2021 Predictions: Three Things to Watch in Optical Transport This Year

Emir Halilovic, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • The impact of 5G will start showing in optical transport revenues in earnest in 2021, and the ensuing capacity increases will translate into accelerated upgrade cycles in the metro packet-optical domain.
  • Vendors competing in coherent solutions will put more emphasis on overall fiber capacity and spectral efficiency and present their capabilities across several dimensions, reducing focus on maximum wavelength capacity as the industry currency.

5G Transport Needs Will Shape Packet-Optical Access and Metro

The impact of 5G on the CSP network technology ecosystem beyond the radio access will be substantial, and transport is the first domain where this has become evident. Beyond capacity requirements an order of magnitude higher than was the case with 4G, 5G also needs stringent timing and synchronization and defines very low-latency system-wide latency budgets, which translate into very strict requirements for each network element in the communications link. As opposed to 4G, where most deployed base stations were macro, 5G architecture is much more versatile and opens the way for significantly more disaggregation between different elements of radio access. This directly translates into a much greater role for fronthaul and midhaul that need to seamlessly connect these disaggregated parts of radio network access. Taken together, the new speed, precision, and latency requirements of 5G have already led most operators to renew and augment their mobile x-haul portfolios. Additionally, the continually increasing volume of new connections and the need for flexibility to support functions like network slicing have brought on a realistic and urgent need to deploy automation and orchestration solutions across the transport networks. Continue reading “2021 Predictions: Three Things to Watch in Optical Transport This Year”

2021 Predictions: Three Things to Watch in the CSP Transport & Routing Sector This Year

Glen Hunt, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • Orchestration of IP infrastructure resources will become mainstream, replacing fragmented element and network management solutions to reduce complexity and operational cost.
  • 5G private network initiatives will go global as operators position to capture lucrative new 5G network opportunities and address the needs of multiple vertical markets.

Resource Orchestration Matures

5G services and applications are driving more routed IP traffic into the network, with the traditional role of switched Layer 2 Ethernet traffic being sidelined and replaced by more dynamic routed IP flows. This is prevalent in the mobile transport and business Ethernet services domains, which were the last frontier that could claim a cost and simplicity advantage by remaining at Layer 2. The maturation of SDN, which supports a centralized control plane and distributed data plane, has been augmented with simplified routing protocols such as segment routing and Ethernet VPN (EVPN), which minimize the need for complex node-based management and control intelligence. It is painfully clear that the telco infrastructure must be fully automated in order to avoid being crushed by its own weight. Continue reading “2021 Predictions: Three Things to Watch in the CSP Transport & Routing Sector This Year”

2021 Predictions: Three Things to Watch in the Mobile Access Sector This Year

Ed Gubbins, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• Open RAN and virtual RAN (vRAN) ecosystems will continue to develop incrementally in 2021 without dramatic change.

• New RAN activity will heat up in India, aided by national self-reliance goals and Open RAN trends.

A global pandemic and its associated lockdowns, quarantines, and economic impacts made the world glad to say goodbye to 2020, despite the fact that the same forces will continue to shape 2021. In turn, as we try to predict what 2021 will be like in the mobile access networks industry, we can find some indicators in the events of 2020.

Here are our three best guesses for the mobile access networks space in 2021: Continue reading “2021 Predictions: Three Things to Watch in the Mobile Access Sector This Year”

Mavenir’s In-House Radio Units Show Open RAN Ecosystem’s Growing Pains

Ed Gubbins, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • Despite its software-centric vision and hardware partner ecosystem, Mavenir offers its own radio hardware.
  • This can be seen largely as reflective of a young, still-growing ecosystem and Mavenir’s mission to prove out the vRAN/Open RAN model.

Mavenir may have surprised some attendees at its annual analyst event last month when it touted an array of new hardware-based mobile access products: three new macrocell radio units (RUs) and an enterprise small-cell solution with its own distributed radio units. That’s because Mavenir has long been focused on virtual RAN (vRAN) and Open RAN – running RAN software on general-purpose servers and using RUs from an array of other vendors. It is committed to a vision of being a software, not hardware, provider. And at the same event, Mavenir noted it currently has 11 partners supplying Open RAN radio hardware. Continue reading “Mavenir’s In-House Radio Units Show Open RAN Ecosystem’s Growing Pains”

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”

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”

COVID-19: 5G-Connected Hospital and Wireless Network in Ten Days

Glen Hunt – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• ZTE and China Telecom rapidly constructed a wireless network to transmit large images (CT scans), perform remote diagnoses and remotely connect medical professionals over a 5G network.

• The project establishes a model that could be used at other “pop-up” and established hospitals to combat COVID-19 and future viruses and help protect health care workers.


Source: CGTN

The telecom industry has hyped 5G technologies as the “be all and end all” for our networks moving forward (although 6G is now being incubated in board rooms across the globe). But, just how much of 5G is ready for prime time deployments? The COVID-19 global pandemic has resulted in a sudden and widespread explosion in the need to support millions of workers and students videoconferencing simultaneously from home, and has created an acute need to deal with ballooning medical services.

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has not given the industry or the world any time to debate and test a blueprint for how to move forward; but we have seen examples in which 5G can help. When faced with the need to react “yesterday”, adding tried-and-true technologies like fiber to deliver much needed bandwidth require significant manpower, equipment, and most importantly time – all currently in short supply. Thus, demand is likely to increase deeply for wireless network solutions to address needs of telemedicine and other critical services needed to help cope with the current crisis – and quickly set the foundational elements for moving forward to address future crises post COVID-19. Continue reading “COVID-19: 5G-Connected Hospital and Wireless Network in Ten Days”

Looking Into the Crystal Ball: GlobalData’s Most Intriguing Predictions in Telco Technology & Software in 2020

Summary Bullets:

  • GlobalData recently published its comprehensive set of 2020 predictions across mobile and fixed access, transport and routing, and telco software and services.
  • The predictions here represent some of the most intriguing industry trends that vendors and operators will need to track closely in the coming year.

Standalone 5G Rollouts: Mobile operators will begin to deploy standalone 5G, which doesn’t rely on an LTE core. Because the first wave of 5G, non-standalone, heavily incentivizes operators to simply add 5G to their existing 4G infrastructure, some operators will use standalone 5G as an opportunity to trial new suppliers and architectures, including virtual core suppliers and Open RAN architectures. The timing of deployments will depend in part on how quickly operators can transition their voice services, since 5G won’t offer a circuit-switch fallback option, as 4G did.

Proving 5G Value: Mobile operators will continue to struggle with proving the value of 5G mobile broadband to consumers, as indicated by recent reports of unimpressed 5G customers thus far in South Korea. At Mobile World Congress 2020 (the year that has been hailed for most of the previous decade as 5G’s arrival date), vendors will once again, for at least the third year in a row, emphasize that 5G is ‘here’ and ‘real.’ At the same time, they will also concede that the enterprise use cases at the heart of the 5G value story are still at an early stage of development.

Shifting RAN Vendor Landscape: It’s too difficult to predict whether more countries will follow the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Japan in erecting barriers to Huawei and ZTE’s participation in their network infrastructure markets. But in any case, what has already transpired – combined with the cloud of uncertainty it casts over the future – will likely have several near-term effects in 2019. Continue reading “Looking Into the Crystal Ball: GlobalData’s Most Intriguing Predictions in Telco Technology & Software in 2020”

VMworld Europe 2019: Powering Telco Cloud-Native Transformation

Emir Halilovic – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • After forming its telco business to take a piece out of the NFV cake several years ago, VMware has continued to gain momentum with CSPs.
  • VMware is likely to expand its presence in telco networks as its core products develop to address key cloud-native transformation priorities.

At the onset of the NFV revolution, most industry players reached a consensus that the virtualized telco of the future will become a DevOps shop, running mainly on open source software components. However, even though it may work for the largest telcos, this blueprint is far from universal – as exemplified by the telco business momentum shown by one of the largest global ISVs, VMware. At the VMworld Europe event in Barcelona on November 3-7, VMworld executives put a special emphasis on their telco business, which nowadays encompasses three primary focus areas: building the telco cloud, optimizing the edge, and optimizing the radio. VMware now counts more than 100 telco cloud and service assurance clients in production serving over 800 million mobile subscribers. Telco – the only vertical business within VMware – figured prominently in the keynotes as well, with the launch of VMware’s ‘Project Maestro’ telco cloud orchestrator as one of the main points of CEO Pat Gelsinger’s presentation. Continue reading “VMworld Europe 2019: Powering Telco Cloud-Native Transformation”

DT’s Transport Network Transformation Works on the Harder and Softer Sides of MANO

Principal Analyst, Global Telecom Technology and Software

• Deutsche Telekom’s recently announced network and service automation project using Netcracker’s Domain Orchestrator demonstrates current best practices in management and orchestration.

• The project’s early success, however, also shows how many things need to go right to execute a true network transformation.

Deutsche Telekom is unifying and automating its German transport network with a state-of-the-art technical architecture. The new approach is already reaping benefits in efficiency and speed, but DT places as much importance on the vendor’s implementation approach as it does on the technology.

Since October 8, Deutsche Telekom and Netcracker have been touting the benefits of their transport digitization. The carrier is already live with IP trunk provisioning using Netcracker’s Domain Orchestrator approach, and says that it sees unprecedented speed in the area. Soon to come are unified network discovery, visualization, and trunk provisioning across the IP and optical domains. Using a real-time active inventory, the solution provides full-lifecycle management of services. The Netcracker orchestrator interfaces directly with the IP core, and all of the IP and optical layers are combined in a common visualization domain. It is also containerized, allowing for quick configuration of services and features.
Continue reading “DT’s Transport Network Transformation Works on the Harder and Softer Sides of MANO”