Mobile World Congress Shanghai: RAN Innovation – From Drones and Small Cells to Massive MIMO

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • Across conference sessions and vendor exhibits, Mobile World Congress Shanghai showcased a myriad of wireless network technologies along with deployment traction.
  • Of the technologies showcased, RAN innovation and solutions took center stage.
  • Many of these RAN innovations focused on regional network demands.
  • Where the innovations showcased an ability of nimble vendors to develop new solutions, the onus is on larger rivals to highlight the value of end-to-end capabilities and proven operations.

Earlier this week, we called out a Mobile World Congress Shanghai panel and presentation focused on network virtualization. Outside the conference sessions, we can debate how big the event truly was; it’s unclear how many people came to see smartphone cases (and smartphones) vs. cutting-edge network R&D. What is clear, however, is that the networks R&D and deployments that seemed most visible (in announcements and show floor exhibits) were focused on the RAN. Given the dominant role that the RAN plays in operator CapEx, this focus wasn’t surprising – neither were the RAN themes on display at the event, with a few exceptions. Read more of this post

Mobile World Congress Shanghai: Virtualizing the Network

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • MWC Shanghai’s Conference session on “Virtualising the Network” included carrier, vendor and industry association representation, providing broad and diverse insights on the topic of NFV.
  • While many, varied insights were shared over the hour-plus session, a few stand out: the importance of culture to getting NFV rolled out, the view of NFV as a multi-layered network architecture, and the relative immaturity of NFV as a telecom technology.

The GSMA held its Mobile World Congress Shanghai last week, from July 15th through July 17th. Per the organization, attendance came in at close to 40,000 unique visitors from 100 countries and territories. Open to “technology-savvy consumers” it’s probably not surprising that an exhibition held in the world’s most populous city attracted so many attendees. The fact that 3,400 people, then, were registered as conference attendees (including educational sessions) may be a better indication of the event’s stature; while not on par with the Barcelona edition of Mobile World Congress, it was still a sizeable event with insights to lend. Read more of this post

Huawei: Turns to Acquiring Amartus Software in Attempt to Boost SDN Prospects

Ron Westfall

Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

  • Huawei acquired the SDN software assets of Ireland-headquartered Amartus in a bid to accelerate its SDN roadmap and enhance its presence in the European market.
  • Huawei takes over the Amartus Chameleon SDS platform but gains precious little new channel influence and begs the question why it could not develop equivalent service orchestration assets in-house.

Huawei acquired the SDN software assets of Amartus, although the financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The terms of the deal include the senior team and product staff based in Ireland joining Huawei with the remaining Amartus staff retaining the rights to service current customers and pursue operator software development and integration service opportunities. Huawei gains the Amartus Chameleon SDS product, which is designed as a multi-vendor service orchestrator that extends lifecycle automation for on-demand cloud and network services over hybrid virtual and physical environments. Specifically the Chameleon SDS uses the Amartus Runtime Programmable Modelling technology which is developed to enable developers to build orchestration apps via runtime configuration and modeling while avoiding legacy coding methods.

How does the acquisition of the Amartus SDN software assets advance its SDN roadmap and improve Huawei’s competitive prospects?

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Even the “Downs” of NFV Projects Point “Up”

David Snow

David Snow

Summary Bullets:

  • Telkom Austria’s pioneering live virtualized VoLTE project has been suspended with unknown impact on Metaswitch and OpenCloud
  • Counter-intuitively, the reported rationale is the high level of senior management attention required, which speaks to the last barrier that NFV will need to overcome; organizational

When it comes to the fortunes of NFV projects and particularly virtualized VoLTE (vVoLTE), this year seems to have been something of a roller coaster ride for Metaswitch and OpenCloud. Back at Mobile World Congress both companies publicized their key roles in what Telkom Austria’s Serbian subsidiary, VIP Mobile, proclaimed to be a “world premiere”; a live vVoLTE deployment. Metaswitch provided the virtual IMS and virtual SBC and OpenCloud the virtual application server. However, it wasn’t to last too long, for earlier this month it was revealed that Telekom Austria is reportedly suspending the project, due to a management reorganization. Read more of this post

Cisco’s IoT System: Proving it’s Easy to Spell “IoT” Without “SP”

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • Cisco’s recently launched IoT System aligns well with the company’s continuing commitment to IoT sales and solutions, not to mention the need to educate the market on IoT solution components.
  • Where the launch falls short is in tying IoT to the service provider (SP).

Cisco has taken time in the past to outline the foundational components of IoT solutions. It’s “Internet of Things System” launch from late June, however, took this one step further in outlining solution building blocks, along with its own efforts to deliver new products supporting these solutions. What it didn’t do was to link these solutions to SP networks or agendas. Read more of this post

ZTE and the Value of End-to-End

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • ZTE prides itself on being one of the handful of vendors which can deliver end-to-end solutions that stretch from the telecom network to devices and enterprise gear.
  • End-to-end solutions only matter if the value is clear to the service provider.

ZTE’s 2015 Global Analyst Conference takes place this week in Shanghai, China. As with similar events from competitors, it’s a prime opportunity to gain insights into the breadth of the vendor’s business – all of the spaces it plays in (or wants to). Read more of this post

Huawei: Betting 2015 Will Prove the Year of the Rising SON

Ron Westfall

Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

• Huawei touts the potential fivefold increase in operator adoption of SON technology during 2015 as validation for the essential role SON can play in OSS transformation, including O&M apps.

• Huawei SON portfolio innovations such as intelligent interference management and energy savings from carrier shutdown methods address core operator SON demands.

Huawei in a recent SON briefing shared market projection data which endorsed that self-organizing network (SON) technology will likely witness breakthrough acceptance by operators during 2015. This includes the potential for a fivefold increase in operator adoption of SON technology from the 9% of operators who already used SON at the beginning of 2015 rising to a 46% total by the end of the year. Huawei identifies the surge in SON adoption as linked to operator prioritization of improving the operations and management (O&M) efficiency of their mobile broadband networks. However Huawei must contend with a host of SON suppliers that have identified the same trend. How does Huawei propose to win over operators in adopting its SON portfolio to meet their evolving O&M objectives?:

Energy Efficiency Advances: The Huawei SON solution proposes shutting down carriers based on actual customer and network usage. This includes the shutdown of both idle and lightly used carriers to improve energy efficiency metrics. Combined with real-time start capabilities to support the re-use of carriers for moderate to heavy activity, Huawei asserts new SON energy efficiency breakthroughs that previous and alternative SON solutions lacked. These energy advances become particularly critical in developing regions and countries (e.g., Philippines) where electricity supplies can prove expensive or even cost-prohibitive in the support of building out mobile broadband networks.

Intelligent Interference Management: Huawei asserts its Call History Recording (CHR) algorithms are designed to minimize conflict resolution within multi-RAT and multi-vendor environments as well as between base stations and overlapping cells. In distinction from standard conflict resolution algorithms, the Huawei CHR approach has the capability to identify the prime conflict source that resolves the overall conflict issue without the need to wade through each conflict event among the multitude of conflict sources. While rivals will likely dispute the CHR algorithm resolution claim, the intelligent interference management capability enables Huawei to make CHR capabilities a key consideration in the selection of SON solutions.

As Huawei champions its SON portfolio, what steps can the company take to render its SON proposition more compelling in meeting operator mobile network efficiency demands?

Expand SON-Services Link: The SON portfolio messaging needs to include more direct links to Huawei’s services portfolio, including automation of OSS processes such as O&M. Within many top-tier networks (e.g., EMEA), operators have embarked on re-establishing in-house control of O&M functions, reversing the trend of outsourcing these functions to third parties that started a few years prior. To accelerate operator re-integration of O&M, the Huawei services unit should advocate SON adoption as essential in the automation of O&M processes required to ease the in-house sourcing of the reverse migration. Otherwise operators risk making the re-assumption of O&M a costly, manual-intensive engineering quest that could undermine the objective of driving their own service creation and innovation in-house.

Use SON to Drive Automation: Many operators, especially within the Latin America and Asia-Pacific regions, did not outsource key OSS capabilities but remain anxious about using automation techniques such as SON to improve O&M efficiencies. Reasons include lack of in-house expertise and nervousness related to risking service disruptions in transitioning proven but less efficient O&M processes to an automated approach. Huawei needs to use its SON portfolio to assuage these concerns, since SON technology is well-suited for scaling mobile broadband services like LTE. Without the benefits of SON automation in place, operators in these situations risk stressing their existing resources without improving the customer experience – as well as diminishing their capacity to defend their customer footprint.

Overall Huawei has the SON portfolio assets to expand its capacity in meeting operator OSS transformation goals, including O&M efficiencies. Now Huawei must show it can develop a more compelling services integration tie-in and refresh its SON automation targeting to drive even more operator OSS transformation projects.

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