What Does ‘5G-Ready’ Mean for Mobile Operators?

Ed Gubbins - Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure
Ed Gubbins – Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Network equipment vendors have been pushing mobile operators to begin evolving their LTE networks toward 5G for some time.
  • Though vendors have their own reasons for this push, operators have several reasons to heed their advice.
  • At the same time, operators do need to avoid moving too early toward 5G.

For some time now, vendors of mobile access infrastructure have been urging operators to start evolving their networks toward 5G, well in advance of the technology being concretely defined.

Continue reading “What Does ‘5G-Ready’ Mean for Mobile Operators?”

How Can Consensus Be Achieved in 5G?

Ed Gubbins - Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure
Ed Gubbins – Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • 5G technologies and standards are being developed by a wide variety of entities and groups across the globe.
  • There are both hurdles to and incentives for these stakeholders to come to the necessary agreement on key topics.

A question came up at the end of the 5G webinar I participated in last week (an archive of which is now available).  More than a question, really; you could call it a concern.

During my presentation, I listed some of the organizations that are helping to develop 5G technologies and standards.  You know, industry groups (5GPPP, METIS, the 5G Forum, NGMN, IMT-2020, etc.), major universities (Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, etc.), announced collaborations between specific equipment vendors and operators (Ericsson and LG U+, Huawei and Telefonica, Nokia and du, etc.).

I also made the point that achieving a certain level of unity on 5G is crucial for its stakeholders because no one wants to emulate the global division of 3G technologies that split the world into CDMA and WCDMA.

The question was: “How can consensus really be achieved considering the number of players?” Continue reading “How Can Consensus Be Achieved in 5G?”

MWC16: Wireless Backhaul Roundup – Will a New Approach Improve E-Band’s Tepid Popularity?

Ed Gubbins
Ed Gubbins

Summary Bullets:

  • Multiple backhaul vendors are offering (or plan to offer) new solutions that bond E-band links with traditional microwave.
  • This approach has pros and cons, but it will need to overcome the sources of lackluster market traction for E-band backhaul thus far.

In the wake of Mobile World Congress, we at Current Analysis have offered up our takes on the most important takeaways from the show in terms of new radio access networks solutions, 5G activity, IP services infrastructure and more. When it comes to the area of wireless backhaul, the most notable developments related to E-band millimeter wave technology. Continue reading “MWC16: Wireless Backhaul Roundup – Will a New Approach Improve E-Band’s Tepid Popularity?”

MWC16: What’s Already Happening at Mobile World Congress – A Focus on Rural Areas

Ed Gubbins
Ed Gubbins

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobile access infrastructure solutions focused on rural and remote areas are already a trend at MWC16.
  • Infrastructure improvements in rural areas pose the potential for growth from at least two primary sources.

The benefit of waiting too long to write a “What to Expect at Mobile World Congress” blog is that you get to write a “What’s Already Happening at Mobile World Congress” blog.

You can already guess many of the topics that mobile access infrastructure vendors will be talking about at MWC16: 5G, unlicensed spectrum, Internet of Things, etc. Some of the pre-MWC announcements they’ve already made have focused on an area you might not have predicted: remote and rural networks. Continue reading “MWC16: What’s Already Happening at Mobile World Congress – A Focus on Rural Areas”

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. Continue reading “C-RAN Is About to Get More Serious, but No, the RAN Will Never Disappear into the Cloud”

WiFi Continues to Shape the Enterprise Small-Cell Space

Ed Gubbins
Ed Gubbins

Summary Bullets:

  • Recent trends illustrate how influential WiFi remains in the enterprise small-cell space.
  • Small-cell vendors must align their view of technologies, partners and competitors with this dynamic.

As RAN vendors continue with an attempt to kick in the door to the enterprise small-cell market, one of the primary dynamics influencing these efforts is WiFi’s dominance in enterprise environs. This is largely what led Cisco to use its WiFi market footprint to compete in the small-cell space, of course. But, even in late 2015, after years of driving the enterprise small-cell value proposition, some players are shifting their thinking toward an even greater respect for the importance of WiFi in this business. For example: Continue reading “WiFi Continues to Shape the Enterprise Small-Cell Space”

Why Many of the Newest Small-cell Products Are Radio Units – And Why It Matters

Ed Gubbins
Ed Gubbins

Summary Bullets:

• Many of the newest small-cell products are radio units, coinciding with larger trends around C-RAN and 5G

• This trend poses challenges for the consolidating RAN-vendor landscape and could create opportunity for outsiders

Small cells, C-RAN and 5G are some of the most talked-about topics in mobile access infrastructure today, but how do they intersect? For starters, here’s one way:

Many of the most recently introduced small-cell products are actually radio units (RUs) that connect externally to baseband units (BBUs) rather than the all-in-one base stations (with BBU and RU in one box). Nokia, for example, announced its 2×5 W Metro RRH 2100 MHz in late 2014. Ericsson included the Micro Radio 2203 as part of the new Ericsson Radio System portfolio it unveiled in Q1 2015. ZTE introduced its R8402 “Pad RRU” around the same time. More recently, Huawei began promoting its 5 kg “Book RRU.” Continue reading “Why Many of the Newest Small-cell Products Are Radio Units – And Why It Matters”