Huawei’s Gigaband Proposition: Why Not?

Erik Keith

Erik Keith

Summary Bullets:

• Huawei’s Gigaband concept, introduced in early 2015, simply proposes that with Gigabit broadband speeds now commercially available, Gigaband is a more appropriate, logical descriptor, superceding a more generic “broadband” definition.

• While competitors and some industry pundits have characterized Gigaband as a Huawei-driven marketing initiative, the reality is the Gigaband is an almost ideal mash-up word (or, portmanteau) derived from its longer-form parent words Giga(bit) (broad)band.

Just last week, U.S. cable operator Comcast announced limited commercial trials of DOCSIS 3.1 (cable modem-based) services in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania market. While no specific customer broadband speeds have been revealed, DOCSIS 3.1 is designed to support multi-Gigabit throughput to each cable node (10 Gbps downstream, and 1 Gbps upstream, albeit over the shared cable plant). So, even in a moderately-contended node – for example, one serving 125 to 250 customer premises/households – Comcast can offer downstream Gigabit access services, at least from a “billboard” (advertised) standpoint.
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Not Provocative, but Indispensable: Knowledge Transfer within SDN/NFV Services Engagements

Summary Bullets:
• Knowledge transfer is a relatively dull concept with regard to services engagements, but remains a business imperative for telecom services vendors
• The concept has grown in importance as optimization and consulting engagements have grown more complex
• Considering the complexity surrounding SDN/NFV projects, it stands to reason knowledge transfer abilities will become increasingly more important

One of the projects we took on this year at Current Analysis was a report determining the current state of professional services offerings for SDN/NFV and what is to come in the future. Looming virtualization projects are something of a different animal for the telecom industry, requiring new skills, talent, and portfolios. Vendors have done well to incorporate these changes into their messaging, but there’s an aspect of transformation that has flown under the radar. We felt we should shed some light on it.

Rarely highlighted in vendor messaging, but implicitly acknowledged as a component of professional services engagements, knowledge transfer is a critical part of most services engagements, especially when those projects deal with deploying and/or optimizing new technologies. As optimization and consulting engagements have grown more complex, the ability to transfer knowledge obtained or actioned during a service engagement has grown as well. Ultimately, if the operator is left with a less than complete understanding of what was done, and, more importantly, what must be done going forward to keep the network running optimally, a project can fail.

Nevertheless, it’s no surprise then that something as mundane as knowledge transfer is largely left out when discussing professional services for virtualization. For something as important as SDN/NFV the conversation has revolved around the benefits tied to the technology like scalability, flexibility, and improved time to market. Furthermore, the services requirements and organizational transformation to achieve these benefits are considerable, daunting even. It’s understandable that the concept of knowledge transfer might escape top-level services messaging.

The road to virtualization is enormously complex; few will deny it. As operators struggle to define ROI for SDN/NFV adoption, it is easy to understand why vendors are focusing their services messages on consulting and SI-type services that can help overcome some of these fundamental challenges. Nevertheless, SDN/NFV deployments will progress in 2016. As this happens, not only do operators need to fully understand the up and down stream operational and service impacts of a virtual network architecture, they also need to further comprehend how these virtualized networks will interact with their physical networks. Enter the importance of knowledge transfer. As operators face the mandate to undertake comprehensive staff re-training, a services vendor’s ability to document processes and train personnel will become an increasingly important part of any SDN/NFV services portfolio.

We’ll be paying attention to how this aspect of vendor services portfolios evolve; and we trust that all of the operators who are considering SDN and/or NFV deployments in 2016 will be as well.

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Just in Time: The VNF Marketplace Opens for Business in 2015

David Snow

David Snow

Summary Bullets:

  • Four announcements in one week on the status of rival VNF interoperability and NFV partner ecosystems point to the fact that the VNF market is well and truly open for business.
  • Despite the fact that there has been some jostling for limelight between VNF ‘independents’ and major VNF vendors, all this is good news for telcos.

With the holiday season looming, December is either a time when telecom vendor activity starts to fall off or, conversely, there’s a rush to get things out by the end of the calendar year. The latter seemed to be the case for the network functions virtualization (NFV) ecosystem during the course of the past week, when we were treated to a barrage of announcements in this area. Read more of this post

C-RAN Is About to Get More Serious, but No, the RAN Will Never Disappear into the Cloud

Ed Gubbins

Ed Gubbins

Summary Bullets:

  • C-RAN’s adoption is likely to grow significantly soon, thanks in part to evolutions in the underlying technologies.
  • Long term, future RANs will see a dynamic mix of centralized and distributed functions.

In 2016, we’re likely to hear even more about C-RAN than we already have. It’s not a new concept, and plenty of operators have deployed mobile access network architectures in which the baseband processing units are centralized, stacked or pooled, linked to remote radio units elsewhere. As portions of the network become increasingly virtualized, baseband processing will become virtualized, too – thus, centralized RAN will evolve into cloud RAN. This won’t happen everywhere, of course, but its use is likely to spread thanks in part to some significant advancements in C-RAN technology coming soon. Read more of this post

The Omni-channel Opportunity: How OSS/BSS Suppliers Can Unleash Operator Capabilities

Ron Westfall

Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

  • OSS/BSS suppliers need to enlist third parties, such as enterprise and SMBs, to partner on attractive use cases that demonstrate near-term return on investment (ROI) opportunities associated with using digital storefront business rules that aid operators in their drive to manage the omni-channel customer experience and advance their goal of monetizing digital service offerings.
  • Through embedded API incentives, OSS/BSS suppliers can boost operator goals to drive partners to adopt digital storefront business rules that remove technical and business logic barriers in creating consistent omni-channel customer experiences.

Operators are poised to invest more resources in finding ways to differentiate their services further while also streamlining their overall costs in areas such as operational expenditure (OpEx) reduction. Through defining and developing the omni-channel experience of their customers, OSS/BSS suppliers can strengthen the operator potential to drive the overall management of the customer experience. However, accomplishing these twin goals presents distinct barriers for the suppliers and their operator customers. Read more of this post