Samsung’s Bold Commitment to a 5G Future Gives Its RAN Business Short Shrift

Ed Gubbins – Senior Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• Samsung’s bold announcement of $160 billion investment in the future missed an opportunity to highlight its 5G mobile access infrastructure capabilities.

• At this crucial inflection point in the run-up to the 5G era, Samsung’s longtime-underdog RAN business shouldn’t take a back seat in high-level messaging.

Samsung this week announced sweeping plans to invest a total of KRW 180 trillion (or about $160 billion) over the next three years in future growth areas including artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, automotive electronics components, and biopharmaceuticals.

Given the intended impact of the announcement, it’s surprising that Samsung didn’t take the opportunity to make a stronger statement about its role in 5G mobile access infrastructure. True, the release does state that the Korea-based tech giant “will also invest aggressively to become a global player in the advanced markets for 5G chipsets and related devices and equipment.” If that last word can be read to include mobile networking gear, then at least part of a single word in the 820-word message was aimed at capturing 5G networking mind share – not exactly a ringing bell.
Continue reading “Samsung’s Bold Commitment to a 5G Future Gives Its RAN Business Short Shrift”

AT&T SHAPE 2018: Visions of New Content Creation and Delivery Innovations

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • AT&T SHAPE 2018 preceded AT&T’s federal court win and subsequent closing of its acquisition of Time Warner by just over a week, highlighting AT&T’s confidence that it had the firm legal standing/precedent to move forward.
  • The focus of AT&T SHAPE 2018 was dramatically different from the 2017 version; for 2018, AT&T and partner vendors highlighted how new content will be both created and delivered to its customers.

AT&T’s SHAPE event took place once again in Burbank, California, during the first weekend in June. In some respects, SHAPE 2018 built upon the foundation set at last year’s SHAPE event. As in 2017, the SHAPE 2018 showcased the content and creative assets AT&T would take ownership of (i.e., Warner Brothers Studios) by utilizing the WB campus again, perhaps to reiterate the magnitude, breadth, and depth of the WB assets, both physically and virtually, and the vital role AT&T sees them playing under the AT&T umbrella. AT&T’s own description of SHAPE was of “an immersive event that explores the convergence of technology and entertainment.” Continue reading “AT&T SHAPE 2018: Visions of New Content Creation and Delivery Innovations”

Liberty Media’s Formula 1 OTT Snafus Underscore the Importance of Video Infrastructure

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • Formula 1 debuted its direct-to-consumer, OTT streaming service, F1 TV Pro, at last month’s Spanish Grand Prix. It was a massive, embarrassing failure, with many customers actually unable to watch the live stream of the race itself.
  • Formula 1 owner Liberty Media needs to address any/all issues quickly, to ensure optimal quality of service (QoS) and experience (QoE) for this premium, live broadcast streaming service or face the prospect of losing a high-potential (and high-margin) revenue-generation opportunity.

Formula One (F1) marked the start of its European season this past weekend with the debut of its own direct-to-consumer, over-the-top (OTT) streaming video service, F1 TV Pro. Given F1’s position as the most watched, globally prominent, high-profile motorsport, service quality expectations were quite high. Instead, subscribers were served massive helpings of disappointment, most notably by being unable to watch an actual live stream of the race itself. Sadly, similar problems occurred during F1 TV Pro’s streaming of the next race, at Monaco, which is generally regarded as Formula 1’s marquee event of the year. In response, Formula 1 has set up a help account on Twitter (@F1Help) to address streaming issues. Still, some customers claimed to miss the first eight minutes of the Monaco race; @F1Help’s official post cited a “temporary blip” as the cause. Continue reading “Liberty Media’s Formula 1 OTT Snafus Underscore the Importance of Video Infrastructure”

How 5G Could Kill Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)

Ed Gubbins – Senior Analyst

Summary Bullets:
• DAS will face steep hurdles in evolving to the 5G era.

• Vendors of distributed small-cell enterprise RAN solutions, once content to aim down-market from DAS, are increasingly aimed at competing with DAS head-on, exploiting DAS’s 5G vulnerabilities.

• However, any threat posed to DAS by 5G is likely to take years to have effect, increasing the long-term uncertainty surrounding these trends.

5G — in its early implementations, at least, aimed at mobile broadband, rather than the Internet of Things (IoT) — will be more evolution than revolution, boosting speeds that were already increasing steadily via advances in LTE technology. But in at least one respect, even 5G mobile broadband promises to do something truly disruptive: It could mean the demise of DAS.

That’s no small matter. Some estimates put the global DAS market well north of $6 billion annually. Walk into any stadium, hospital, shopping mall, or big-box store and make a mobile call; odds are you’re using a DAS, a carrier-neutral network that distributes the signals of multiple operators using shared antennas and other gear so that each operator doesn’t need its own separate in-building network. Continue reading “How 5G Could Kill Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)”

ZTE’s TITAN-ic Gamble: Does a Massive OLT/Transport Platform Make Sense in an Increasingly Decentralized, Software-Defined Landscape?

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • ZTE’s demonstration of 50G PON, specifically single-lambda, symmetric 50G PON at OFC 2018, highlights the vendor’s R&D commitment in the evolving FTTP markets.
  • ZTE still needs commercial proof points for its new TITAN OLT/optical transport solution, especially in light of the trend towards decentralized, virtualized, and software-defined fixed access networks.

The annual Optical Fiber Communication (OFC) conference in the U.S. took place in San Diego earlier this month. Inevitably, the event provides the opportunity for vendors to showcase both their current product portfolios and prototype technologies. To this end, ZTE took full advantage of exposure provided by OFC to demo a 50G PON solution, specifically, a single-wavelength, symmetric 50G PON. The single-lambda approach distinguishes ZTE’s 50G proposition from other ‘ultra-PON’ offerings, i.e., those delivering 50 or 100G PON via multiple wavelengths. Continue reading “ZTE’s TITAN-ic Gamble: Does a Massive OLT/Transport Platform Make Sense in an Increasingly Decentralized, Software-Defined Landscape?”

LiFi Verging Ever Closer to Reality

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Investments by numerous vendors over the past few years in ‘LiFi’ are resulting in meaningful progress in 2018. A trial announced by Philips Lighting in March represents a huge endorsement.
  • While the technology remains several years away from commercial products, LiFi represents a truly disruptive technology that could augment traditional cellular and WiFi.

News flash: With seemingly insatiable customer demand for high-speed data and streaming video, network operators are increasingly concerned about how they can keep pace. And much of that concern centers on ‘bandwidth.’ Traditional cellular radio technologies are constrained, and operators and regulators are scrambling to find new spectrum on which to provide service, particularly with the 5G era looming. WiFi provides an effective tool to extend cellular or fixed coverage into homes and businesses, but it is difficult to seamlessly integrate into other networks and is racked with security vulnerabilities. Continue reading “LiFi Verging Ever Closer to Reality”

OFC 2018: Nokia’s New PSE-3 DSP Chipset Pushes Optical Transmission Closer to the Shannon Limit

Emir Halilovic – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • PCS Maximizes Fiber Utilization: The PSE-3 DSP relies on PCS modulation to increase available bandwidth per fiber close to its theoretical maximum.
  • PSE-3 Simplifies Network Operations: PCS enables the PSE-3 to tune its wavelength capacity from 100G to 600G, using a single modulation format, baud rate, and channel size.

Nokia’s new Photonic Service Engine 3 (PSE-3) is designed to improve optical performance, flexibility, and programmability across a wide range of wavelength capacities. To achieve this, the new DSP chipset utilizes probabilistic constellation shaping (PCS) – a modulation technique which improves optical reach performance by approximately 1 dB, or roughly 25% (compared to the most advanced optical systems today). This brings the optical system performance, according to Nokia, within a fraction of a dB of Shannon theoretical limits. Continue reading “OFC 2018: Nokia’s New PSE-3 DSP Chipset Pushes Optical Transmission Closer to the Shannon Limit”