Can ONF Bring Open Source to the RAN? ORAN and vRAN Make the Timing Right to Try

Ed Gubbins, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) has launched a ‘Software-Defined Radio Access Network’ project aimed at developing open-source RAN solutions using an ‘app store’ model for network optimization features.
  • This effort will be helped by the open RAN (ORAN) and virtual RAN (vRAN) movements now gaining steam, but it will also confront some of the same hurdles facing open RAN – including opposition from incumbent major vendors.

The Open Networking Foundation – a group that promotes open-source networking technologies – announced a ‘Software-Defined Radio Access Network’ project aimed at developing open-source RAN solutions. Continue reading “Can ONF Bring Open Source to the RAN? ORAN and vRAN Make the Timing Right to Try”

After the Dali Wireless-CommScope Court Fight, Legal Uncertainties Linger in the Enterprise RAN

Ed Gubbins – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • Enterprise RAN vendors CommScope and Dali each won damages in countervailing patent infringement cases last week, but an injunction against two Dali products may be of interest to the broader industry.
  • That injunction is suspended pending appeal. It may be rendered moot by expiring patents, and its impact may be mild even if upheld. Still, additional suits could foster lingering uncertainty in this space.

A legal battle over patent infringement between enterprise RAN vendors CommScope and Dali Wireless came closer to resolution last week, but a key aspect – an injunction that would prevent Dali from selling two primary products – remains uncertain. A Dallas judge upheld a jury verdict rendered last year that awarded damages to both companies in a patent infringement suit and related countersuit. CommScope was ordered to pay almost $9.5 million, plus additional interest, and Dali was ordered to pay about $6 million, plus interest. Continue reading “After the Dali Wireless-CommScope Court Fight, Legal Uncertainties Linger in the Enterprise RAN”

New 5G Network Recommendations Complicate UK Operators’ Rollout Plans

Ed Gubbins – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • The UK government has proposed limits in how much Huawei 5G RAN gear mobile operators deploy.
  • Exactly how operators will implement those limits is unclear, raising several questions.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the UK’s technical authority on cybersecurity, made big headlines this week by issuing recommendations for UK operators regarding how to honor national security concerns in selecting 5G network suppliers. But, beyond the headlines – primarily regarded as a win for Huawei, since the NCSC allowed a role for Huawei in UK 5G networks despite pressure from the U.S. – the NCSC’s actions raise plenty of questions about how UK operators will source, plan, and deploy their 5G radio access networks (RANs). Continue reading “New 5G Network Recommendations Complicate UK Operators’ Rollout Plans”

RAN Vendors Targeting Enterprises Aren’t Waiting for 5G

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

Summary Bullets:

  • The lull between 4G and 5G operator spending motivates RAN vendors to penetrate enterprises before 5G, aided by new RAN technologies relevant to enterprises.
  • In penetrating enterprises, even RAN vendors with enterprise businesses face challenging organizational changes and market hurdles.

When RAN vendors talk about 5G, much of the discussion tends to involve targeting enterprise verticals and the Internet of Things (IoT). Take Ericsson, for example, demonstrating unmanned construction vehicles and remote surgery concepts. But, like many elements of their 5G discussions, RAN vendors aren’t waiting for 5G to target enterprises. Continue reading “RAN Vendors Targeting Enterprises Aren’t Waiting for 5G”

AT&T’s AirGig Announcement: Why Now?

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

Summary Bullets:

  • AT&T wasn’t very candid in explaining how its latest lab project works, a twist on broadband over powerline.
  • Multiple forces might have given the operator reason to announce AirGig now, before it could say much.

AT&T’s announcement last week of a new technology dubbed AirGig was striking for a few reasons. One was the novelty of the technology itself, which enigmatically promised to transmit wireless signals around power lines rather than through them, putting a new spin on old broadband-over-powerline tech concepts and posing the possibility of self-backhauling mesh networks deployed along the power grid that could deliver 4G and 5G services to the home.

Another thing that was striking about AT&T’s announcement of AirGig was just how little about it the company was at liberty to discuss. For starters, how does the technology work, exactly? AT&T declined to elaborate much. How far could these networks (which use millimeter waves without necessarily being restricted to them and provide both access and backhaul) extend from a wireline backhaul source? It wouldn’t say. How would they be powered if, as AT&T offered, they wouldn’t need to physically connect to the power grid? Inductive (wireless) power transmission is one approach, the company said, but left it at that.

So, why announce a technology that is still being developed if you can’t say much about it? Continue reading “AT&T’s AirGig Announcement: Why Now?”

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?”

600 MHz Incentive Auction Spectrum: 5G or Not 5G, That’s a Big Question

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Among the unknowns surrounding the 600 MHz incentive auction, the question of what technology will get deployed in the spectrum is dividing the industry.
  • Technology providers need to settle on a consistent, external message in order to ensure the industry moves forward along with their own priorities.

Not surprisingly, the FCC’s ongoing, 600 MHz incentive auction was a frequent topic of conversation at CTIA’s Super Mobility Week this year. Where any operator actively involved in the auction wasn’t allowed to talk about it, everyone else was free to discuss anything from how long it might go on to who might win and how much they’d end up paying. One question, however, seemed to generate more debate than any other: what technology – LTE or 5G – would eventually get deployed in the spectrum? Continue reading “600 MHz Incentive Auction Spectrum: 5G or Not 5G, That’s a Big Question”

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”

CES 2016: Day One – Setting the Stage for IoT

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • Beyond drones and phones, AR/VR and connected car, the building blocks of an IoT ecosystem – from silicon to network technologies – were a major part of what people came to CES 2016 to discuss.
  • While IoT deployments are moving forward, the need to build out foundational aspects of the ecosystem at the connectivity layer suggests that expectations of spectacular near-term growth should be tempered.

On the first official day of CES 2016, we saw more news and announcements around the pre-hyped themes that I mentioned earlier; from new smartphone launches to virtual reality headsets to differentiation within the wearables space, my colleagues have been diligently covering most of them. As I continued to focus on what CES 2016 could teach us about network evolutions and service provider technology trends, one thing stood out: IoT. In particular, it was almost impossible to ignore all of the ways in which vendors came to Las Vegas to showcase how they were advancing IoT device and network capabilities. Continue reading “CES 2016: Day One – Setting the Stage for IoT”

CES 2016: Day Zero – Has AT&T Finally Got Its Developer Summit Right?

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • While scheduled in the run-up to CES, AT&T’s Developer Summit has slowly evolved towards a focus on B2B and B2B2C applications. With IoT and smart city initiatives taking center stage, 2016 was no exception.
  • If the objective of the summit is to drive developer activity that directly benefits AT&T, this evolution is a good thing.

Even before CES kicked off (the official Day One is January 6th), the key themes and topics were well discussed in the media: virtual reality/augmented reality, drones, IoT and wearables, smart home innovations, connected audio, and smartphone and tablet launches from insurgent players. Pre-launches and pre-briefings virtually ensured that these predictions would be accurate and the announcements coming just prior to the show essentially verified them. Continue reading “CES 2016: Day Zero – Has AT&T Finally Got Its Developer Summit Right?”