Telenor Deploys 5G xHaul Transport Network from Cisco and NEC; xHaul & ITU-T G.8300 Explained

NEC Corp. and Cisco have been selected by Telenor to deploy 5G xHaul transport networks in Norway and Denmark.  5G-xHaul proposes a converged optical and wireless network solution able to flexibly connect Small Cells to the core network.

In April this year, NEC and Cisco entered a Global System Integrator Agreement (GSIA) to expand their partnership for accelerating the deployment of innovative 5G IP transport network solutions worldwide. This project is a flagship initiative in which the two companies take full advantage of the GSIA and collaborate to deliver state-of-the-art networks to the customer.

NEC and Telenor have a well-established history of working together, and this project is an extension of a global frame agreement signed in 2016 for Telenor’s 4G IP / Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network in Scandinavia, to deliver next-generation networks to the operator.

For this specific project, Cisco will supply its NCS 540 series as the cell site router and NEC will provide value added services built on its expertise both in the IT and network domain to implement an architecture that enables flexible and highly scalable end-to-end IP/MPLS networks with bandwidth that can support the high-capacity and low-latency communication required by 5G.

“As a One-stop Network Integrator, NEC takes a customer-first approach, providing optimal solutions that match individual requirements based on our best-of-breed ecosystem, consisting of NEC’s own products and those from industry-leading partners such as Cisco. We are excited to contribute to the advancement of Telenor’s 5G network evolution,” said Mayuko Tatewaki, General Manager, Service Provider Solutions Division, NEC Corporation.

“At Cisco, we continue to look for ways we can shape the future of the internet by providing unparalleled value to our customers and our partners,” said Shaun McCarthy, Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Mass Infrastructure Group, Cisco. “Through our partnership with NEC, we can help Telenor connect more people in Norway and Denmark and provide the automation and orchestration necessary to meet future demands on the network.”

Cisco believes that a converged, end-to-end packet infrastructure, beginning in the access layer and stretching via the network data center all the way to the core, based upon segment routing and packet-based QoS, provides the underlying xHaul transport network (see Figure below). This provides the most flexibility of application placement, the best scalability, the most robust reliability, and the leanest operational costs. On top of this, we layer VPN services, either based on BGP-based VPNs or business software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technologies, to provide the means to support a multi-service environment capable of supporting strict SLAs.

Overall Architecture for 5G xHaul:

Editor’s Note:

ITU-T G.8300 recommendation “Characteristics of transport networks to support IMT-2020/5G” defines the requirements for the Physical layer transport network support for the 5G fronthaul, midhaul and backhaul networks. The digital clients are the digital streams to/from the 5G entities (e.g., RU, DU, CU, 5GC/NGC) and other digital clients carried in the access, aggregation and core transport networks. The requirements and characteristics are documented for each of the fronthaul, midhaul and backhaul networks as defined in this recommendation.
The factors addressed include:
• Relationship of 5G network architecture to transport network architecture
• Operations, administration, and maintenance (OAM) requirements
• Timing performance and time/synchronization distribution architecture
• Survivability mechanisms

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NEC and Telenor have worked together before, with this announcement representing an extension of a previous global frame agreement signed in 2016 for Telenor’s 4G IP/Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network in Scandinavia. As part of the agreement, the system integrated helped Telenor prepare, enable and perform the migration of services in a turnkey arrangement.

Going forward, NEC and Cisco will continue making collaborative efforts to further enhance their joint solution portfolio and to optimize regional activities for advancing the digital transformation of customers across the globe.

References:

https://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=2203825

http://Telenor Deploys 5G xHaul Transport Network from Cisco and NEC

https://www.nec.com/en/press/201603/global_20160331_01.html

https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/service-provider/mobile-internet/5g-transport/converged-5g-xhaul-transport.html

 

NEC expands partnership with AWS for global 5G, digital government, hybrid cloud

NEC Corp. expanded its collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in areas that include global 5G, digital government, and hybrid cloud in support of accelerating digital transformation for business customers.

In November 2020, NEC and AWS concluded a corporate-level strategic collaboration agreement and have been developing offerings and strengthening delivery functionalities since then. NEC will now expand this collaboration and strengthen efforts in the following areas: global 5G, digital government, and hybrid cloud as follows:

1. Global 5G

NEC aims to develop an end-to-end 5G offering and to provide it globally by combining NEC’s high-performance cloud-native open 5G mobile core, OSS/BSS solutions, local 5G use cases etc., and AWS cloud and edge solutions. NEC will accelerate telecom carriers’ cloudification of network workloads and enhance digital transformation for enterprises by deploying 5G-based infrastructure and applications at the network edge. This combined solution stack will be supported by NEC’s system integration services to enable customers to efficiently deploy and scale 5G networks, enhance automation and drive significant improvement in operational economics.

2. Digital government

NEC has been certified as an AWS Government Competency Partner based on the strategic collaboration that started last year and its achievements for governments to date. Going forward, NEC will further strengthen its relationship with AWS and focus on developing and providing a menu of offerings to accelerate the digital transformation for government activities in Japan.

3. Hybrid cloud

By collaborating with AWS, NEC aims to develop and provide a menu of offerings that connects on-premises and cloud environments securely, at high speed, and with low latency. This will contribute to the acceleration of digital transformation through modernization that utilizes the customer’s existing information technology (IT) assets.

To accelerate these initiatives, the NEC Group has increased the number of AWS-certified engineers to 2,000 at present, aiming for 3,000, double the number from the start of collaboration in 2020, and firmly maintains one of Japan’s largest delivery capabilities for cloud projects. Going forward, NEC will continue to strengthen these positions and to ensure that it responds to customers’ digital transformation demands.

NEC also intends to enhance its hybrid cloud offering with support from AWS, providing services that connect both on-premises and cloud environments in order to support enterprise digital transformation strategies.  NEC has already been building up expertise in this field. The Japanese IT vendor has increased the number of AWS-certified engineers to 2,000, up from 1,500 in November 2020, and is aiming for 3,000 in three years.  Furthermore, NEC has been certified as an AWS Government Competency Partner and said it will focus on “developing and providing a menu of offerings to accelerate the digital transformation for government activities in Japan.”

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Comments from both companies on this collaboration are as follows:

“NEC is pleased to announce the expansion of its strategic collaboration with AWS. Last year, NEC announced this global collaboration as the first of its kind between AWS and a Japanese company. It has been a great year, seeing many successes in the areas of government, modernization and in the skill enhancement of NEC engineers. NEC is now expanding the collaboration with AWS in the areas of global 5G, digital government and in enhanced hybrid cloud offerings. With the strong global support from AWS, NEC will help drive digital transformation in the government sector and across industries as part of orchestrating a brighter world,” says Toshifumi Yoshizaki, Executive Vice President at NEC Corporation.

“We are delighted to deepen our relationship with NEC. AWS welcomes NEC’s commitment and delivery of solutions built on AWS to deliver high-quality solutions that accelerate customers’ digital transformations. We look forward to NEC’s continued expansion of offerings and further expansion of delivery capabilities to optimize these transformations,” says Doug Yeum, Global Head of Alliances & Channels at Amazon Web Services, Inc.

Toshifumi Yoshizaki, Executive Vice President at NEC Corporation and Matt Garman, Senior Vice President at Amazon Web Services Inc.

NEC and its Netcracker subsidiary have already deployed their 5G core and full stack digital BSS/OSS on AWS cloud infrastructure to orchestrate and automate 5G digital services. The service was demonstrated at Mobile World Congress 2021, when NEC deployed its 5G core control plane on an AWS Region and its 5G UPF on an AWS Outposts’ edge location.

Other NEC cloud related partnerships:

  • NEC’s collaboration with Rakuten Mobile, Japan’s disruptive open RAN and cloud-native 4G/5G wireless service provider, has certainly raised its open RAN and 5G Core profile. In May, Rakuten Mobile signed MoUs with Fujitsu and NEC to try and accelerate “global expansion” of Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP).
  • In June, NEC and Rakuten Mobile said they would jointly develop the containerized standalone (SA) 5G core network (5GC) to be utilized in Rakuten Mobile’s fully virtualized cloud native 5G network.
  • Later in June, Rakuten Mobile, NEC and Intel announced that they have achieved a performance of 640 Gbps per server for the containerized User Plane Function (UPF) on the containerized 5G SA core network jointly developed by Rakuten Mobile and NEC running on the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP).
  • In July, NEC expanded its “multi-year strategic partnership” with Microsoft whereby NEC adopted Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform provider.  (But now it’s in bed with AWS?)
  • In August, NEC announced a collaboration with Fujitsu on interoperability testing for 5G base stations that conform to specifications from the O-RAN Alliance.

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About NEC Corporation:

NEC Corporation has established itself as a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies while promoting the brand statement of “Orchestrating a brighter world.” NEC enables businesses and communities to adapt to rapid changes taking place in both society and the market as it provides for the social values of safety, security, fairness and efficiency to promote a more sustainable world where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential. For more information, visit NEC at https://www.nec.com.

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References:

To view and hear the comments from Toshifumi Yoshizaki, Executive Vice President at NEC Corporation and Matt Garman, Senior Vice President at Amazon Web Services Inc (pictured above), please visit: https://www.nec.com/en/press/202109/global_20210908_01.html

https://www.lightreading.com/5g/nec-expands-aws-tie-up-to-gain-5g-edge/d/d-id/771938?

Rakuten Mobile, Inc. and NEC to jointly develop the containerized standalone (SA) 5G core network

 

Why It’s Important: Rakuten Mobile, Intel and NEC collaborate on containerized 5G SA core network

 

NEC and Microsoft in MAJOR multi-year strategic partnership based on cloud computing

Microsoft  and NEC Corporation on Tuesday announced an expansion of their decades-long collaboration. Through a new multi-year strategic partnership, the companies will leverage Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, NEC’s network and IT expertise, including 5G technologies, and each other’s AI and IoT solutions to help enterprise customers and the public sector across multiple markets and industries further accelerate their cloud adoption and digital transformation initiatives. Microsoft and NEC have a history of strong collaboration spanning more than 40 years (since NEC introduced its PC running Microsoft software in 1979).

The partnership will have NEC adopt Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform to deliver enhanced capabilities to drive sustained digitalization, help customers transform their business models, and build Digital Workplaces for the post-pandemic “new normal.”

To accelerate NEC’s Digital Workplace innovation and workforce transformation, the companies will work together to migrate NEC’s on-premises IT environment to Azure and deploy Azure Virtual Desktop and other Azure services among the NEC Group’s 110,000 employees worldwide. This modernization builds on NEC’s existing Microsoft 365 platform and will enable a highly sustainable environment that is more secure and robust, accelerating cloud migration for NEC and its customers throughout the commercial and public sector in Japan and around the world.

The companies will work together to help improve digital services for public sector and enterprise customers through workplace and workforce transformation. Greater speed and lower-latency data connections will provide high-performance network experiences to create more efficient workplaces and empower employees to realize more personalized work styles for public sector as well as private sector customers.

Leveraging the assets of both companies, including Microsoft’s Intelligent Edge solutions and NEC’s private 5G networking technologies (?), the companies will work together to help customers across industries transform. In retail, for example, the two companies will work together to analyze customer transaction data in real time using AI to better understand buying patterns, improve operational efficiency and identify new market opportunities.

The combination of Azure and both companies’ AI and IoT technologies and expertise will enhance NEC’s customer experience through advanced solutions and enable more secure maintenance and operation of stores. In addition, NEC and Microsoft plan to explore network innovation initiatives built on Microsoft Azure for enterprise domains and specific industries.

Through the partnership, the companies will work together to double the number of digital-focused engineers within the NEC Group who are specialized in Microsoft technologies. This investment in technical capabilities and the expertise of NEC’s employees will help ensure customers’ digital transformation success, benefiting the market and society.

“As we’ve seen over the past year, digital adoption curves are accelerating across every industry and business function,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “Our strategic partnership with NEC brings together the power of Azure and Microsoft 365 with NEC’s services and infrastructure expertise to help public and private sector customers build resilience and transform during this era of rapid change.”

“NEC is pleased to enter into this strategic collaboration with Microsoft Corp.,” said Takayuki Morita, president and CEO of NEC Corporation. “With Microsoft’s trusted cloud and services, the experience that NEC has cultivated in its own systems, and both companies’ AI and IoT technologies, we will enable companies globally to use digital services that are safer and more secure than ever before as they progress with digital initiatives.”

“The need for sustainable transformation to ensure business resiliency and growth has never been more important in the world and especially Japan,” said Hitoshi Yoshida, president & CEO, Microsoft Japan. “Our partnership will help accelerate the industry’s cloud-based digital transformation and utilization of data migration and help Japan’s continued success globally, leading to greater economic and societal prosperity.”

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More on NEC:

NEC recently announced it had demonstrated its 4G and 5G Mobile Core Solution on Amazon Web Services for commercial offerings from “multiple” service providers in Japan. “Our core and its associated orchestration products allow us to provide sophisticated capabilities, such as end-to-end slicing, ultra-low latency and multi-cloud deployment options, which are key to realize the promises of 5G monetization,” claimed Patrick Lopez, NEC’s global VP of product management for 5G products.

Of course, NEC has partnered with Rakuten Mobile to develop the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP) and related 5G SA Cloud Native Core network software.

References:

https://news.microsoft.com/2021/07/12/microsoft-and-nec-expand-strategic-partnership-to-boost-business-resiliency-and-growth/

https://www.lightreading.com/5g/nec-sends-5g-to-cloud-with-microsoft/d/d-id/770831?

Rakuten Mobile, Inc. and NEC to jointly develop the containerized standalone (SA) 5G core network

Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP) defacto standard for 5G core and OpenRAN?

Why It’s Important: Rakuten Mobile, Intel and NEC collaborate on containerized 5G SA core network

Rakuten Mobile, NEC and Intel  announced today that they have achieved a performance of 640 Gbps per server for the containerized User Plane Function (UPF) on the containerized 5G SA core network jointly developed by Rakuten Mobile and NEC running on the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP).

In the absence of ITU-T standards or 3GPP implementation specs (beyond architecture and functional requirements) for 5G SA core network or the ultra hyped 5G functions that go with it (e.g. network slicing, automation, service chaining, etc), the Rakuten Mobile-NEC containerized 5G SA core network is a very important development.

We documented that in this IEEE Techblog post.  Rakuten has said they plan to sell their RCS platform (which includes 5G SA core network spec and software) to 5G SA network providers. They say they already have at least 15 customers.

According to Dave Bolan of Dell’Oro Group, most 5G SA networks will be based on containers (rather then virtualized network functions/VNF).

Many analysts say that containerized UPF performance is needed to maximize the value of 5G deployment. This is because the control plane (C-plane) and user plane (U-plane), which were historically collocated, are completely decoupled in this disaggregated 5G architecture. Separating them enables an independently scalable UPF which is key to private networks, edge computing, hybrid cloud and to accelerate a variety of deployment scenarios. Rakuten Mobile has adopted 5G architecture from the launch of its network, including a CUPS (Control and User Plane Separated) packet core for its 4G LTE network.

TelecomTV says that control and data plane separation enables the 5G network operator to deploy multiple UPF instances closer to where the traffic originates, rather than at fixed locations in the network. The result is lower latency and a better user experience. It also means UPF instances can be turned on and off as capacity demand dictates, enabling operators to dynamically allocate network resources.

The 640 Gbps performance per server for the containerized UPF on the 5G SA core network was achieved in a laboratory environment in Tokyo. This represents a significant opportunity to drive high performance of the commercial network in the future.

NEC says it leveraged its industry-leading product development based on its advanced telecom and IT expertise to maximize CPU utilization and fast memory access. That software was facilitated by use of Intel’s latest high-performance infrastructure, including 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors with built-in AI acceleration and Dual-port 100Gb Intel Ethernet Network Adapter E810-2CQDA2 with Dynamic Device Personalization (DDP).

Rakuten Mobile, Intel and NEC have collaborated on high-speed processing of containerized UPF, which plays a significant role in this initiative, and achieved a performance of 640 Gbps per server. High-speed processing in a containerized environment on Rakuten Mobile’s RCP enables instant and flexible deployment of UPF from edge to central locations based on traffic characteristics, leveraging RCP’s full automation features.

“Rakuten Mobile has successfully designed and built a fully containerized mobile network based on open standards,” commented Tareq Amin, Representative Director, Executive Vice President and CTO of Rakuten Mobile. “With NEC and Intel, we have demonstrated that extremely high-speed processing is possible on containers. We aim to continue to pursue performance improvements in the core to achieve higher throughput and reduce cost and energy consumption in the rollout of network technology in Japan and worldwide.”

“We’re proud that Rakuten Mobile, Intel and NEC were able to demonstrate industry-leading UPF performance,” commented NEC Executive Vice President Atsuo Kawamura. “NEC has been developing high-performance and highly reliable 5G systems by leveraging our vast experience that includes more than 25 years in mobile core networking. Our strong track record, technical capabilities and expertise in both network and computing domains, allowed us to bring high-quality 5G core to virtualization and cloud-native technology. NEC and Intel have a long-term relationship in the hardware business, including CPUs and NICs (Network Interface Cards), and have jointly enhanced the acceleration technology for virtualization, represented by the DPDK (Data Plane Development Kit). NEC performed significant optimization and improvements to pursue higher performance for the cloud-native UPF. In the future, we will continue to contribute to society through 5G in Japan and around the world leveraging the results of this project.”

“The fully virtualized Rakuten mobile network featuring NEC’s containerized 5G UPF software built on the latest Intel technology is another key proof point of how ecosystem collaboration and industry leading technology are both essential to fulfill the promise of 5G,” said Dan Rodriguez, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel’s Network Platforms Group. “The ongoing development and optimization work among the companies on the latest 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel Ethernet 800 Series network adapters not only provides outstanding performance, but the added flexibility to run workloads from core to edge that are designed to offer the best experience for end users.”

Rakuten Mobile and NEC started jointly developing an open, fully containerized SA 5G core network in June 2020 to be utilized in Rakuten Mobile’s mobile network in Japan and made available within RCP.

In the RAN domain, NEC is also providing 5G radio units (5G RU) for Rakuten Mobile’s network in Japan, and recently, Rakuten Mobile and NEC announced the broadening of their collaboration to provide 5G and 4G radios and engineering services for Open RAN systems aligned with O-RAN specifications for global markets, and accelerate the global expansion of the RCP.

Through the joint development of the open and fully cloud native containerized SA 5G core network, Rakuten Mobile and NEC aim to drive innovation in global mobile technology and provide high-quality 5G network technology to customers in Japan and around the world.

Comment and Analysis:

In an email to this author earlier this year, Rakuten Mobile CTO Tareq Amin wrote: “NEC/Rakuten 5GC openness are realized by implementation of Open Interface defined in 3GPP specifications  (TS 23.501, 502, 503 and related stage 3 specifications).  3GPP 5GC specification requires cloud native architecture as the general concept (service based architecture).  It should be distributed, stateless, and scalable.  However, an explicit reference model is out of scope for the 3GPP specifications.”

Dell’Oro Group’s Dave Bolan via an email this week:  “All of 5G Core will be Cloud-Native, mostly Container-based. Except there are different cloud-native versions and container versions, not making it truly open. Anyone that wants to put their core on the public cloud will have to customize it for each cloud platform. Same may be true for the NFVI if it runs on – x86, AMD, ARM, or Nvidia – and couple that with the different UPF acceleration techniques, it gets complex very quickly.”

Alex Quach, VP of Intel’s Data Platforms Group, said most operators around the world are still leveraging a 4G core network.  “The way different service providers implement their 5G core is going to vary,” said Quach. “Every service provider has unique circumstances. The transition to a new 5G core is going to be different for every operator.”

How could 5G SA possibly be open if there are no standards or implementation specs for 5G cloud native core network or true 5G functions like network slicing?

The result will be multiplicity of 5G SA carrier specific software running on different cloud service provider (CSP) compute servers.  Note also that each CSP has their own set of APIs and different cloud configurations will be used for the 5G cloud native core network.  The upshot is that changing a 5G SA software vendor or cloud service provider will be a huge problem for 5G network operators.  Again, that’s because of the proprietary nature of 5G SA deployments in the absence of 5G core network standards/open implementation specs.

What’s worse is that this will have a huge negative impact on PORTABLE/GEOGRAPHICALLY MOBILE 5G endpoints, like smartphones, tablets, notebook computers, gaming consoles, etc.  As each network provider’s 5G core network will be different, a unique, carrier specific 5G core download will be required for 5G endpoints for each 5G SA core network provider.

That will severely restrict portability/mobility to within a single carrier serving area and effectively prevent 5G SA roaming.  For example, Samsung is providing 5G SA network downloads for its smartphones that operate on T-MobileUS 5G SA network. But those downloads won’t work on any other 5G SA network, so the truly mobile user will fall back to 4G-LTE whenever he or she is outside T-MobileUS’s carrier service area.

If the major use of 5G SA/Core network is industrial applications that don’t move or move ONLY within 5G carrier serving area, that isn’t a problem.  But it certainly is for a 5G device a business traveler takes with him or her when on the road as it will fall back to 4G-LTE if 5G service from his or her carrier is not available.
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Parting Shot:
It’s amazing to this author that the FOR PROFIT MAINSTREAM MEDIA (MSM) have neglected or glossed over the 5G SA core network interoperability problem and lack of 5G SA roaming.  In fact, we haven’t seen much of ACTUAL (vs MOUs) 5G NSA roaming.  Does that even exist?
They have also ignored the “sleight of hand” used by ITU-R in M.2130 (formerly known as IMT 2020 RAN/RIT/SRIT) where the URLLC use case performance requirements are not met.  Nor is there an approved companion recommendation (M.1036 revision 6) which specifies 5G frequency arrangements, especially for mmWave which has been a very controversial topic for ITU-R WP 5D.
Similarly, no one from the MSM has called attention to 3GPP Release 16 (frozen in June 2020) URLLC in the RAN spec not being completed or performance tested.
The IEEE Techblog continues to be a voice in the wilderness, busting myths and exposing false claims while negating most of the 5G hype on use cases, ultra low latency, 5G SA core network, network slicing, etc.

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References:

https://www.nec.com/en/press/202106/global_20210625_03.html

https://www.fiercewireless.com/operators/sk-telecom-trials-intel-chips-for-5g-standalone-core-network

NEC in contention to supply 5G radio units and 5G cloud native core network in UK

Following last Friday’s announcement that NEC and Analog Devices (ADI) have cooperated to design a 5G Network Massive MIMO Antenna Radio Unit for Rakuten Mobile, the Japanese IT icon is in contention to supply 5G base stations in the UK.

The UK has said it will no longer allow the use of Huawei equipment in its 5G networks due to unresolved security concerns, and required network providers to remove already-incorporated equipment by 2027.  That’s largely due to the pressure the U.S. administration has put on allies to ban Huawei from their telecom networks based on the assertion that Huawei’s equipment could be used for cyberespionage, an allegation that the company denies.

With Huawei being banned from the UK’s 5G networks, Ericsson and Nokia, are the obvious choice to replace the world’s #1 telecom equipment company, other contenders are beginning to emerge.  Those include South Korea’s Samsung as well as Japan’s Fujitsu and NEC.  The latter probably has an edge due to their work with Rakuten Mobile on both 5G radio units and a cloud native 5G core network.

NEC’s 5G equipment utilizes highly accurate digital beamforming for efficient high-capacity transmission. The system also features seamless installation, achieved through circuit integration.

“Virtualization is a dependable and cost-efficient approach, and the world’s leading telecom providers are pursuing it as the next evolution of communications. ADI’s RF equipment allows us to provide the connectivity required to build an architecture that supports 5G full-spectrum systems,” said Nozomu Watanabe, Senior Vice President at NEC.

The U.K. government has decided to collaborate with NEC Corp. on the development of 5G ultrafast wireless communications networks. | BLOOMBERG

Working alongside Japanese companies will soon become even more appealing for the UK, with the government signing a historic post-Brexit trade deal with Japan last week.  As part of the diplomatic trip to Japan, British International Trade Secretary Liz Truss spoke to NEC Chairman Nobuhiro Endo about 5G, leading to the tweet below suggesting NEC will help rollout 5G in the UK and look towards the creation of a  5G Open RAN Center of Excellence.

Japanese tech giant @NEC_jp_pr to support roll out of 5G in the UK.

The UK-Japan trade agreement signed today will bring two of the world’s most technologically advanced nations & democratic allies closer together. https://t.co/l78q7w24Ur

Department for International Trade (@tradegovuk) October 23, 2020

With respect to Open RAN, last week NEC-Europe, together with Altiostar and Vodafone-Ziggo. teamed up to perform the first successful voice call over an open virtual RAN in the Netherlands.  If ties with NEC and Japan continue to improve, Open RAN may begin to gain even more momentum in the UK as we enter 2021.

 NTT recently acquired close to 5% ownership of NEC, which is example of an emerging trend of vertical integration in the OpenRAN world (for example Altiostar’s owners include Rakuten and Telefonica).

Commenting on the NEC announcement, Guillermo Pedraja, Head of Networks, 5G & IoT Consulting at NTT DATA UK said in a statement that “the UK government’s collaboration with NEC points to a thriving future for UK-Japanese cooperation, with the recent free trade agreement ensuring that businesses from both countries remain closely aligned as they lead the world in technology and innovation.”

He also saw in 5G an opportunity for the resurgence of Japanese technology companies in general. “Japanese firms are also positioning themselves as global centres of innovation in telecommunications technology. NTT’s decision early this year to take a 5% stake in NEC was an important moment that showcased Japanese telco giants’ willingness to combine forces to accelerate their capabilities in the 5G space,” Pedraja added.

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References:

https://www.nec.com/en/press/202010/global_20201023_01.html

https://twitter.com/UKinJapan/status/1319549412176265217

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/10/26/business/corporate-business/japan-nec-5g-uk/

https://telecoms.com/507122/nec-gets-a-piece-of-the-uks-5g-bonanza/

https://www.totaltele.com/507641/NEC-steps-in-for-5G-as-UKJapan-sign-free-trade-agreement

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2020/10/19/vodafone-and-nec-europe-trial-open-ran-technology-with-voice-call/

 

Posted in 5G Tagged

Altiostar testing O-RAN Compliant 5G Massive MIMO with NEC and Rakuten Mobile

Altiostar announced testing of massive MIMO 5G over a virtual Radio Access Network (vRAN) in collaboration with NEC and Rakuten Mobile. The tests aim to ensure interoperability of multi-vendor systems based on the open RAN specifications from the O-RAN alliance.

ORAN Alliance

Open RAN Layered Architecture from the O-RAN Alliance

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Altiostar is integrating the O-RAN Distributed Unit (O-DU) functionality of its virtual radio access network (vRAN) software with NEC’s O-RAN Radio Unit (O-RU) using fully compliant control, user, synchronization and management (C/U/S/M) plane protocols based on O-RAN Alliance guidelines. The 5G layer is built using container network functions (CNF) that leverage Rakuten Mobile’s cloud infrastructure platform that is part of its 4G network build out.

As part of management-plane integration, Altiostar is following a hierarchical model that allows the O-DU software to manage the NEC O-RU, including providing software upgrades, RU configuration, fault management and performance monitoring. This interoperability is being performed for 5G new radio (NR) sub-6 GHz massive MIMO O-RU and meets all the 3GPP downlink/uplink (DL/UL) requirements.

Altiostar says they have “pioneered RAN disaggregation since 2013 when it first introduced a split between the higher non-real-time layers of the protocol stack and the lower layers of the stack.  The industry then standardized this concept in the 3GPP and what is now known as the option-2 split between the centralized unit and the distributed unit. This paved the way for operators to think differently when it comes to disaggregation and network deployment,” according to Altiostar.

Further disaggregation was introduced by Altiostar in the form of a radio interface unit. The RIU incorporates lower L1 functionality and provides a gateway function that converts Common Public Radio Interface to/from Ethernet.  By eliminating the high bandwidth and proprietary CPRI interface to the radio, Altiostar took a key step towards integrating legacy Remote Radio Head over an Ethernet transport network to O-DU functionality.

Using this technology, the first multi-vendor RAN was deployed at a commercial scale and paved the way for operators to engage radio vendors to build O-RAN compliant radios. Rakuten Mobile’s adoption of the platform has helped move forward the ecosystem and open interfaces in the industry.

“Open RAN as a concept is one that the whole industry is now actively pursuing as a means to introduce supply chain diversity into mobile networks globally,” said Ashraf Dahod, CEO of Altiostar Networks. “Altiostar is leading the industry with this network transformation by ensuring interoperability, integration and most importantly extensive testing to ensure that we have a commercial, carrier-grade solution for both 4G and 5G while keeping the principles of Open RAN in place.”

“Rakuten Mobile is a big supporter of O-RAN principles and has seen the benefit of supply chain diversity in our own network,” said Tareq Amin, Representative Director, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Rakuten Mobile. “By combining the spectral efficiency of massive MIMO along with an advanced cloud-based RAN, we are leveraging and introducing advanced innovative technology from both NEC and Altiostar, who are specialists in these respective fields.”

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References:

Altiostar Conducting O-RAN Compliant 5G Massive MIMO Technology Interoperability Testing in Cooperation with NEC and Rakuten Mobile

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/rakuten-mobile-tests-massive-mimo-5g-over-vran-with-altiostar-nec–1339188

NEC and Mavenir collaborate to deliver 5G Open vRAN platform

NEC Corp. and Mavenir entered a collaboration agreement to deliver a 5G Open virtualized RAN (vRAN) platform to the Japanese enterprise market. This move will open up Local/Private 5G Network opportunities for enterprises, regional authorities and other organizations, according to the companies.

Under this collaboration, NEC and Mavenir said they will jointly work on 5G Open vRAN and Local 5G business developments and create a simple and cost-efficient ecosystem in the market. The collaboration will bring together NEC’s expertise in IT, network and system integration and Mavenir’s cloud-native network technology.

Editor’s Note:

Moving to a virtual RAN (vRAN) may offer operators important benefits, including a reduced capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX) over time. Additionally, RAN transformation can be boosted by network functions virtualization (NFV) technology, which changes the typical network architecture from hardware-based to software-defined infrastructure and decouples the baseband functions from the underlying hardware. In turn, the architecture is more flexible, agile, and easier to maintain, allowing operators to launch new services to market faster than ever before.

Cisco created and announced Open vRAN at Mobile World Congress 2018. Conversations with key network operator customers, as well as our partners, made it apparent that something needed to change and they thought we could help. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind ride – working with customers to better define this future and the key elements, building solutions with our partnersinnovating in the market to explore new service designs, and contributing to the process of defining industry specifications.

On that last topic, sometimes there is a little confusion between Open vRAN and O-RAN due to the similar names and similar principles. The naming similarity was coincidental, but not surprising, given both are fairly descriptive of the opportunity. O-RAN (Open RAN Alliance) describes themselves well on their website: The O-RAN Alliance was founded by operators to clearly define requirements and help build a supply chain eco-system to realize its objectives.”  They have extensive details available on their website and in their whitepaper.

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Mavenir delivers an Open vRAN platform that provides strategic differentiation by enabling multi-source Remote Radio Units (RRUs) to interwork with the virtualized, containerized, Cloud Base Band software over Ethernet Fronthaul (FH), using the O-RAN open interface, overcoming the traditional constraints of the proprietary walled garden specifications used by the other traditional equipment vendors.

“We are excited to collaborate with NEC, as we move together toward open, virtualized networks,” said Pardeep Kohli, Mavenir’s President and CEO. “Mavenir’s vRAN and NEC’s radio naturally come together to quickly and easily bring new and innovative solutions to the Japanese Enterprise Market.”

NEC actively promotes an open, virtualized infrastructure model in support of the 5G era, using IT, orchestration and network expertise. Moreover, the NEC ecosystem contributes to vRAN via inter-operability testing between multiple vendors’ equipment that is compliant with O-RAN fronthaul specifications.

“The combination of advanced assets and expertise from Mavenir and NEC will enable us to offer end-to-end one-stop 5G Open vRAN and Local/Private 5G solutions, including an advanced 5G network solution for the ecosystem, and vertical solutions that meet the needs of a great variety of Enterprise customers.” said Nozomu Watanabe, senior vice president at NEC.

This joint collaboration will continue to provide value-added products for customers worldwide.  An overview of this collaboration will be introduced during MWC Barcelona 2020  (assuming the event is not cancelled as is rumored now) at the NEC booth, Hall 3, 3M30.

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About Mavenir:

Mavenir is the industry’s only end-to-end, cloud-native Network Software Provider focused on accelerating software network transformation and redefining network economics for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) by offering a comprehensive end-to-end product portfolio across every layer of the network infrastructure stack. From 5G application/service layers to packet core and RAN, Mavenir leads the way in evolved, cloud-native networking solutions enabling innovative and secure experiences for end users. Leveraging industry-leading firsts in VoLTEVoWiFiAdvanced Messaging (RCS)Multi-IDvEPC and OpenRAN vRAN, Mavenir accelerates network transformation for more than 250+ CSP customers in over 140 countries, which serve over 50% of the world’s subscribers.

We embrace disruptive, innovative technology architectures and business models that drive service agility, flexibility, and velocity. With solutions that propel NFV evolution to achieve webscale economics, Mavenir offers solutions to help CSPs with revenue generationcost reduction, and revenue protection. Learn more at www.mavenir.com

 

References:

https://mavenir.com/press-releases/nec-and-mavenir-deliver-5g-open-vran-solution/

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/nec-mavenir-collaborate-to-deliver-5g-open-vran-platform–1326379

https://blogs.cisco.com/sp/the-open-vran-wave-is-building

 

NEC Demo’s Face Recognition Using MEC to NTT DOCOMO 5G Open Lab

NEC has completed a proof-of-concept demonstration of a 5G-based facial recognition system that can be temporarily deployed at event venues without the need for new cable installation.  The prototype system was tested at NTT Docomo’s 5G Open Lab in Okinawa as part of the operator’s 5G Open Partner Program, which seeks to encourage the creation of new 5G use cases.  The system utilizes 5G and mobile edge computing (MEC) technologies to enable instant face recognition using mobile networks.

In order to optimize bandwidth, monitoring cameras can stream low definition images when people are not detected, and high definition images when certain behaviors are detected.  The demo system consists of NEC’s face recognition AI engine NeoFace, Image Analysis and Behavior Detection System and Context-aware Service Controller solutions. They are installed on MEC servers and connected through a virtualized evolved packet core.

“NEC will continue to develop and offer a variety of solutions as a top vendor of domestic mobile core networks in the 5G era and to contribute to the expansion of the DOCOMO 5G Open Partner Program, while taking advantage of our experience and knowhow,” NEC GM for network solutions Kazuhiro Tagawa said.

Face Recognition

This announcement includes part of the results of a research project “Research and development for the achievement of a fifth-generation mobile communication system – Research and development of high-speed and low-power consumption wireless access technology utilizing a super multi element antenna with high-frequency and large bandwidth” commissioned by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

The NTT DOCOMO 5G Open Lab OKINAWA provides charge free technical verification environments, including 5G base stations, for companies and groups participating in the DOCOMO 5G Open Partner Program. The lab aims at creation of new use cases for 5G, promotion of local industries and resolution of social issues in Okinawa. NEC has provided 5G base stations utilizing 4.5 GHz frequency band to this lab.

References:

https://www.acnnewswire.com/press-release/english/49108/

https://www.nec.com/en/global/solutions/safety/face_recognition/index.html

NEC Contact:  Seiichiro Toda s-toda@cj.jp.nec.com +81-3-3798-6511

New Southeast Asia-Japan 2 Cable to Link 9 Asian Countries

A consortium of Asia-Pacific network operators has contracted NEC Corp. to build a 10,500km subsea cable which will connect Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, Korea and Japan.  The Southeast Asia-Japan 2 cable (SJC2) will be built and operated by a consortium including China Mobile International, Chunghwa Telecom, Chuan Wei, Facebook, KDDI, Singtel, SK Broadband and VNPT.  The eight fiber pair cable will have a total capacity of 144Tbps. Construction of the cable is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2020.

The construction of SJC2 cable is timely and will provide additional bandwidth between Southeast and North Asia, whose combined population of more than two billion are driving demand for data as their economies undergo digital transformation,” Singtel VP for carrier services Ooi Seng Keat said.

As a new generation multimedia superhighway, the SJC2 can play a pivotal role in facilitating economic cooperation and digital innovation among the countries in this region. The construction of this cable reinforces Singtel’s position as the leading data services provider in the region and strengthens Singapore as a global business and info-communications hub,” Keat added.

China Mobile said in a statement it would be solely responsible for the landing stations in China and Hong Kong, with SJC2 complementing China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and this cable makes up one of seven investments the company has made into subsea cables.

Singtel has been investing in augmenting its international connectivity, including through the joint construction of the 9,000km INDIGO subsea cable linking Singapore with Perth and Sydney in Australia, and its involvement in the Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 5 (SEA-ME-WE 5) cable, which was completed in December 2016.

Southeast Asia-Japan 2 cable route

SJC2 submarine cable to connect 9 Asian countries

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In May, NEC demonstrated speeds of 50.9Tbps across subsea cables of up to 11,000km on a single optical fibre through the use of C+L-band erbium-doped optical fibre amplifiers (EDFA), amounting to speeds of 570 petabits per second-kilometre.

To hit those speeds, NEC researchers developed a multi-level, linear, and non-linear algorithm to obtain an optimisied 32 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) or opt32 constellation with a higher limit for non-linear capacity specifically for transmission across subsea cables.

NEC announced the completion of the 54Tbps Asia-Pacific Gateway cable in November 2016 between China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore.

The cable is owned by China Telecom, China Unicom, China Mobile, NTT Communications, KT Corporation, LG Uplus, StarHub, Chunghwa Telecom, CAT, Global Transit Communications, Viettel, and VNPT. 

References:

https://www.telecomasia.net/content/southeast-asia-japan-2-cable-link-9-markets

http://www.zdnet.com/article/nec-signed-to-build-southeast-asia-japan-2-cable/

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Related subsea cable construction:

Construction begins on Japan-Guam-Australia cable

https://www.telecomasia.net/content/construction-begins-japan-guam-australia-cable