Fixed access deployments will continue in the accelerated tempo brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 10G and symmetrical connectivity will become the new gold standard, but not the norm.
The rift between the Chinese and Western vendors around future PON technologies will continue to drive leading broadband access markets on diversifying paths.
10G Adoption Accelerates, Benefiting Vendors with Mature and Market-Ready Solutions
Fixed broadband access has for a long time been a relatively stagnant market, due primarily to two factors: increased consumption of mobile connectivity and poor adoption of services that were to ‘fill up the pipes’ of residential broadband and generate bottom-up demand for faster internet. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have practically obliterated these two limiting factors, driving consumption of streaming video, two-way video communications, and general capacity demand stemming from online gaming and large file downloads. With multiple home-bound users using one home broadband for work, education, and entertainment at the same time, home broadband technologies stemming from designs deployed since the 1990s are quickly showing their weak spots. This has generated increased demand for 10G-capable fiber technologies like XGS-PON. This, in turn, accelerated finalization of the DOCSIS 4.0 standard, which is designed to enable cable operators to provide 10G services as well. Continue reading “2021 Predictions: Three Things to Watch in Fixed Access This Year”→
Carriers will increasingly incorporate the public cloud into their infrastructures, requiring their partners to help them with hybrid and multicloud management as well as edge capabilities.
Greenfield transformation champions Rakuten, Dish, and Jio will have to show results in 2021.
2020 turned out to be a bye year in the predictions game. Having painstakingly teased out the incipient trends for the year, analysts watched as COVID-19 upturned everything, forcing telcos to reallocate their network CapEx and vendors to scramble to add cloud capacity, develop new analytics, and adjust their deployment services. While 2020 sped up operators’ moves toward cloudification, it also delayed non-essential projects as well as work on the standards that will help mobile carriers to monetize their extensive investments in 5G infrastructure. While the coronavirus will continue to affect telecoms transformation in 2021, it is now baked into telcos’ plans, allowing – we hope – more certainty about the events of the coming year. Continue reading “2021 Predictions: Four Things to Watch in Telco Ecosystems and Operations This Year”→
The impact of 5G will start showing in optical transport revenues in earnest in 2021, and the ensuing capacity increases will translate into accelerated upgrade cycles in the metro packet-optical domain.
Vendors competing in coherent solutions will put more emphasis on overall fiber capacity and spectral efficiency and present their capabilities across several dimensions, reducing focus on maximum wavelength capacity as the industry currency.
5G Transport Needs Will Shape Packet-Optical Access and Metro
The impact of 5G on the CSP network technology ecosystem beyond the radio access will be substantial, and transport is the first domain where this has become evident. Beyond capacity requirements an order of magnitude higher than was the case with 4G, 5G also needs stringent timing and synchronization and defines very low-latency system-wide latency budgets, which translate into very strict requirements for each network element in the communications link. As opposed to 4G, where most deployed base stations were macro, 5G architecture is much more versatile and opens the way for significantly more disaggregation between different elements of radio access. This directly translates into a much greater role for fronthaul and midhaul that need to seamlessly connect these disaggregated parts of radio network access. Taken together, the new speed, precision, and latency requirements of 5G have already led most operators to renew and augment their mobile x-haul portfolios. Additionally, the continually increasing volume of new connections and the need for flexibility to support functions like network slicing have brought on a realistic and urgent need to deploy automation and orchestration solutions across the transport networks. Continue reading “2021 Predictions: Three Things to Watch in Optical Transport This Year”→
Orchestration of IP infrastructure resources will become mainstream, replacing fragmented element and network management solutions to reduce complexity and operational cost.
5G private network initiatives will go global as operators position to capture lucrative new 5G network opportunities and address the needs of multiple vertical markets.
Resource Orchestration Matures
5G services and applications are driving more routed IP traffic into the network, with the traditional role of switched Layer 2 Ethernet traffic being sidelined and replaced by more dynamic routed IP flows. This is prevalent in the mobile transport and business Ethernet services domains, which were the last frontier that could claim a cost and simplicity advantage by remaining at Layer 2. The maturation of SDN, which supports a centralized control plane and distributed data plane, has been augmented with simplified routing protocols such as segment routing and Ethernet VPN (EVPN), which minimize the need for complex node-based management and control intelligence. It is painfully clear that the telco infrastructure must be fully automated in order to avoid being crushed by its own weight. Continue reading “2021 Predictions: Three Things to Watch in the CSP Transport & Routing Sector This Year”→
• Open RAN and virtual RAN (vRAN) ecosystems will continue to develop incrementally in 2021 without dramatic change.
• New RAN activity will heat up in India, aided by national self-reliance goals and Open RAN trends.
A global pandemic and its associated lockdowns, quarantines, and economic impacts made the world glad to say goodbye to 2020, despite the fact that the same forces will continue to shape 2021. In turn, as we try to predict what 2021 will be like in the mobile access networks industry, we can find some indicators in the events of 2020.
Carriers are coming face to face with 5G’s increased scale and complexity as well as the need to monetize network investments by developing many more services than before.
To design, deploy, and operate 5G networks profitably, carriers will need to increase automation, adopt AI, and select the right ecosystem partners.
With the July 2020 completion of 3GPP Release 16, we now have the first round of specifications for a full, end-to-end 5G network. Most wireless carriers have started to plan their journey to 5G, and a few are already providing 5G SA connections. During every stage of this journey, carriers are coming face to face with 5G’s increased complexity: more network nodes to install and maintain, more parameters to adjust, and more services to design and operate. Continue reading “5G Services: Embracing 5G’s Benefits While Taming Its Complexity”→
Despite its software-centric vision and hardware partner ecosystem, Mavenir offers its own radio hardware.
This can be seen largely as reflective of a young, still-growing ecosystem and Mavenir’s mission to prove out the vRAN/Open RAN model.
Mavenir may have surprised some attendees at its annual analyst event last month when it touted an array of new hardware-based mobile access products: three new macrocell radio units (RUs) and an enterprise small-cell solution with its own distributed radio units. That’s because Mavenir has long been focused on virtual RAN (vRAN) and Open RAN – running RAN software on general-purpose servers and using RUs from an array of other vendors. It is committed to a vision of being a software, not hardware, provider. And at the same event, Mavenir noted it currently has 11 partners supplying Open RAN radio hardware. Continue reading “Mavenir’s In-House Radio Units Show Open RAN Ecosystem’s Growing Pains”→
SD-WAN adoption is growing and the number of vendors in the market stays high, but the architecture of SD-WAN mimics legacy WAN infrastructures, not necessarily aligning with public cloud adoption trends and evolving traffic patterns in the enterprise.
SD-WAN solutions need to evolve by adding capabilities that align with enterprise ‘cloud-first’ priorities and allow operators to use their edge infrastructure as a competitive differentiator.
The history of SD-WAN started with the first solutions designed to offer enterprises a way of building secure and controlled WAN environments, without resorting to costly and often scarce telco services like MPLS. The market has grown to dozens of vendors, and most telecommunication operators offer one or more SD-WAN solutions in their portfolio. But the development of the market so far has brought to light two main shortcomings of most SD-WAN solutions, affecting enterprise users and telco operators, respectively: Continue reading “SD-WAN for the Cloud Era: Enterprise Priorities and Telco Opportunities”→
CableLabs and SCTE/ISBE signed a letter of intent to combine, with the process likely to be finalized in December with the expected endorsement by thousands of SCTE/ISBE members.
The move marks yet another sign of cable industry consolidation, itself a product of impending cable MSO technological transformation.
The two largest R&D engineering houses focused on innovations for cable operators announced plans in November to join forces. CableLabs, whose membership comprises only cable system operators in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and Australia, announced it will align with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers/International Society of Broadband Experts (SCTE/ISBE), which represents both operators and vendors. In point of fact, the two bodies have complemented each other’s work for a long time. The merger is supposed to bring the two constituencies closer together and accelerate the pace of commercialization of new standards – primarily the impending introduction of symmetrical 10 Gbps services (or 10G for short). After the combination, SCTE/ISBE will become a subsidiary of CableLabs on January 1, 2021. The activities of the two organizations will continue virtually unchanged though, and SCTE/ISBE will continue to offer memberships to potential members not affiliated with CableLabs. The combination signifies that the already insular cable industry is coming even closer together. However, as the technology landscape outside of the cable ecosystem changes rapidly, further focusing of the cable sector might not be the most important change the industry needs. A number of technical and non-technical challenges will continue to loom: Continue reading “CableLabs and SCTE/ISBE to Merge as Insular Cable Industry Consolidates”→
There has been a small but meaningful trickle of news on private wireless (cellular) network deployments over the last couple of years from a cast of characters ranging from CSPs to equipment vendors, SIs, and enterprises themselves. The latest CBRS auction has also uncovered likely new entrants, including companies that lack their own cellular networks or want to own and manage their own deployments.
Interest in providing private wireless networks is not new; after all, this is essentially what WiFi has been providing all along. But using 4G LTE and 5G (over licensed, unlicensed, or ‘lightly regulated’ spectrum) for these networks is creating excitement from a wide swath of the telecom market. Will companies buy it?
GlobalData has been tracking the private wireless network market for several years because it is potentially a major disruptive technology. It promises to partially displace WiFi and wireline connectivity – at least for those use cases that need more consistent signal strength, security, higher speeds, and lower latency, with support for in-building, campus, and hybrid environments such as manufacturing facilities, warehouses, sports stadiums, mines, oil and gas fields, ports, airports, and other transportation hubs. Continue reading “Who’s Winning the Wireless Private Network Race?”→