by Stéphane Téral, Chief Analyst at LightCounting Market Research
3Q22 was almost a carbon copy of 2Q22, which signals that the 5G-driven wireless infrastructure market is reaching its peak as the first wave of 5G rollouts wane.
Global uncertainties, lingering supply chain constraints, and forex headwinds contributed to another soft 3Q22 that followed an already sluggish 1H22. In the meantime, the wireless infrastructure market continued to operate at its equilibrium reached in 2021: the 2 opposite spheres of influence, the East led by China versus the West defined as the U.S. and its allies, are becoming more balanced.
We found that the West accounted for 50.5% of the global wireless infrastructure market while the East made up for the rest, with China accounting for more than 80% of the East.
|Historical data accounts for sales of the following vendors:|
|Vendor||Segments||Source of Information|
|Affirmed Networks (acquired by Microsoft, April 2020)||vEPC, 5GC||Estimates|
|Altiostar||vRAN (CU, DU)||Estimates|
|ASOCS||vRAN (DU)||None, supplies other RAN/vRAN vendors|
|Baicell||RAN (RU)||None, supplies other RAN/vRAN vendors|
|Benetel||Open RAN (RU)||None, supplies other RAN/vRAN vendors|
|Cisco||EPC, vEPC, 5GC||Survey data and estimates|
|China Information and Communication Technologies Group (CICT)||RAN||Estimates|
|Comba Telecom||RAN/vRAN (RU)||None, supplies other RAN/vRAN vendors|
|CommScope (acquired Phluido vRAN patents, October 2020)||vRAN (RU, DU)||Estimates|
|Dell||vRAN (DU)||None, supplies other RAN/vRAN vendors|
|Ericsson||RAN, vRAN, 2/3G Core, EPC, vEPC, 5GC||Estimates|
|Fairwaves||RAN/vRAN (RU)||None, supplies other RAN/vRAN vendors|
|Fujitsu||RAN||Survey data and estimates|
|HPE||2G/3G core, 5GC||Estimates|
|Huawei||RAN, vRAN, 2/3G Core, EPC, vEPC, 5GC||Survey data and estimates|
|KMW||RAN/vRAN (RU)||None, supplies other RAN/vRAN vendors|
|Kontron||vRAN (DU)||None, supplies other RAN/vRAN vendors|
|Mavenir (acquired ip.access, September 2020)||vEPC, vRAN, 5GC||Survey data and estimates|
|Metaswitch (acquired by Microsoft, May 2020)||5GC, vEPC and 2G/3G core||Estimates|
|MTI Mobile||vRAN (RU)||None, supplies other RAN/vRAN vendors|
|Node-H||vRAN (small cells)||Estimates|
|Nokia||RAN, vRAN, 2/3G Core, EPC, vEPC, 5GC||Survey data and estimates|
|NEC (including Blue Danube)||RAN, vRAN (RU), EPC, 5GC||Survey data and estimates|
|Parallel Wireless||vRAN (CU, DU)||Estimates|
|Pivotal||RAN/vRAN (RU/mmWave repeater)||Estimates|
|Quanta Cloud Technology (QCT)||vRAN (DU)||None, supplies other RAN/vRAN vendors|
|Ribbon Communications||2G/3G core||Survey data and estimates|
|Samsung||RAN, vRAN, vEPC, 5GC||Estimates|
|Silicom||Open RAN (DU)||None, supplies other RAN/vRAN vendors|
|SuperMicro Computer||vRAN (DU)||None, supplies other RAN/vRAN vendors|
|Verana Networks||RAN/vRAN (RU/mmWave)||Estimates|
|ZTE||RAN, vRAN, 2/3G Core, EPC, vEPC, 5GC||Survey data and estimates|
Verizon is the last of the Big 3 wireless carriers in the U.S. to shut down its 3G network and repurpose the spectrum for newer technology. AT&T was first, shutting its 3G network down in February. T-Mobile’s shuttered its 3G network over the summer but probably drew the most attention with the decommissioning of Sprint’s old 3G CDMA network earlier this year because it created such a big impact for Dish Network, its Ting Mobile and Boost Mobile customers.
Personal Note: After T-Mobile shut down Sprint’s 3G network, this author’s Samsung Galaxy A50 phone did not work with T-Mobile’s 4G-LTE network, even though Samsung claims it’s compatible with 4G-LTE. Currently, I don’t have mobile Internet access via Ting/Dish Network/T-Mobile service! I also can’t receive incoming cellular calls which go directly to voice mail even though call forwarding is disabled!
Verizon is telling customers that if they’re still using a 3G CDMA or 4G (non-VoLTE) phone that does not support its newer network technologies, “your line will be suspended without billing and will lose the ability to call, text, or use data.”
initially said it was closing its 3G network in 2019. Then they extended it to the end of 2020 and finally, to the end of 2022. In March 2021, Verizon made it clear they were sticking with the 2022 end date and advised customers still accessing the 3G network that they may experience a degradation or complete loss of service.
Earlier this year, the Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC) tried unsuccessfully to get AT&T to delay its 3G network shutdown, citing pandemic-related chip shortages, supply chain issues and labor shortages that meant they couldn’t make necessary upgrades. The group has not made those kinds of demands of Verizon, but AT&T also boasts a larger contingent of alarm connectivity customers.
Schulz said that in addition to migrating 3G devices onto 4G LTE or 5G, Verizon developed migration plans with most of its business customers to ensure any 3G devices they have in vehicles and equipment have been migrated to 4G LTE or 5G.
Verizon sent a letter to customers which states:
“Starting the day before your December 2022 bill cycle begins, if you are a Verizon customer using a 3G CDMA or 4G phone device that does not support our newer network technologies, your line will be suspended without billing and will lose the ability to call, text, or use data.”
Until January 1, 2023, impacted phones will still be able to make 911 emergency calls and calls to Verizon Customer Service (at 611) while the line is suspended, the letter says, adding: “Starting the day before your February 2023 bill cycle begins, any remaining impacted lines that are still suspended without billing will be disconnected.”
For those customers who didn’t get letters or don’t read them, they could be in for a surprise.
Silicon photonics continues to progress but is yet to be adopted for high-performance computing and server architectures, according to market research firm Light Counting.
However, the Super Compute 2022 (SC22) conference hosted two silicon photonics firsts:
- Professor Keren Bergman of Columbia University reported a working 5Tbit/s transmitter optical chiplet implemented using 80 channels and 3D packaging. The accompanying receiver chip is working and is being lab-tested.
- Ayar Labs demonstrated its 2Tbit/s TeraPHY chiplet in an end-to-end link, sending and receiving data.
During the panel discussion on high-performance computing and silicon photonics, Intel’s Fabrizio Petrini addressed head-on why optics had such a low profile at the show. “The reality is there is a lot of skepticism about this technology. The adoption is not going to happen anytime soon,” he said.
Systems designers don’t see the implications until they embrace this technology. But factors are aligning for change, and a transition point is being approached in how systems are built, he says; the implications for systems and disaggregation are enormous.
Optical switching is another technology that has been on the fringes of the market for decades. It was all the rage from 1998-2001, but then fizzled out as there weren’t any large scale commercial deployments of photonic switches.
LightCounting reported in August that Google had been using photonic circuit switching in its cloud resident data centers for several years. The 136×136 port optical circuit switch is Google’s own design.
At SC22, a start-up, Drut Technologies, demonstrated its interface card working with a photonic switch at the top of a SuperMicro server rack. The system allows the server’s CPUs to dynamically configure the resources they need (memory, GPUs) tailored for workloads.
Samsung Electronics announced the company is supplying a variety of 5G radios to support NTT DOCOMO’s Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) expansion. Samsung will now provide a range of Open RAN-compliant 5G radios covering all of the Time Division Duplex (TDD) spectrum bands held by the operator.
This builds upon the two companies’ 5G agreement previously-announced in March 2021, in which NTT DOCOMO selected Samsung as its 5G network solutions provider. Samsung now adds new radios — including 3.7GHz, 4.5GHz and 28GHz — to its existing 3.4GHz radio support for NTT DOCOMO.
This expanded portfolio from Samsung will enable NTT DOCOMO to leverage its broad range of spectrum across Japan to build a versatile 5G network for diversifying their services offered to consumers and businesses. The companies have also been testing the interoperability of these new radios with basebands from various vendors in NTT DOCOMO’s commercial network environment.
“We have been collaborating with Samsung since the beginning of 5G and through our Open RAN expansion, and we are excited to continue extending our scope of vision together,” said Masafumi Masuda, Vice President and General Manager of the Radio Access Network Development Department at NTT DOCOMO. “Solidifying our global leadership, we will continue to build momentum around our Open RAN innovation and to provide highly scalable and flexible networks to respond quickly to the evolving demands of our customers.”
“Japan is home to one of the world’s most densely populated areas with numerous skyscrapers and complex infrastructure. Samsung’s industry-leading 5G radios portfolio meets the demands of low-footprint, low-weight solutions, while also ensuring reliable service quality,” said Satoshi Iwao, Vice President and Head of Network Division at Samsung Electronics Japan. “As NTT DOCOMO continues to accelerate its Open RAN innovation, we look forward to working together to deliver a richer experience to consumers and generating new business opportunities.”
With this announcement, Samsung introduces its new 28GHz Radio Unit (RU) for the first time — as a new addition to its portfolio of leading mmWave solutions. This RU, which weighs less than 4.5kg (~10lbs), features a light and compact form factor with very low power consumption, enabling flexible deployments in various scenarios. Additionally, Samsung’s 3.4GHz, 3.7GHz and 4.5GHz radios are also Open RAN-compliant and designed to deliver high performance and reliability.
Last month, Samsung won a contract with NTT East to provide cloud-native 5G core and RAN equipment to the provider’s private 5G network platform. That deal followed on an agreement earlier this year for Samsung to power the operator’s private 5G network services in the east areas of Japan, and followed trials of Samsung’s 5G standalone (SA) network core in test environments.
Samsung also secured a deal with Comcast to activate the cable giant’s deep spectrum holdings and become an infrastructure-owning 5G cellular operator targeting market heavyweights Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile US. Comcast will use Samsung’s 5G RAN equipment for its Xfinity Mobile service, including a newly developed 5G Strand Small Cell that is designed to be mounted on Comcast’s existing aerial cable lines. This all-in-one piece of equipment is central to the deployment as it will allow Comcast to mount cellular antennas where it’s already running cable connections for wireless backhaul.
A recent Dell’Oro Group report noted the vendor has been gaining RAN market share at the expense of its China-based rivals Huawei and ZTE outside of their home country. This could accelerate as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission adopted new rules prohibiting domestic telecommunication operators from acquiring and using networking and other equipment from China-based vendors, including Huawei.
“While commercial Open RAN revenues continue to surprise on the upside, the underlying message that we have communicated now for some time now has not changed and remains mixed,” said Stefan Pongratz, Vice President with the Dell’Oro Group. “Early adopters are embracing the movement towards more openness but at the same time, there is more uncertainty when it comes to the early majority operator and the implications for the broader RAN supplier landscape now with non-multi vendor deployments driving a significant portion of the year-to-date Open RAN market,” continued Pongratz.
Additional Open RAN highlights from the Dell’Oro’s 3Q 2022 RAN report:
- Top 4 Open RAN revenue suppliers for the 1Q22-3Q22 period include Samsung, Fujitsu, NEC, and Mavenir.
- Trials are on the rise globally, however, North America and the Asia Pacific regions are still dominating the commercial revenue mix over the 1Q22-3Q22 period, accounting for more than 95 percent of the market.
- More than 80 percent of the year-to-date growth is driven by the North America region, supported by large scale non-Massive MIMO and Massive MIMO macro deployments.
- The rise of Open RAN has so far had a limited impact on the broader RAN (proprietary and Open RAN) market concentration. The data contained in the report suggest that the collective RAN share of the top 5 RAN suppliers (Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE, and Samsung) declined by less than one percentage point between 2021 and 1Q22-3Q22.
- Short-term projections have been revised upward to reflect the higher baseline – Open RAN is now projected to account for 6 to 10 percent of the RAN market in 2023. Open RAN growth rates, however, are expected to decelerate next year, reflecting the likelihood that the sum of new brownfield deployments will be able to offset more challenging comparisons with the early adopters.
Samsung says they have pioneered the successful delivery of 5G end-to-end solutions including chipsets, radios and core. Through ongoing research and development, Samsung drives the industry to advance 5G networks with its market-leading product portfolio from virtualized RAN and Core to private network solutions and AI-powered automation tools. The company is currently providing network solutions to mobile operators that deliver connectivity to hundreds of millions of users around the world.
NTT DOCOMO began commercial 5G services in early 2020, and included open RAN-compliant equipment provided by Fujitsu, NEC, and Nokia. The carrier more recently signed a partnership with South Korea’s SK Telecom (SKT) to develop new 5G and 6G cellular technologies and deployment plans taking advantage of open and virtualized RAN (vRAN) technology.
NTT DOCOMO is Japan’s leading mobile operator with over 85 million subscriptions, is one of the world’s foremost contributors to 3G, 4G and 5G mobile network technologies. Beyond core communications services, DOCOMO is challenging new frontiers in collaboration with a growing number of entities (“+d” partners), creating exciting and convenient value-added services that change the way people live and work. Under a medium-term plan toward 2020 and beyond, DOCOMO is pioneering a leading-edge 5G network to facilitate innovative services.
According to Ericsson, total global FWA [1.] subscriptions will grow at 19 percent year-on-year during the 2022 to 2028 period to reach more than 300 million by 2028, the vast majority of which will be based on 5G.
Note 1. FWA is a connection that provides primary broadband access through mobile network-enabled customer premises equipment (CPE). This includes various form factors of CPE, such as indoor (desktop and window) and outdoor (rooftop and wall-mounted). It does not include portable battery-based Wi-Fi routers or dongles.
The use of FWA for home and even business broadband is proving to be a major early use case for 5G, especially in regions where the fixed broadband market is lacking. FWA growth is in part driven by India and will also come in other emerging markets. Its data shows that almost 40 percent of 5G FWA launches came in emerging markets in the past year, with services now on offer in densely populated countries like Mexico, South Africa and the Philippines.
- More than three-quarters of service providers surveyed in over 100 countries are now offering Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services.
- Nearly one-third of service providers now offer FWA over 5G, compared to one-fifth a year ago.
- The number of 5G FWA connections are expected to grow to around 235 million by 2028, representing almost 80 percent of the total FWA connections.
“Following the 5G spectrum auction in India in July, a major service provider has expressed a goal to serve 100 million homes and millions of businesses with 5G FWA services,” Ericsson stated. 5G has only just come to market in India; its big operators launched services in early October. But operators are rolling out the technology at pace and with the price of 5G smartphones coming down, customer numbers will go up. 5G subscriptions in the India region – which includes Nepal and Bhutan – should reach 31 million by the end of this year and 690 million by end-2028, accounting for more than half of all mobile subscriptions – 1.3 billion – by that date.
“Higher volumes of 5G FWA in large high-growth countries such as India have the potential to drive economies of scale for the overall 5G FWA ecosystem, resulting in affordable CPE that will have a positive impact across low-income markets,” Ericsson added.
Globally, 5G subscriptions will hit 5 billion by the end of 2028, Ericsson predicts, despite the economic challenges much of the world is facing.
Service providers together added 110 million 5G subscriptions in the July-September period, bringing the worldwide total to around 870 million. With that sort of uptake, the 1 billion by year-end figure looks comfortably attainable, and will come two years earlier than the same milestone following the launch of 4G. Growth is being driven by device availability, falling prices and large-scale deployments in China, Ericsson said.
Ericsson added that North East Asia as a whole and North America are witnessing strong 5G growth, with penetration in those markets likely to reach around the 35 percent mark by the end of this year. Given that the world’s first 5G launches came in the US and in Korea back in 2019, it makes sense that those areas are leading the way in terms of uptake.
Juniper Research: 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) to Generate $2.5 Billion in Global Network Operator Revenue by 2023
Verizon Business, today announced a global Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) partnership with Wipro Limited, an India based technology services and consulting company, that will accelerate the network modernization and cloud transformation journey for businesses. Wipro’s Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) solution, powered by Verizon Business will include a range of pre-configured and tested service chains on a subscription-based consumption model, designed to drive network consumption infrastructure on demand. The multi-year partnership will enable Wipro to transition customers from legacy cycles of deploying hardware, applications and services to an automated, self-healing, and highly secure network service environment.
Massimo Peselli, Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, Global Enterprise and Public Sector for Verizon Business said: “Many organizations want to get out of endless technology refresh cycles but they face the twin challenges of traditional hardware and fixed infrastructures. Our partnership with Wipro will enable businesses to future-proof their network in a manner that is more flexible, agile and predictive, centered around their specific needs.”
“This is a network-as-a-service partnership that includes managed services, hardware and security for the global market,” said Sowmyanarayan Sampath, executive vice president and CEO of Verizon Business. “The bulk of Wipro’s customers are global, and the system integrator caters to industry verticals such as retail and energy with a strong value system. We have a logical go-to-market strategy,” Sampath added.
A recent IDC survey of over 400 technology-buying decision makers across the globe revealed that 69% of respondents are planning a network transformation investment in the next 12 months. NaaS has increasingly begun challenging legacy commercial models that require large upfront capital costs by providing more flexible, subscription-based services that can more easily be modified as needs change. The technology has accelerated the implementation of new digital technologies such as AI/ML, 5G, IoT, advanced robotics, blockchain, AR/VR, and voice-assistance.
Jo Debecker, Senior Vice President & Global Head, Cloud and Infrastructure Services, Wipro Limited commented: “Our joint NaaS offering brings together two industry leaders to drive this unique value proposition that will help our customers keep pace with changing demands of the cloud and network infrastructure while achieving operational efficiencies and agility at scale.”
Today’s agreement brings together two network industry leaders.
- Verizon has been named a Leader in Gartner® Magic Quadrant Network Services, Global for the last 16 years and manages more than 4,300 networks globally.
- Wipro is a Leader in Gartner® Magic Quadrant for Managed Network Services and manages over 500+ Network and data center facilities across geographies and different industries.
India Telecom industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has reiterated that over-the-top (OTT) players should pay telcos for using their network. The payment can be done directly to the telecom firms on mutually agreed terms and in case a mutual agreement is not reached, an appropriate licensing and regulatory framework should be formed which governs the contribution of OTT players towards creation of network infrastructure.
The association has highlighted that globally, the desirability of OTTs making a “fair contribution” to network costs of telecom firms has gained momentum. For instance, the European Commission (EU) is advocating for formalizing due legislation for OTT players to share the network investment burden of the telecom players in a proportionate manner.
The EU continues to express concern that there are big tech companies who generate a lot of data traffic but do not invest towards building infrastructure. The governments of France, Italy and Spain sent a joint paper to the European commission in August 2022, requesting for the swift development of a legislative proposal in this regard. Similar sentiments have been expressed by representatives of the US regulator FCC and in Australia, a world-first law was passed in Feb 2022, aimed at making tech giants pay for news content on their digital platforms, COAI said.
“We wish to submit that any entity which creates a property or infrastructure by investing funds, is entitled to take usage charges (rent /lease charges, etc.) from the user of that property or infrastructure who uses the same for commercial purposes,” COAI said in a letter to India’s Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman.
Further, the association stressed that the government needs to provide a legal framework and empowerment for enabling such entity to charge any user that uses its service/infrastructure on a reasonable basis. The telecom body had demanded the same thing while submitting its comments on the draft telecom bill to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), which is currently working on a revised draft of the bill. The COAI has suggested a few methods that can be used for making such payments. As per COAI, OTT players can pay telecom firms by way of an equivalent of “usage charge” for the actual traffic carried by these OTTs on telcos’ network which can be easily measured. The usage charge is to be mutually agreed between the telecom firms and OTT players and paid directly to the telcos. The definition of the “usage charge” may be clearly mentioned in the Telecom Bill itself.
“If a mutual agreement is not reached, then an appropriate licensing and regulatory framework should be in place which governs the contribution of OTT players towards creation of network infrastructure,” COAI said. Please refer to this video for more details on the proposed Telecom Bill.
In February, four major European telcos are demanding legislation at European Union level to force the platforms, aka Big Tech, over-the-top (OTT) providers or hyperscalers, to pay their fair share of network investments. Timotheus Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom (DT), Stéphane Richard, outgoing chairman and CEO of Orange, José María Álvarez-Pallete, chairman and CEO of Telefónica and Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone, penned a joint statement saying the current situation is simply not sustainable.
Citing the Sandvine Global Internet Phenomena Report from January 2022, they point out that video streaming, gaming and social media “originated by a few digital content platforms” accounts for over 70% of all traffic running over the networks.
“The investment burden must be shared in a more proportionate way,” the four CEOs insist. “Digital platforms are profiting from hyper scaling business models at little cost while network operators shoulder the required investments in connectivity. At the same time our retail markets are in perpetual decline in terms of profitability.”
They also warn that Europe risks falling behind other regions of the world if it does not take steps now, “ultimately degrading the quality of experience for all consumers.”
While the CEOs of DT, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone have taken heart from recent commitments by the European Commission to ensure that all market players make a “fair and proportionate contribution” to infrastructure costs, they want legislators “to introduce rules at EU level to make this principle a reality.”
“The clock is ticking loudly, particularly given the huge investments still required to achieve the connectivity targets for 2030 set by the European Commission in its Communication on the European Digital Decade. Without an equitable solution, we will not get there,” the statement concluded.
Vodafone-UK has opened a new Edge Innovation Lab in MediaCity, Salford – the first of its kind in the UK. The lab will support the development of Manchester, and the surrounding region, into a Northern digital powerhouse, according to the company. The lab will give enterprises in the region an opportunity to trial new use cases that rely on real-time connectivity.
In addition to equipping the lab with dedicated MEC servers, Vodafone has also partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to deploy a distributed MEC zone in Manchester, which will presumably give enterprises a taste of what ‘real-world’ performance might look like. Voda has also roped in IBM’s IT spin-off Kyndryl to offer customers professional and managed MEC and cloud services.
Spending on edge-related hardware, software and services is expected to reach $176 billion worldwide this year, according to IDC, rising to $274 billion by 2025. With figures like this doing the rounds, it’s little wonder that Vodafone is keen to get enterprise customers to buy into the concept.
“The lab offers innovators the opportunity to experiment with next-generation technologies and bring to life ideas that could revolutionise the way we do business and deliver public services,” said Nick Gliddon, UK business director at Vodafone, in a statement. “It will place Manchester and the surrounding region at the centre of the next stage of digital revolution.”
MEC technology enables real time data processing at the network edge, allowing for the creation of low latency services that would not be possible on today’s traditional network infrastructure. This offers innovators in the Greater Manchester area an opportunity to be at the forefront of next generation digital services.
By installing specialist servers either in Vodafone or customer facilities, applications are able to respond to command significantly faster. This time applications take to respond, known as latency, is a barrier for next generation innovations that require almost instantaneous reactions, or are powered by artificial intelligence. When combined with 5G, latency could be reduced to speeds faster than the human brain processes information.
Use cases enabled by MEC include autonomous vehicles, autonomous operations in factories, immersive augmented and virtual reality, remote medicine, cloud gaming and drone transport.
Vodafone has deployed Dedicated MEC servers at the Edge Innovation Lab and has launched a Distributed MEC zone in the Manchester area in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), as part of their AWS Wavelength Zone infrastructure. Vodafone will also showcase Mixed Reality and Visual Inspection services at the lab. Vodafone has partnered with Kyndryl to offer customers professional and managed services for dedicated MEC and wider cloud-managed services to Vodafone customers.
Tosca Colangeli, president, Kyndryl UK&I, said: “We are excited, as part of our strategic partnership with Vodafone, to be supporting the Edge Innovation Lab in Salford and to use the facility as inspiration and co-creation for our joint customer engagements.
“We expect edge technologies to increasingly become an enabler of business outcomes, allowing end users – and machines – and industries including manufacturing, energy and retail, to reap the benefits of traditional cloud computing while gaining advantages such as reduced data latency, better data autonomy and enhanced security.”
This builds on Vodafone’s four-year partnership with HOST in MediaCity, where the lab will be located.
Opinion —Nick Wood of telecoms.com wrote:
Barely a day goes by at the moment without someone opening a lab somewhere.
- Monday saw Nokia cut the ribbon on a 5G and 6G research facility at its campus in Amadora, Portugal. Its focus is software, specifically embedded and real-time software. It wants to employ 100 staff over the next two years.
- Last Tuesday, Ericsson revealed plans to spend tens of millions of pounds over the course of the next decade on a UK-based 6G research programme. A team of researchers, academics, PhD students and CSP and industry partners will look at aspects like network resilience and security, AI, cognitive networks and energy efficiency.
- A day later, UK-based Colt strengthened its partnership with IBM by opening an Industry 4.0 lab, also in the UK. It will offer enterprises in the manufacturing sector hands-on experience with various applications enabled by their respective cloud and edge networking solutions in an effort to lower barriers to adoption and generate a bit of business for Colt and IBM along the way.
- A couple of weeks ago, Orange Belgium opened its second 5G lab. The first is based in Antwerp, but this new one is in Liège, and will focus on standalone (SA) 5G use cases.
The growing number of labs showcasing what can be done with 5G and related tech like MEC and slicing only goes to show just how desperate the industry is to evolve beyond enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and into new service categories that will hopefully generate more revenue. Meanwhile, Nokia and Ericsson researching 6G is just prudent planning on their part – they need to have something expensive to sell to operators in 10 years time.
Whatever the motivation, it seems to be a good time to be in the lab-building business.
Nokia today announced the opening of a new research and development center focused on 5G and future 6G mobile network technology at its Portuguese campus in Amadora. The center will create employment across several different disciplines and advance research in technologies that are vital components of current 5G and future 6G networks. Last year, Nokia signed a deal with the Portuguese government to open a Global Business Services Center and participate in initiatives that promote digital skills. Apparently, this is part of that industry initiative.
The research and development center will create multiple highly skilled jobs focusing on the advanced development of software to support mobile networks. The center will oversee the full cycle of embedded and real-time software development from early analysis to final delivery. It will bring together professionals from diverse technical disciplines, including software engineers, product owners, and technical leads to work alongside teams around the world.
Tommi Uitto, President of Nokia Mobile Networks, said: “The new research and development center in Portugal demonstrates Nokia’s continued investment in the future of wireless communications. The center’s vital work will continue to expand the possibilities of mobile networks, critical for seamlessly connecting people, businesses, and industries. Importantly, this will be a hub for innovation, reinforcing our 5G technology leadership and helping to realize our ambition to become a 6G pioneer.”
Sérgio Catalão, Country Manager, of Nokia Portugal, said: “The announcement made today is a testament to the continued solid operation of Nokia in the country, reinforced once again by a collaboration with the Portuguese Government. This project reinforces our commitment to supporting Portugal’s digital transformation with our market-leading technology by working in close cooperation with academia, as well as bolstering our team with the best talent.”
A vibrant technology ecosystem, highly skilled talent pool, country stability, and location in Europe were contributing factors for Nokia to locate the research and development center in Portugal. The company has been an important innovation hub for Nokia globally through its units in Amadora and Aveiro and hosts services centers that remotely manage broadband networks for some of the leading global operators. The center follows a strategic agreement signed last year with the Portuguese government to open a Global Business Services Center and participate in initiatives that promote digital skills. The company has close to 2,800 employees in the country.
Comment & Analysis:
There are quite a few on these new 5G/6G Research Centers being opened all over the world. We wonder what “research will actually be done” as detailed programs have not been disclosed. Ericsson announced last week that it was investing heavily in a new research facility in the UK. The objective is to conduct research projects that ultimately contribute to the global development of 6G. Focus areas include network resilience and security, AI, cognitive networks, and energy efficiency.
We think the research efforts should be directed at solving the problems of 5G such as an implementation standard for 5G SA Core networks to facilitate multi-vendor interoperability of both hardware and software. Another urgent 5G issue is to reduce the huge power consumption of 5G base stations, especially for mmW frequencies.
As the scale and services offered through the Optical Access Networks increase, it is crucial to maintain network good operation and performance. To achieve this, the Optical Access Network monitoring can be improved when compared to existing traditional methods via automated real-time data collection. Telemetry enables this and transmits data from the optical line terminal (OLT) – i.e., the device at the endpoint of a passive optical network – in real-time to provide information to the data collection platform.
With the new ETSI specification ETSI GS F5G-011 defining Telemetry Framework and Requirements for Access Networks, service providers and operators benefit from the advantages of real-time monitoring with scale, speed and automation using telemetry. The data retrieved by telemetry, together with analytics and AI, will ultimately offer end users an optimized quality of experience (QoE) for their fiber to the home (FTTH) network, unlocking the potential of the fifth generation of fixed networks (F5G). Note that F5G is based on fiber access- not wireless/cellular access.
Today, the Access Network deployment is based on a traditional data pulling methods, such as Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), syslog and Command-Line Interface (CLI) to pull data from the OLT to monitor Optical Access Network and troubleshoot any issues. The interface uses proprietary management information bases (MIBs) from different OLT equipment vendors, making automation a difficult task. Each request to pull data is therefore resource intensive and impacts the performance of the OLT, adding complexity because there is more than one pull request per OLT. The pulling method does not efficiently scale.
With the flexibility of telemetry, which uses the push method to continuously stream data from the OLT, the data of interest can be selected from the OLT and transmitted it in a structured format to a data collection platform for monitoring, AI-based analytics and visualization.
Telemetry introduces finer granular data points and more frequent data streaming in the Optical Access Network. It enables better performance monitoring and therefore better control over large Access Networks. Telemetry data can assist in the prediction of network problems and take preventative actions without impacting the performance of the OLT. The operators can gain better visibility and insight into the network. They can also enhance the network operational performance by using data analytics.
“Telemetry technology opens the door to big data and machine learning methods application in the Access Network and brings a clear benefit to end users,” outlines Luca Pesando, Chair of the ETSI F5G group which developed this standard. “In the Group Specification, we also showcase examples of implementation of the telemetry system as we recommend it, already at the stage of Proof of Concept so that operators can leverage the potential of this new telemetry architecture,” he adds.
Requirements of F5G QoE (from ETSI GS F5G 005 V1.1.1 (2022-03):
- The F5G network shall support telemetry.
- The F5G network shall support the capability of telemetry to frequently send measured data.
- The F5G network shall support the capability of telemetry to export fine grained statistics.
- The F5G network telemetry interface shall support per-slice QoS measurement data.
- The F5G network shall support end-to-end QoE assessment in the CPN, Access Network, Aggregation Network, and Core Network.
- The F5G network shall support AI-based QoE assessment based on measured network or application performance data.
- The F5G CPN shall provide a mechanism to improve QoE in the customer premises network (residential, enterprise, verticals).
- The F5G service and underlay plane shall support network-layer QoS measurement mechanisms to support QoE assessment and management.
- The F5G service and underlay plane shall support application-layer QoS measurement mechanisms to support QoE assessment and management.
The ETSI F5G Industry Specification Group is working on 10 other specifications and will soon release F5G PON (Passive Optical Networks) for industrial applications and an F5G security architecture. If you’re interested, feel free to join us and contact [email protected]
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