Accelerating 5G: Taking Gigabit LTE to the Masses

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Gigabit LTE (LTE networks, services and devices supporting theoretical peak speeds of a Gigabit or more) has been a big part of 5G discussions in 2017.  But it’s also – as the name implies – an evolution of LTE.  3GPP R13 LTE-Advanced Pro, to be specific.

It’s fair to ask, then, what’s the link to 5G?

While it would be technically inaccurate to position Gigabit LTE as a 5G technology, there’s no denying that it will support 5G rollouts and services.  As 5G rolls out in targeted pockets, Gigabit LTE will ensure consistent network-wide user experiences.  Likewise, as service providers investigate the specific IoT and broadband use cases 5G will support, Gigabit LTE will help them understand the options and opportunities ahead of them not to mention fundamental 5G technologies that start getting introduced into the network with Gigabit LTE.    Read more of this post

Accelerating 5G: Bringing NR to Reality

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Every new generation of cellular technology has come with its own, new, air interface.  5G is no different, introducing 5G New Radio (NR). And, as with so much of 5G, 2017 promises to be a big year for 5G NR.

Long before AT&T announced 5G Evolution services based on LTE technologies last week, it was clear that service provider strategies and vendor positioning, alike, include LTE technologies as new air interfaces in their 5G service and marketing plans.  With LTE continuing to evolve, its inclusion in 5G discussions makes sense (a topic we’ll come back to).  But it also begs the question of why a new air interface for 5G is necessary.  Beyond any interest in delineating a new technology with a new air interface, 5G NR promises a number of important features and functionalities: support for diverse spectrum, including low-band (sub-1 GHz), mid-band (1 to 6 GHz) and high-band, mmWave (24 GHz and up) assets; lower latency; added network capacity; improved spectral efficiency (lower cost-per-bit); improved service uniformity (EG, at cell edge); and the flexibility to support 5G’s diverse use cases (massive IoT, critical communications, and enhanced mobile broadband) with one unified design.

The 2017 Story

Against this backdrop – and a general interest in moving 5G forward – it’s not surprising that operators including AT&T, Verizon, and SKT have committed to commercial and pre-commercial 5G deployments this year incorporating mmWave spectrum and an air interface beyond LTE.  It would be wrong to call the technology used in these launches “5G NR” since these operators aren’t waiting for the 5G NR specifications to be complete.  Regardless, these launches are important, if only because they point to three key realities: enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) as the first 5G use case focus; demand for moving quickly on implementing new 5G air interfaces; the progress made to date in bringing that new air interface to life. Read more of this post

AT&T Introduces “5G Evolution”: Is This the Moment When 5G Became a Marketing Term?

John Byrne

John Byrne – Service Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

• AT&T launched the first of what it calls “5G Evolution” upgrades slated for 20 major metros in the U.S. in 2017.

• As with the introduction of 4G/LTE, operators are likely to begin treating “5G” as more of a marketing tool than a specific set of performance specs.

The history of mobile network evolution used to be pretty clear. First there was analog (which, by the way, no one referred to as “1G”), which was the service customers had in the 1980s – simple voice over inefficient networks, but that was OK because most people couldn’t afford cellphones (which were at that time “carphones”). Read more of this post

Huawei Analyst Summit 2017: Expanded Video Focus, and Velocity

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

• Huawei’s 2017 Analyst Summit showcased the company’s clear progress in the video market on multiple levels, from the integration of video into Huawei’s strategic vision to the hiring of an ex-AT&T video marketing director as CMO for Video Products.

• While Huawei has made clear, tangible progress in the video space, there is still room for improvement, evidenced by its more acute focus on telecom/IPTV operators, at the expense of substantial opportunities with cable operators.

Huawei’s Addressable Video Markets, and Monetization: On day one of the 2017 Analyst Summit, Huawei’s keynote speakers highlighted the company’s heightened commitment to video. This includes Huawei’s segmentation of the video market into three key market segments: the $650 billion entertainment video sector, the $350 billion industry video sector and the $18 billion communication video sector. Entertainment video encompasses live and linear TV, VoD, OTT video and even user-generated content (UGC), Industry video includes telemedicine, remote education and “safe city” applications (supporting a network of public safety cameras, including HD feeds) and Communications video is video conferencing and video calls.
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Accelerating 5G: The Pivotal Role of 2017

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

On the proverbial “Road to 5G,” you might think that 2017 is just another year, taking us just a little closer to the commercial 5G networks and services we’ve all heard will arrive in 2020.  You would be wrong, on multiple fronts.

First off, the analogy itself is somewhat flawed.  5G is not a finish line being raced towards; just like 4G LTE, the technology will evolve long after initial services debut, with most operators launching services at their own pace.  Perhaps more importantly, the earliest commercial service and network launches won’t be coming in 2020.  They’ll arrive sooner.  An extreme eagerness to get 5G up and running across the world means that we will see large-scale 5G NR (the global 5G standard) based services starting in 2019 along with pre-5G NR efforts starting as soon as the end of this year. One year sooner than originally expected may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re talking about the development of new technologies and new ecosystems, it’s massive. Read more of this post

Nokia Shuffle Intensifies Focus on Mobile and Services, but Managerial Changes Are Ill Timed

John Byrne

John Byrne – Service Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Nokia will divide up its Mobile Networks and Chief Innovation and Operating Officer units to align with the company’s ‘Rebalancing for Growth’ strategy unveiled in November 2016.
  • The moves create greater visibility for Nokia’s services unit, and should lead to improved operating efficiency and strategic investment, but significant management changes give the impression of disarray.

On March 17, Nokia announced changes in its organization and leadership team, to better execute the strategy unveiled by CEO Rajeev Suri at the company’s Capital Markets Day in November 2016:

  • Mobile Networks will be divided into two distinct organizations: Products & Solutions and Global Services. Marc Rouanne will assume control of the Products & Solutions unit, while current Mobile Networks President Samih Elhage will step down. Igor Leprince will continue to head up Global Services and will be added to Nokia’s Group Leadership Team (GLT), an indication of the growing importance of services.
  • Despite being placed within Mobile Networks, Global Services will house all managed network services and company-wide global service delivery. The Global Services unit will also be responsible for developing a common approach for processes and tools, managing a Services Committee to coordinate services development across different groups, with a common Customer Delivery Manager responsible for managing all services for a single customer.
  • Global Services will also continue to drive emerging strategic service areas such telco cloud, ‘x as a service’ (XaaS), prime integration and transformation consulting.
  • The former Chief Innovation and Operating Officer (CIOO) organization will be split into three: A traditional ‘operating’ unit will focus on internal operations, while responsibility for ‘innovation’ will revert to CTO Marcus Weldon and Chief Strategy Officer Kathrin Buvac. Monika Maurer, currently COO of the fixed business, will became company COO; both Maurer and Weldon will join the GLT. (Buvac is already a member.)

Read more of this post

AT&T, ECOMP and the Increasingly Difficult Pace of Virtualization

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Last week, AT&T leveraged its Shape event in San Francisco to unveil 5G launch plans, new virtualization goals for 2017, and herald the handover of ECOMP to the Linux Foundation.
  • While not immediately obvious, open-sourcing ECOMP and meeting its virtualization goals (75% of network functions by 2020) are intimately linked because, every year, virtualizing additional functions will only become harder and harder – and AT&T will need all the support it can find.

Last week, AT&T held its co-called Shape event in San Francisco.  On the agenda: progress with its AirGig solution, initial commercial 5G markets for this year and 2017 virtualization goals, and success in moving continued development of its ECOMP platform to the Linux Foundation.  Coming out of the event, an article from SDxCentral called out that these last two items were intrinsically linked – open sourcing ECOMP is critical to helping AT&T execute on its long-term virtualization goals. Read more of this post