resource scheduling

Huawei’s newest IP network solution delivers industry-leading performance to help customers build vast, unified networks for cross-region computing. This solution combines Huawei’s CloudEngine 16800 data center switches and NetEngine 8000 F8 WAN routers. Thanks to intelligent & lossless algorithm 2.0 and intelligent cloud graph algorithm, this Huawei solution is able to construct ultra-large data center networks connecting up to 270,000 servers, three times larger than the industry average. It guarantees 0 packet loss on Ethernet and lowers latency by 25%. This solution also features intelligent routing by cloud service type and cloud-network resource factor, improving transmission efficiency by 30%.

6. OceanStor Pacific: Ushering in an era of High Performance Data Analytics (HPDA)

OceanStor Pacific is the industry’s first distributed storage for HPDA, representing huge breakthroughs in technical architecture, including data flows adaptive to large and small I/O, converged indexing for unstructured data, ultra-high-density hardware, and EC algorithms. With this solution, a single storage unit can make data analytics 30% more efficient by supporting hybrid workloads across high-performance computing (HPC), big data analytics, and AI computing, breaking through the performance, protocol, and capacity barriers that typically limit HPDA. OceanStor Pacific has already been deployed in oilfields, and is set to accelerate the digital transformation of oil and gas exploration and create digital basins and oilfields.

7. Huawei CC Solution: Building the industry’s first public diversified computing service platform

Huawei’s CC Solution helps customers roll out public platforms that provide diversified computing power. It is designed with three scenarios in mind: AI computing centers, high performance computing centers, and integrated big data centers. The solution has four advantages over traditional solutions: diversified computing, rapid rollout, efficient utilization, and on-demand service. This solution is already in use in multiple projects, powering industry clusters with computing clusters and supporting the digital transformation of countless industries.

As Wang closed out the day’s events, he stressed that the future of digital infrastructure will need a thriving software ecosystem in addition to new and innovative hardware. He promised that Huawei continues its “dive into digital” and will continue working with partners, developers, and open source organizations from around the world to build a diverse software ecosystem that is shared and open.

Wang concluded by saying, “Each and every R&D employee at Huawei lives and breathes innovation. No matter what comes our way, innovation will remain constant. To sum up, our innovation in digital infrastructure centers on: breakthroughs in basic theories and algorithms; technology spillover; technical architecture; product architecture; industry pace; industry direction; and industry creation… Huawei will remain committed to innovation in digital infrastructure, create value for customers and partners on an ongoing basis, and work relentlessly to build a fully connected, intelligent world.”

Huawei hosts HUAWEI CONNECT 2021 online from September 23 to October 31. The theme of this year’s event is Dive into Digital. We’re going to dive deep into the practical application of technologies like cloud, AI, and 5G in all industries, and how they can make organizations of all shapes and sizes more efficient, more versatile, and ultimately more resilient as we move towards economic recovery.


BICS tests 5G Standalone roaming in trial with Proximus despite no standard(s)

Brussels based BICS [1.] today announced the successful conclusion of one of the first 5G Standalone (SA) roaming trials in the world, taking place within the BICS 5G Lab. The new innovation platform enabled data sessions and outbound roaming of test subscribers from Proximus to BICS’ test network environment.  The 5G SA Lab’s successful results confirm a network operator’s readiness for an accelerated 5G roll-out.

Note 1. BICS is a leading international communications enabler, one of the key global voice carriers and the leading provider of mobile data services worldwide.

The BICS 5G Lab was announced earlier this year, and provides a test environment for operators and enterprises to test their readiness for next-gen services deployment of 5G Standalone, independently of the 4G core network. It follows BICS’ previous initiatives in promotion of 5G adoption, including the recent addition of borderless 5G connectivity to its SIM for Things solution earlier this year.

The trial successfully enabled a 5G data session for outbound roamers and demonstrated roaming interoperability between two 5G network providers – a critical element for the communications ecosystem to be able to meet the international needs of roaming devices and end users. It also established connectivity between the visited and home network via secured gateways (SEPP), hosted on BICS’ IPX network.

Mikaël Schachne, VP Mobility and IoT, BICS says: “BICS is perfectly positioned at the heart of the communications system to facilitate 5G Standalone readiness, ensuring operators and enterprises are fully prepared for roll-out. The insights BICS provides, harnessed from our unparalleled expertise in carrying over half the world’s data roaming traffic, can help businesses to accelerate their 5G strategies and provide first-class offerings to their customers.”

Geert Standaert, Chief Technology Officer, Proximus says: “5G represents a revolution of mobile communications and will accelerate the advent of the Internet of Things. The conclusion of this trial marks a major advancement in Proximus’ 5G Standalone rollout, which will bring unprecedented advantages to both end users and businesses.”

The scope for 5G SA use cases is expanding exponentially, from smart transport to industry 4.0 and beyond, with the pandemic having accelerated the demand for wireless technologies. As the world’s travel industries and businesses begin to re-open, operators and enterprises are set to experience a sharp increase in demand for international roaming across their 5G networks. This trial is a milestone in BICS’ commitment to enabling the international readiness for 5G adoption necessary to meet and capitalize on this growth opportunity.

Orange has said it is also ready to work with early  5G SA adopters on trials and proofs of concept for 5G roaming.  In the absence of any standards or implementation specs, there are many different implementations of 5G SA core network and no standard for 5G SA roaming.

All network operators must sign new 5G bilateral roaming agreements and establish interconnections with peers. This can be bilateral, but, like today, the complicated management and rollout of roaming agreements will be simplified using IPX and roaming hub providers. Signaling interworking will require a SEPP, which ensures end-to-end confidentiality and integrity between source and destination networks. All signaling traffic across operator networks will transit via these security proxies. Authentication between operators’ SEPP is required to prevent unauthorized communication between networks. Operators will benefit from connecting to a 5G-compliant IPX hub as it offers adapted levels of security from all the other operators connected to the hub.


BICS advances 5G Standalone roaming with conclusion of trial with Proximus

India’s DoT preparing for another mega spectrum sale

India’s telecom department has set the stage for another mega spectrum sale by sending a reference to the sector regulator, seeking fresh base prices for the gamut of airwave bands, including key frequencies like 700 MHz, 3.3-3.6 GHz and the coveted millimeter waves such as 26 GHz and 28 GHz that support 5G technology (but have not been agreed upon in revision 6 of ITU-R M.1036 Frequency Arrangements for Terrestrial IMT).

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has also sought fresh base prices for 4G airwave bands such as 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz, two people aware of the matter said. But with the time usually taken for the consultation process, sources say it may be tough to meet government’s auction timeline of January-February, 2022.

The reference comes at a time when the government has acknowledged that high spectrum pricing is a prime reason behind the acute financial stress in the debt-laden telecom industry, and is also open to price rationalization in public interest.

In its reference, the department has sought recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on the terms of reference for the next auction and the quantum of airwaves proposed to be auctioned, one of the persons cited told ET.

“We have received a detailed reference from DoT about 2-3 days back, seeking our recommendations on spectrum matters and pricing…there are a number of spectrum bands involved, and the Authority is currently examining the reference and will respond to the government,” Trai secretary V Raghunandan told ET. He, though, declined to share details.

Sector analysts expect the potential annual cash flow relief stemming from the four-year moratorium allowed on statutory payouts to give Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio the financial headroom to participate aggressively in the next spectrum auction. They, though, don’t expect Vodafone Idea (Vi) to participate as strongly if it’s unable to close its much delayed Rs 25,000-crore fundraise.

Another official said that Trai will need to seek additional details from the DoT, before proceeding with its analysis and starting the consultation process.

After a DoT reference, Trai conducts a process which includes a four-week period for stakeholders to submit their views after a consultation paper is floated, followed by two weeks for counter comments. Then Trai holds open-house discussions before arriving at its recommendations. The whole process usually takes about four-five to months at least.


On March 1, India concluded its first spectrum auction of 2021. India’s Department of Telecom (DoT), through a Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) issued in January 2021, had put up spectrum for auction in multiple bands, including 700, 800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2300 and 2500 MHz bands. These frequencies cut across 2G, 3G and 4G service bands and included both FDD (paired) and TDD (unpaired) bands.

The auction was a qualified success. It netted the Government $10.6 billion and was almost double initial estimates. However, barely 37% of the total spectrum put up for auction had takers, while the 700 MHz band saw no bids at all.

The main takeaway from this auction is that the focus of India’s telcos is currently on 4G, not 5G. With several licenses coming up for renewal, it was imperative that telcos bid on expiring spectrum to renew but also to consolidate with new holdings. The biggest bidders were Reliance Jio ($7.8 billion), Bharti Airtel ($2.55 billion), followed by VodafoneIDEA a distant third with bids worth $272 million.

There was heavier than expected bidding in the 800 MHz band as well as the 2300 MHz band. All of the three operators bidding have taken different approaches to this auction. The common theme for both Jio and Airtel’s auction strategies was to shore up existing spectrum, acquire new frequencies to consolidate holdings per circle and boost capacity, and lay the groundwork for an eventual 5G network launch.

For its part, Vodafone IDEA (VIL) has taken a very frugal, optimization strategy to spectrum. Their public position has been that they have abundant spectrum and therefore are not hard-pressed to bid aggressively. This is true, with VIL holding ample spectrum, but there is no doubt that they would have had very limited means due to a stressed balance sheet.


IBM and Airspan Networks launch 5G Open RAN testbeds in Europe

IBM and Airspan Networks are launching a 5G-enabled Open RAN testbed across the IBM Watson IoT Center in Munich, Germany and IBM’s Global Industry Solution Center (GISC) in Nice, France. The facility will showcase long-distance control using 5G-enabled edge computing.  The goal of developing this testbed is to help clients across Europe innovate and develop multi-vendor solutions designed to address different customer use case requirements, based on open, interoperable standards, while optimizing performance. IBM Global Business Services and Airspan plan to work together to accelerate the adoption of Open RAN technology and its ecosystem incorporating IBM’s leading global hybrid cloud and AI orchestration services. IBM Global Business Services, a leading systems integrator in the telco industry, is focused on processes, methodologies, and edge experience to deliver value and transformational projects with emerging technologies.

Marisa Viveros, VP of Strategy and Offerings, Telecom, Media and Entertainment Industry at IBM, said: “Open approaches and standards-based technologies are vital to help unleash the full potential of 5G and edge computing. That’s why, in collaboration with Airspan, we hope to work to advance emerging use cases that harness Open RAN and bring new value to telecom clients. The planned expansion of the Open RAN testbed will allow us to demonstrate these capabilities as we accelerate 5G and edge computing innovation.”

The main goal of the new testbed is to help the European telecoms industry accelerate the development of multi-vendor solutions to address specific customer needs.

“Through critical collaboration with leaders like IBM and testing in these labs, which could help accelerate the development of Open RAN and 5G solutions and the open architecture ecosystem, we believe Airspan can continue to be at the forefront of innovation and industry disruption through end-to-end Open RAN solutions,” commented Airspan Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Henrik Smith-Petersen.

Airspan will contribute its Open RAN AirVelocity 2700 indoor radio unit and virtualized Open RAN Centralized Unit (vCU) and Distributed Unit (vDU) OpenRANGE software as part of the collaboration.

IBM, for its part, will provide its Global Business Services technology integration services, Cloud Pak for Network Automation, and Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps, to help customers to more efficiently manage and orchestrate their edge cloud implementations and applications.

This year, IBM announced the Open RAN Center of Excellence in Spain to accelerate the progress of Open RAN and standards-based technologies in Europe. In May 2021, Airspan announced the opening of a 5G Innovation Lab in the UK as a showcase and demonstration facility for partners, customers and government institutions, to focus on the development of Open RAN software, 5G sub 6 GHz and mmWave indoor and outdoor equipment, and private network use cases.

IBM Global Business Services and Airspan are working toward definitive agreements detailing joint plans to accelerate the adoption of Open RAN technology and its ecosystem incorporating IBM’s leading global hybrid cloud and AI orchestration services. Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice and represent goals and objectives only.

Earlier this year, Airspan also announced plans to open a 5G Innovation Lab at its offices in Slough, UK. The lab will feature a full end-to-end 5G Open RAN solution and will be used to advance the development of the technology in addition to acting as a showcase and demonstration facility for partners, customers, and government institutions.

The UK has increased its support for Open RAN development following its decision to ban Huawei from national networks, a previously major vendor.

“We’re investing £450 million to explore how 5G can boost the economy while also building confidence and competition in this revolutionary technology,” said Matt Warman, UK Minister for Digital Infrastructure.

“Airspan’s new lab of telecoms innovators will develop cutting-edge 5G networks and help create jobs and a more secure and diverse UK telecoms supply chain.”



IBM and Airspan Networks target increased European adoption of 5G-enabled Open RAN

Equinix Partners with Nokia to Increase 5G and Edge Ecosystem Innovation

Equinix, Inc., the world’s digital infrastructure company™ [1.], today announced it has deployed a first-of-its-kind, fully functional 5G and Edge Technology Development Center which includes a fully operational,  5G NSA (non-standalone) network from Nokia to test and validate various 5G services and use cases. Equinix is investing in helping service providers and network operators bring innovative concepts to market by providing an agile production framework for assessing, incubating and testing 5G and edge solutions for end-to-end secure applications.

Note 1. Equinix’s business is Internet connection and data centers. The company is the leader in global colocation data center market share, with 229 data centers in 27 countries on five continents. The data center industry is a multibillion-dollar industry. According to Gartner, end-user spending on data center infrastructure for 2020 was $188 billion, a 10.3% decrease from 2019’s spending.


The 5G and Edge Technology Development Center—located at the Equinix DA11 International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center in Dallas—brings together select ecosystem participants to develop end-to-end edge solutions by providing a production-ready interconnection sandbox environment from the radio network to the cloud. Mobile network operators (MNOs), cloud platforms, technology vendors and enterprises come together at Equinix to test, demonstrate and accelerate complex 5G and edge scenarios—key activities that will make 5G deployments available to enterprises in the future. Equinix Fabric™ directly, securely and dynamically connects distributed infrastructure and digital ecosystems on Platform Equinix®. Customers can establish data center-to-data center network connections on demand between any two Equinix Fabric locations within a metro or globally via software-defined interconnection.

“As we look to a future where 5G is ubiquitous, the way that IP traffic moves between networks around the world will change completely, and interconnected data centers will play a crucial role in this new 5G-dominated future,” said Sean Hemphill, VP Webscale Business at Nokia. “Equinix’s approach to digital infrastructure enables access to a large ecosystem of end users and service providers. Nokia IP solutions underpin Equinix Fabric, providing seamless interconnection between its global data centers. We’re pleased that Equinix Fabric will bring the power of interconnection to help customers test real-world 5G and edge deployments.”

The Dallas-based 5G and Edge Technology Development Center will initially focus on the following use cases:

  • Mobile Hybrid Multicloud Connectivity: Assessing strategies for ensuring that 5G user traffic can reach multiple clouds and hybrid edge computing resources, effectively and efficiently.
  • Network Slicing: Aiming to facilitate private wireless enterprise networks supporting secure, predictable, end-to-end quality of experience.
  • Distributed Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Investigating the optimization of AI/ML applications and infrastructure distributed across the edge, directly connected to 5G, and interconnected to clouds for enabling data-dense capabilities, such as scene and video analytics.
  • Enablement and Orchestration of Infrastructure: Exploring optimal deployment strategies for 5G RAN, fronthaul, core and edge computing infrastructure and functions management across domains.
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality: Validating a uniform experience, consistent quality and anywhere usage with high mobility and high motion.
  • Gaming: Demonstrating responsive hosted-gaming, low-latency peripherals leveraging the metro edge for delivery.

Equinix is actively standing up novel 5G use cases. The first use case is Secure Edge from Exium, which enables highly secure, seamless multi-access edge compute functionality with tightly integrated security and network functions from the cloud, to edge locations, to the devices themselves. With Exium deployed at Equinix data centers, customers get close to on-prem performance with the benefits of cloud aggregation and also manage enterprise-grade traffic breakout in real time.

“Applications and artificial intelligence are moving to the edge, whether we’re ready or not,” said Farooq Muzaffar, COO, Exium. “As enterprises embrace digital transformation, automation and intelligence at  the edge, it’s crucial to have a partner like Equinix. The 5G and Edge Technology Development Center has been an incredible resource for us and our customers as we incubate, develop and deploy secure edge AI services with 5G access.”

The Equinix 2020-21 Global Tech Trends Survey—which surveyed 2,600 IT decision makers—uncovered a crucial need for infrastructure technology exploration in this area. While most respondents agreed that the biggest impact of 5G is the ability it gives businesses to take advantage of new technologies, more than a third worried about the need to re-architect infrastructure to take advantage of 5G capabilities.

“As companies develop new 5G technologies and services, they need a real-world environment to test and bring their concepts to life,” said Justin Dustzadeh, CTO, Equinix. “With Equinix’s rich ecosystem of service providers, partners and clouds, the 5G and Edge Technology Development Center is an ideal place to fully test their concepts in a real way, enabling them to bring new capabilities to market, accelerate adoption and deliver new revenue streams faster.”

Jim Poole, VP Business Development, Equinix added, “We’re excited to invite private enterprises, commercial organizations and researchers across industries to Dallas to test, validate and accelerate complex 5G deployments and interoperability scenarios.”

Equinix Fabric, an automated interconnection service, connects customers to more than 10,000 clouds, networks, and third-party platforms. Customers can connect a pair of Equinix Fabric locations within a metro or globally via software-defined interconnection.

The continued testing and validation phase for 5G edge computing among various vendors and operators underscores the relatively nascent nature of the technology. Equinix CEO Charles Meyers earlier this year shared muted enthusiasm for edge computing.

“I think it’s going to play out over a longer period of time than people currently anticipate,” Meyers said at the Citi 2021 Global TMT West Conference.

The expanded effort with Nokia also follows Equinix’s edge strategy, which Meyers described at the time as a largely partner-driven approach wherein other companies provide “far edge real estate” that will require and benefit from interconnection and access back into Equinix’s services.

Additional Resources

About Equinix:
Equinix (Nasdaq: EQIX) is the world’s digital infrastructure company, enabling digital leaders to harness a trusted platform to bring together and interconnect the foundational infrastructure that powers their success. Equinix enables today’s businesses to access all the right places, partners, and possibilities they need to accelerate advantage. With Equinix, they can scale with agility, speed the launch of digital services, deliver world-class experiences, and multiply their value.


IBM will build Telefónica’s 5G core network with Cloud Pak for Network Automation, Red Hat OpenShift and Juniper networking

IBM has been awarded a multi-year contract to help Telefonica build its new ‘Unica Next’ cloud-based 5G core network platform. In a statement, IBM said the Spanish operator has engaged IBM Global Business Services – the consultancy arm of IBM, Red Hat and Juniper Networks – to deploy an “open-standard open-networking” platform across multiple central, regional and distributed data centers to deliver low latency and high bandwidth services.

As a member of the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications ecosystem, Juniper is proud to support IBM and Red Hat as they work with Telefónica to build and deploy a modern 5G network. Juniper says it is committed to bringing the power of open hybrid cloud architecture to clients around the world.

The partners said the first Unica Next data centers are set to be inaugurated in October 2021 with a scalable architecture designed to address ETSI and other relevant industry standards (there are none for 5G SA core network). The new network is built on IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation, Red Hat OpenShift and Juniper Networks Apstra and QFX technology to deliver end-to-end orchestration and operations.

These new capabilities will be engineered to allow Telefónica to more quickly deploy network services and new network functions, leveraging the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications partner ecosystem. Telefónica, as a pioneer in the adoption of open networks, has already deployed a live implementation using the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications in Europe and is continuing to innovate for their customers with speed and improved value.

IBM added that the combination will give Telefonica increased observability and control for managing the Unica Next Kubernetes environment and drive 5G and edge innovation more quickly and with less complexity. Its IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation product is AI-powered automation software designed to provide extreme automation, zero-touch provisioning and closed loop operation capabilities.

“We are proud to partner with Telefónica to reach this historic moment for the telecommunications industry in Europe,” said Steve Canepa, managing director, IBM Global Communications Sector. “This implementation of Telefónica’s cloud-native, 5G core network platform reflects IBM’s significant investments in AI-powered automation software and the telco prime systems integration expertise required to deploy modern telecommunication networks – core, access, and edge.  We are energized by the opportunity to enable Telefónica and all our clients to modernize their networks and enable new revenue-generating services that deliver tremendous value to consumer and enterprise customers.”

IBM Global Telco Solutions Lab in Coppell, Texas, connected along with Telefónica’s Network Cloud Lab in Madrid, will help accelerate UNICA Next’s evolution by building new fully integrated releases using CI/CD methodology for ongoing life-cycle upgrades to the existing UNICA Next platform. By working with IBM in this way, Telefónica will be able to increase agility and data security and continue to innovate and transform, drawing on IBM’s large network function ecosystem, Red Hat’s vast ecosystem of certified partners, and Juniper’s relationships with network function and hardware vendors.

Telefonica has already deployed a live implementation of the open network using the IBM cloud for telecommunications in Europe. The partners also announced that IBM Global Telco Solutions Lab in Coppell, Texas, will be connected to Telefonica’s Network Cloud Lab in Madrid to help accelerate Unica Next’s evolution by building new fully integrated releases using CI/CD methodology for ongoing life-cycle upgrades.

“Building out the UNICA Next platform with its next-generation network architecture shows how important it is to build the infrastructure now to support the deployment of 5G. 5G has the potential to support thousands of use cases and applications for consumers and enterprises in all industries. Our collaboration will not only help us to harness the potential of 5G, but also prepare for the future through a hybrid-cloud led technology and business transformation. With IBM, Telefónica is combining the latency and bandwidth advancements of 5G with the customization and intelligence of the cloud: we anticipate the results will be transformative in Europe and beyond,” said Javier Gutierrez, director of strategy, network, and IT development for Telefónica.

It’s interesting that last year, Telefónica Germany said it would build it’s 5G core network on AWS for the public cloud infrastructure and Ericsson for the core and orchestration components.


Telefónica Germany builds 5G core network on AWS to capture Industry 4.0 market

Fastest ISPs in the US: Google Fiber, Verizon Fios, MetroNet, Cox, and Xfinity analyzed over 3.6 million speed tests from their speed test tool (from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021) to determine the fastest internet providers across the US, according to their average download speed.

The firm found that these are the fastest internet providers in the U.S. (according to average download speeds from their speed test):

1. Google Fiber (average download speed of 160.5 Mbps)

2. Verizon (138.0 Mbps)

3. MetroNet (135.2 Mbps)

4. Cox (134.5 Mbps)

5. Xfinity (131.6 Mbps)

Google Fiber (very limited availability) has the fastest average internet speeds in the U.S., followed closely by Verizon Fios. These two fiber internet providers have impressive download speeds, upload speeds, and ping rates.

MetroNet, Cox, and Xfinity (Comcast) also average respectable speeds. Like Google Fiber and Verizon, MetroNet is a fiber internet provider, so it can give equal upload and download speeds. Cox and Xfinity, on the other hand, give customers slower upload speeds than download speeds—17.6 Mbps and 13.9 Mbps, respectively.


IMT towards 2030 and beyond (“6G”): Technologies for ubiquitous computing and data services

From emerging IMT towards 2030 and beyond use cases such as digital twin, cyber-physical systems, mixed reality, industrial/service robots, the following technology trends can be observed:

  • There is a need to process data at the network edge for real-time response, low transport cost, and privacy protection.

  • There is need to scale out device computing capability beyond its physical limitations for advanced application computing workloads.

  • The ubiquity of AI needs ubiquitous computing and data resources.

These new technology trends bring in new technology issues on scalability, dynamic workload distribution, data collection/management/sharing:

  • Scalability – In today’s cloud computing, computing resource are often centralized in a few national or regional data centers. Centralized service discovery and orchestration mechanisms used are given full visibility on computing resources and services in the data centers. When computing resources and services become more widely distributed, the centralized approach is no longer scalable; a more scalable approach is needed for widely distributed computing resources.

  • Dynamic computing workload distribution – Today’s workload distribution between devices and the cloud is based on client-server model with a fixed workload partition between the client and the cloud. The fixed workload partition is application specific and is pre-determined in the application development phase. Such a fixed workload partition is based on the assumption that there are always sufficient computing resources in the cloud to fulfil the server-side workload. Moving forward, as computing resources become distributed, the assumption of unlimited server-side computing resource would likely no longer hold so there needs to be a scheme that allows dynamic device computing scaling out based on conditions such as workload requirements, communication and computing resource availability, etc. To minimize the impact on applications, dynamic computing scaling scheme should be enabled as an IMT system capability with minimal dependency on applications.

  • Data collection, processing, management and sharing – With the widespread application of AI in society/industry, a systematic approach in collecting, processing, management and sharing data to facilitate AI/Machine Learning becomes very important. The conventional data management functions in cellular networks focus on managing subscription information and policies. In IMT-2020, driven by the use of AI tools for network optimization and automation, a network data analytics function (NWDAF) was added into the specifications through which network functions’ measurement data can be collected and used for analytics. Future IMT towards 2030 and beyond are anticipated to have further diversification on data sources, types and consumptions, so it is expected that data plane functions will be part of the IMT system function from the beginning and can support full-blown data services to devices, network functions and applications.

To address the above-mentioned challenges, computing services and data services are expected to become an integral component of the future IMT system. Ubiquitous computing and data services can be enabled alongside the ubiquitous connectivity as integral services of the IMT system. Dynamic computing workload distribution can be inherently supported as an IMT system capability. Applications can use the IMT system’s workload distribution and scaling capability to achieve optimized performance. Data plane services in the IMT system such as data collection, processing, management and sharing can be enabled to support AI needs in air interface, cellular network and applications.

Source: Intel contribution to ITU WP5D: “Further development of working document towards preliminary draft new Report on future technology trends”  Sept 21, 2021

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Reason magazine: How Internet Access Is Changing Cuba; Project Loon revisited?

IN JULY, thousands of Cubans in dozens of cities took to the streets to protest the island nation’s Communist dictatorship and chronic shortages in food, energy, and medicine, all of which have been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.  These were the biggest anti-government demonstrations in Cuba in decades. They were enabled by social media and the internet, which came to Cuba in a big way only in late 2018, when President Miguel Diaz-Canel allowed citizens access to data plans on their cellphones.

To better understand exactly how FacebookYouTube, WhatsApp, and other online platforms are connecting the Cuban people and under-mining state control, Reason’s Nick Gillespie spoke with Ted Henken, who teaches sociology and Latin American studies at City University of New York’s Baruch College and is the co-editor of Cuba’s Digital Revolution (University Press of Florida).

Q: How did the internet come to Cuba?

A: You basically had a period in the ’90s when Cuba was actually pretty advanced in the region in terms of its networking and internet, but Fidel [Castro] called it “a wild colt that needed to be tamed.” They saw it as a mortal threat because it undermined monopoly information control, which is one of the fundamental hallmarks of the Cuban system.

When Raul Castro became president in 2008 and gradually thereafter, Cubans started getting very gradually online. They started getting cellphones. They started to be able to buy and use laptop computers. Internet grew from 3 percent connectivity in about 2008 to 15 or 20 percent by around 2015, enabled partly by the government rollout of internet cafes. The next big thing was that Cubans got Wi-Fi hot spots, set up largely in public parks.

Q: Why did Cuba eventually allow people to use mobile internet on their phones?

A: Because of accumulated pressure and demand. But the other reason is that Cuba is in constant economic crisis. It’s inefficient. It’s unproductive. The system is totally lacking in incentive structures. So the government sees internet access as a cash cow, because it is the sole internet provider through its telecom monopoly.

Q: The demonstrations you documented online weren’t just happening in Havana, right?

A: Exactly. This is what’s unprecedented about them. Even if one of these had happened, it would be quite surprising in Cuba. But the fact that they happened simultaneously and probably between 30 and 50 places around the country is amazing.

Q: What are the ways in which people are using the internet to either protest or share images of protests?

A: You can kind of break the apps that Cubans use in terms of what we’re talking about into two groups: ones that allow horizontal, encrypted, private communication, and others that are broadcast media. FacebookInstagram, and Twitter are the go-to apps to share with the world what’s going on, including live broadcast in Cuba. A fourth channel is, of course, YouTube. Interestingly enough, President Diaz-Canel angrily gave YouTube an endorsement when he blamed [the protests] on these irresponsible, mercenary YouTubers and influencers.

Q: If you’re doing something on Facebook or YouTube, you are totally public. The government knows exactly who you are.

A: Exactly. That’s been a change over the last, let’s say, 15 years. One of the things they were chanting in the street was, “We’re not afraid.”

A key part of the control in Cuba is keeping people afraid, keeping them isolated from one another and not realizing that other people share their concerns or their complaints, and keeping them afraid of sticking their head up and getting it chopped off. The internet has helped mitigate both of those, because they see other people who share their concerns. And then that helps them lose their fear.

So there’s a lot of people who are out of the political closet, so to speak, in Cuba, who say the same thing in public as they would say in private.

This interview has been condensed and edited for style and clarity. For a podcast version, subscribe to The Reason Interview With Nick Gillespie.

Source: Reason November 2021 issue


“Internet access for the Cuban people is of critical importance as they stand up against the repressive Communist government,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, wrote in a letter to the White House earlier this month, urging President Joe Biden to provide “all necessary authorizations, indemnifications, and funding to American businesses” to get Cubans back online. He noted that the crackdown on internet access in Cuba has left many Floridians without the ability to communicate with loved ones on the island.

DeSantis has become one of the leading advocates, along with Reps. Maria Salazar (R–Fla.) and Carlos Gimenez (R–Fla.), both of whom are Cuban-American, for a radical plan to beam mobile internet service into Cuba from balloons anchored offshore that would effectively serve as temporary cell towers. It’s an idea that would rely on the technological know-how of Google and the diplomatic might of the United States—and even then it might be of limited value. But it might, as DeSantis put it in his letter to Biden, also be “the key to finally bringing democracy to the island” without the need for military intervention.

The diplomatic and political dynamics are actually more straightforward than they might appear. There are plenty of precedents for beaming signals across international borders against the wishes of a domestic government. Radio Free Europe is probably the most famous example, but the better comparison here is Radio Televisión Martí, run by the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which has broadcast news into Cuba since the 1980s. Clearly, the U.S. has no qualms about whatever international laws it might be violating by sending television signals into Cuba against the Cuban regime’s wishes. Sending mobile internet signals is a difference of degree—a slightly different wavelength of light—but should not require a total overhaul of U.S. policy toward Cuba.

“It is time to build on [the Radio Televisión Martí] model and include the delivery of Internet service,” argues Brandon Carr, one of the five commissioners in charge of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Still, due to the diplomatic issues involved, any effort to beam internet into Cuba would have to be cleared by the White House. Earlier this month, press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration was “actively pursuing measures” to “make the internet more accessible to the Cuban people.”

It’s not a slam dunk, of course. Signals could be jammed by the Cuban government, which already tries to block Radio Televisión Martí as much as possible. Many Cubans’ cell phones might not be able to connect due to differences in network protocols. And whatever connectivity is possible will be slow and spotty, at least by American standards.

But it may be worth making the attempt anyway, particularly since the technology already exists and could be deployed for minimal cost. There’s little to lose, and much that could be gained—not just in Cuba, but in other fights against tyrannical regimes.

“Internet shutdowns are increasingly becoming a tool of tyranny for authoritarian regimes across the globe,” says Carr. “America must stand against this anti-democratic tactic and move with haste to provide internet freedom to the Cuban people.”

The Case for Beaming Internet Into Cuba

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