Every wireless technology generation fundamentally evolves before a new one materializes: GSM evolved into GPRS and EDGE, UMTS evolved into HSPA.
While LTE-A is an evolution of LTE, it will further evolve (with 3GPP R12/13 features) before we arrive at 5G.
The move to “4.5G” is different from previous evolutions, if only because 5G aims to address a more diverse set of requirements.
The concept of a “half-G” isn’t new. GPRS was often referred to as “2.5G,” with EDGE called out as “2.75G.” The same dynamic played out with 3G, and HSPA/HSPA+. It’s not surprising, then, that we’re talking about 4.5G in the run up to 5G deployments. (Note: while the term “4.5G” is being largely used by one specific vendor, we’re using it here more broadly.)
Convincing carriers that their VNFs are as good as their PNFs calls for a variety of approaches from the vendor community.
VNF messaging approaches range from “battle-hardened” functionality to “cloud-inside” architectures; however pitched, it’s important to get it out soon.
As NFV gradually moves the industry from physical network functions (PNFs) to virtual network functions (VNFs), application vendors face choices regarding how to position themselves in this new world. As ever, a market transition like NFV will mean that there will be winners and losers. Laying aside all the NFV supporting pieces, such as infrastructure, management and orchestration, etc., what sorts of messaging are application vendors adopting to ensure that their VNFs are at least equally successful, or even more successful, than their PNFs? Continue reading “Leveraging PNFs into VNFs: Get Your NFV Application Messaging Out Soon!”→
Though privately held, Huawei produces an annual report (audited by KPMG) that provides insights into its operations, strategy and performance.
While Huawei’s revenue growth is well understood, its latest report highlights the importance of China to its bottom line and a continuing search for cross-business synergies.
Once a year, a good share of the industry analyst community makes a trip to Shenzhen for Huawei’s Global Analyst Summit. At Current Analysis, we’re sending our entire service provider infrastructure team, along with analysts from our enterprise and consumer teams.
Why dedicate so many resources? One answer is simple. Over a relatively short period of time, Huawei has transformed from a company seen as selling low-cost telecom gear to a reputable seller of telecom solutions with fast growing enterprise and consumer businesses. In the process, it’s grown its overall revenue base significantly to the point where (in total) it’s larger than almost all of its nearest competitors. Understanding the company, then, is critical to understanding the telecom market in general; its analyst summit is one of the best opportunities to discuss and learn of its plans, strategies and messaging for the year to come. Continue reading “Five Things You Should Know About Huawei’s 2014 Annual Report”→
Alcatel-Lucent’s 300 million-DSL port shipment benchmark highlights the company’s long-time commitment to the wireline broadband market, including multiple evolutions of DSL that have led to groundbreaking technologies such as VDSL vectoring, Vplus and G.fast.
While this achievement is worthy of celebration, Alcatel-Lucent will continue to leverage its extensive product R&D resources, including Bell Laboratories, to develop and deliver even more powerful, higher-speed wireline access technologies to address evolving operator service imperatives such as 4KTV.
OFC 2015 attendees were captivated by the enormous point-to-point DCI opportunity, but its margins may be suspect.
With virtualization moving non-transport functions to the cloud, the remaining multi-layer transport market is likely to be quite rewarding.During last week’s OFC 2015 in Los Angeles one would have thought we had found the goose that laid golden eggs. Component vendors were taken with the opportunity of endless optical connections within data centers, and optical transport vendors saw profit in the rapid growth of data center interconnection (DCI) traffic. However, opportunities in the optical transport market are considerably broader than simply chasing DCI connections. This dichotomy of the killer application (DCI) versus the broader set of applications was in in full view at the Infinera Technology Briefing on Wednesday afternoon of the conference.
As it did last September when it introduced its Cloud Xpress platform, Infinera explained how distributed processing by such Internet content providers as Google and Facebook is producing massive data flows between the data centers. It then pointed to the Cloud Xpress as the first platform available in the marketplace expressly designed for the unique requirements of point-to-point DCI. At least one financial analyst seized on that opportunity, and Infinera’s product that addresses the opportunity, to significantly raise the vendor’s target stock price. However, there is much more going on at Infinera, and in the marketplace, than simply a bounty of DCI business.
Infinera sees the market growing along several dimensions, each of which is a $10 billion opportunity, and it is funding its R&D to pursue these opportunities. It is clearly preparing to introduce a metro/aggregation platform to address the expanding metro transport market, reiterated in its announcement of two new photonic integrated circuits (PICs) to address this new (for Infinera) market. The vendor also described its plans to increase the capacity of its DTN-X, enhance the capacity and flexibility of its super-channels, and introduce software defined networking (SDN) capabilities to address the cloud network opportunity which is broader than simply point-to-point DCI. An example of this type of cloud network opportunity is this week’s Infinera announcement that Facebook is deploying its portfolio on a route from its Lulea, Sweden, datacenter across major hubs throughout.
Infinera then described expanding along another dimension (an orthogonal expansion, if you will) to address higher-layer connections in the marketplace, adding another $10 billion to its addressable marketplace. The vendor posited that virtualization (specifically network functions virtualization – NFV) would absorb functions provided by specialized network elements that were outside its scope, leaving a set of multi-layer transport functions that it could address (illustrated in the figure).
Source: Current Analysis
In the figure, the green dashed lines represent the functions being virtualized into the x86 platforms. At the bottom of the figure is the remaining multi-layer physical transport network. The value of this remaining multi-layer transport market could be on the order of $50 billion. One implication is that Infinera’s capital value should be based on a much larger opportunity than simply point-to-point DCI, but the larger implication, and with greater certainly, is that the value of the packet-optical market is by no means limited to the size of the point-to-point DCI market.
What Infinera did not address, but was reflected in the conference as a whole, is that point-to-point DCI transport equipment will soon come under extreme price pressure. The large IP content providers are already in discussions with component vendors to provide bare metal solutions, sending the simple point-to-point transport market on a race to bottom dollar. This IP content provider investigation of cobbling together their own point-to-point DCI solutions does not mean that some vendors such as Cyan (with the announced N11) and PadTec (with a claimed terabit OTN muxponder) will be pushed out. As long as a transport vendor realizes the specialized requirements for a point-to-point DCI product (including relatively low margin matches against giant volumes), it can likely add enough value to hold off the sub-system and component competition. By the way, this race to bottom dollar will also drive down the simple DCI market value in the long run.
Yes, the OFC 2015 attendees were enamored with the enormous point-to-point DCI opportunity, but that doesn’t mean that this is the primary optical transport market opportunity. There is much more, besides.