SD-WAN for the Cloud Era: Enterprise Priorities and Telco Opportunities

Emir Halilovic, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • SD-WAN adoption is growing and the number of vendors in the market stays high, but the architecture of SD-WAN mimics legacy WAN infrastructures, not necessarily aligning with public cloud adoption trends and evolving traffic patterns in the enterprise.
  • SD-WAN solutions need to evolve by adding capabilities that align with enterprise ‘cloud-first’ priorities and allow operators to use their edge infrastructure as a competitive differentiator.

The history of SD-WAN started with the first solutions designed to offer enterprises a way of building secure and controlled WAN environments, without resorting to costly and often scarce telco services like MPLS. The market has grown to dozens of vendors, and most telecommunication operators offer one or more SD-WAN solutions in their portfolio. But the development of the market so far has brought to light two main shortcomings of most SD-WAN solutions, affecting enterprise users and telco operators, respectively: Continue reading “SD-WAN for the Cloud Era: Enterprise Priorities and Telco Opportunities”

CableLabs and SCTE/ISBE to Merge as Insular Cable Industry Consolidates

Emir Halilovic, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • CableLabs and SCTE/ISBE signed a letter of intent to combine, with the process likely to be finalized in December with the expected endorsement by thousands of SCTE/ISBE members.
  • The move marks yet another sign of cable industry consolidation, itself a product of impending cable MSO technological transformation.

The two largest R&D engineering houses focused on innovations for cable operators announced plans in November to join forces.  CableLabs, whose membership comprises only cable system operators in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and Australia, announced it will align with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers/International Society of Broadband Experts (SCTE/ISBE), which represents both operators and vendors.  In point of fact, the two bodies have complemented each other’s work for a long time.  The merger is supposed to bring the two constituencies closer together and accelerate the pace of commercialization of new standards – primarily the impending introduction of symmetrical 10 Gbps services (or 10G for short).  After the combination, SCTE/ISBE will become a subsidiary of CableLabs on January 1, 2021.  The activities of the two organizations will continue virtually unchanged though, and SCTE/ISBE will continue to offer memberships to potential members not affiliated with CableLabs. The combination signifies that the already insular cable industry is coming even closer together.  However, as the technology landscape outside of the cable ecosystem changes rapidly, further focusing of the cable sector might not be the most important change the industry needs.  A number of technical and non-technical challenges will continue to loom: Continue reading “CableLabs and SCTE/ISBE to Merge as Insular Cable Industry Consolidates”

Who’s Winning the Wireless Private Network Race?

Kitty Weldon – Research Director

Summary Bullets:

  • There has been a small but meaningful trickle of news on private wireless (cellular) network deployments over the last couple of years from a cast of characters ranging from CSPs to equipment vendors, SIs, and enterprises themselves. The latest CBRS auction has also uncovered likely new entrants, including companies that lack their own cellular networks or want to own and manage their own deployments.
  • Interest in providing private wireless networks is not new; after all, this is essentially what WiFi has been providing all along. But using 4G LTE and 5G (over licensed, unlicensed, or ‘lightly regulated’ spectrum) for these networks is creating excitement from a wide swath of the telecom market. Will companies buy it?

GlobalData has been tracking the private wireless network market for several years because it is potentially a major disruptive technology. It promises to partially displace WiFi and wireline connectivity – at least for those use cases that need more consistent signal strength, security, higher speeds, and lower latency, with support for in-building, campus, and hybrid environments such as manufacturing facilities, warehouses, sports stadiums, mines, oil and gas fields, ports, airports, and other transportation hubs. Continue reading “Who’s Winning the Wireless Private Network Race?”

COVID-19: Delay in 5G Standards Will Mean Delay in 5G Innovation

John Byrne, Service Director

Summary Bullets:

  • The 3GPP announced that it is likely to see a significant delay in completing Release 17 standards governing 5G technology.
  • The delay – likely to be a minimum of six months and possibly longer – will put a damper on dozens of work items designed to enable transformative 5G services.

The body responsible for developing the standards governing 5G technology has signaled that its inability to meet in person is causing a slowdown in developing new technical standards.

The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) announced September 21 that it is expecting a delay in 5G standards of a minimum six months – and potentially longer. That in turn is likely to delay the deployment of many of the innovative use cases envisioned for 5G. Continue reading “COVID-19: Delay in 5G Standards Will Mean Delay in 5G Innovation”

Next-Gen Transport and Routing: Key for 5G Success

Emir Halilovic, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • 5G transport needs to provide enough capacity, but it also needs to cater to vertical 5G use cases with high-precision and low-latency connections, provided on intelligent infrastructure.
  • Another key issue that operators will need to tackle is 5G transport diversity and complexity; as 5G radio site types diversify, operators will need to build more diverse transport networks to cover all types of sites in their network.

In the first wave of 5G deployments, operators and other players in the telecommunications ecosystem have focused primarily on innovation in radio access, allowing for key improvements next-gen radio brings to existing services like mobile broadband. But as operators start to focus on truly game-changing 5G functionality that will enable IIoT and other advanced use cases, the importance of rebuilding and rethinking transport networks for 5G becomes very clear. Continue reading “Next-Gen Transport and Routing: Key for 5G Success”

Telefonica O2 Looks to Ericsson to Deliver on 5G Energy Plan

John Byrne, Service Director

Summary Bullets:

• In a report released in August, O2 explained how 5G technology will help it reach its goals for 2025 – and well beyond.

• The report calls out the vital role of its primary infrastructure partner Ericsson in helping it “Break the Energy Curve” as it rolls out 5G for O2.

UK operator Telefonica O2 put its ‘green’ stake in the ground in March 2020 by announcing plans to dramatically reduce carbon emissions across its business and network by 2025. In a report released in August, O2 explained how 5G technology will help it reach its goals for 2025 – and well beyond.

In the new report, O2 made the case that 5G will play a crucial role in four key vertical markets – i.e., utilities/home energy, transport, manufacturing, and healthcare. Among the report’s headline findings: Continue reading “Telefonica O2 Looks to Ericsson to Deliver on 5G Energy Plan”

Predictive 5G Networks – A Key to Business-to-Business Success

Glen Hunt – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • COVID-19 Drives Network Imperatives: The pandemic has created a need for new and innovative contactless business applications to support a remote workforce and clients. Vendor solutions can ease the impact of COVID-19 by delivering on the following:

5G Business-to-Business: Support multiple new service types and provide flexible business-to-business applications which leverage automation, multi-service, and deterministic network services.

Automation + Carrier-Grade Connectivity: Network solutions must guarantee ‘anytime, anywhere’ connectivity, with operational simplicity through solutions that automate services, freeing them from manual processes.

Full Service Lifecycle: Deliver a diverse range of services capabilities with SLA assurance for multiple technologies, over a sliced network infrastructure supported for the full service lifecycle.

  • Vendor Solutions Are Here: Although part of the 5G vision from the beginning, the COVID-19 pandemic has motivated vendors to combine technologies along with business needs to deliver integrated solutions to the market.

Establishing 5G Network Priorities: 5G business-to-business solutions require agility, scale, and new service delivery and management capabilities. 5G requires a distributed architecture to bring dramatic improvements to performance, uptime, resiliency, and the ability to support innovative new business services. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a need for an end-to-end solution that can minimize people-people interactions and automate network functions for efficiency and time to market. Continue reading “Predictive 5G Networks – A Key to Business-to-Business Success”

Nokia’s New CEO Has Reasons for Optimism

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• One era ended and another began, with new CEO Pekka Lundmark taking the reins August 1.

• While the company faces a host of challenges and questions to address, there are many recent signs of hope.

Nokia began life under its new CEO, Pekka Lundmark, on August 1 following the departure of his predecessor, Rajeev Suri. Lundmark’s appointment had been announced in March; he had originally planned to begin September 1 but the start date accelerated by one month from the original plan.

The appointment of Lundmark to the helm marks the end of what was an impressive 11-year tenure for Suri, who provided steady leadership through a tumultuous period that included the merger of Nokia and Siemens, and after a lengthy integration period, the eventual acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent. Continue reading “Nokia’s New CEO Has Reasons for Optimism”

COVID-19: Operators Kick the Can Down the Road in Defining Impact to FY2020 Results

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• In their first round of quarterly results since the widespread outbreak of COVID-19, network operators provided few specifics on the true impact of the pandemic on 2020 outlooks.

• Most operators remain hopeful that a fuller picture of the impact of the disease will emerge in time for Q220 earnings releases, but that is likely to vary significantly by region and country.

With most of the world’s largest network operators now having chimed in on Q1 2020 earnings, what is clear is that little remains clear in terms of how COVID-19 will impact them this year. Most operators have withdrawn full-year guidance and have indicated that a reliable picture will not emerge until the true trajectory of COVID-19 becomes clear. Since that answer can vary significantly from country to country, region to region, and city to city, most operators lack the tools to provide reliable guidance. Continue reading “COVID-19: Operators Kick the Can Down the Road in Defining Impact to FY2020 Results”

Nokia Left Out of China’s 5G RAN – Another Sign of Growing Polarity in the Global Ecosystem

Ed Gubbins – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• Nokia has been excluded from the latest wave of 5G RAN rollouts by major Chinese mobile operators

• Though Nokia has strategies to overcome this obstacle, the underlying trends of geographic polarization don’t bode well for the industry.

Reporting its Q1 2020 earnings today, Nokia acknowledged that it has essentially been shut out of the Chinese 5G RAN market – the largest such market in the world.

This news didn’t come as a shock to anyone who had seen recent reports that – despite a fresh deal to supply China Unicom with a 5G core platform – Nokia was not named as a supplier in the latest wave of 5G RAN contracts awarded by China’s three major mobile operators. As usual, these procurements went mostly to China’s two major equipment vendors, with Huawei earning the lion’s share, and ZTE’s much smaller share still towering over that awarded to Sweden-based Ericsson. Continue reading “Nokia Left Out of China’s 5G RAN – Another Sign of Growing Polarity in the Global Ecosystem”