4.5G – What’s the Big Deal About Half a “G”?

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • 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.)

Yet if these previous evolutions suggest that this is simply the way the wireless ecosystem works, there’s a risk of ignoring the importance (and opportunities) of 4.5G. Read more of this post

HKT and Huawei Do 450 Mbps LTE-A: The 10 Details That Matter

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • At Mobile World Congress this year, Huawei and HKT demonstrated 300 Mbps LTE-A thanks to two-carrier CA. This week, they upped the stakes with a three-carrier 450 Mbps demo.
  • More important than the data rates demonstrated is the fact that the demo delivered these rates across two sites and two spectrum bands – and without C-RAN.
  • As we move from 4G to 5G, the demo provides a reminder that backhaul and core innovation will be as important as RAN innovation.

The last day of Huawei’s Global Analyst Summit saw the vendor hold a carrier aggregation (CA) demonstration in Hong Kong with HKT. Like most LTE-A demos, the media has picked up on the super-high data rates being delivered. The real story is bigger than data rates and bigger than the demonstration on the 23rd. Read more of this post

Leveraging PNFs into VNFs: Get Your NFV Application Messaging Out Soon!

David Snow

David Snow

Summary Bullets:

  • 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? Read more of this post

Five Things You Should Know About Huawei’s 2014 Annual Report

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • 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. Read more of this post

Alcatel-Lucent Surpasses 300 Million DSL Ports in Its Drive to Connect the World

Erik Keith

Erik Keith

Summary Bullets:

  • 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.

The first quarter of 2015 saw Alcatel-Lucent surpass an important, and impressive, milestone: 300 million total DSL port shipments. But, unlike McDonalds’ ubiquitous fast food signage has highlighted for decades – now simply “billions and billions served” – Alcatel-Lucent has taken a far more humble response to achieving this benchmark. Read more of this post

AT&T Formally Launches Services Delivered via Domain 2.0; Should Vendors be Scared?

Jason Marcheck

Jason Marcheck

Summary Bullets:

  • Among others, AT&T and DT have both committed to commercial service launches that will run on a virtualized network architecture
  • If two of the most aggressive rollouts in the world are only virtualizing fairly rote services, is that a bad sign for near-term vendor sales prospects?

So, anyone who heard AT&T’s John Donovan speak at Mobile World Congress had to come away impressed with the scope and aggressiveness of the carrier’s progress on Domain 2.0. Among the more noteworthy highlights were: Read more of this post

Small Cells & Location-Based Services (LBS) – Why Vendors Will Have to Push Harder

Ed Gubbins

Ed Gubbins

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobile access infrastructure vendors are increasingly pushing location-based services for indoor/enterprise networks.
  • It’s a logical concept but one that hasn’t shown much traction yet.
  • Such services face serious challenges, including finding killer apps despite a somewhat fractured market.

Enterprise small-cell deployments haven’t exactly spread like wild fire yet (the latest market information from the Small Cell Forum shows most shipments are still residential). Yet, vendors are talking more than ever about applying location-based services (LBS) and analytics to indoor enterprise networks including small cells and WiFi access points. Read more of this post