Displaying items by tag: Mobile Networks
US telecommunications operator Sprint has posted a disappointing performance in its financial returns for Q4 in 2018.
Nokia has just revealed that Thai fixed and mobile network operator, True Group, has deployed Nokia's IP/MPLS routing technology to upgrade its broadband infrastructure in Bangkok in a network upgrade that was completed in May 2016.
According to Nokia, surging demand for ultra-broadband fixed and mobile services, such as high-definition video and business services, have helped drive a dramatic increase in data traffic across True's network, in both the city and its surrounding area.
Nokia is True is using Nokia technology “to provide flawless 4G LTE and 3G coverage to its 18 million mobile subscribers, high speed broadband to its 2.5 million broadband subscribers, and high quality pay TV service to its 3.2 million TrueVision customers.”
Nokia said that True would be able to use the infrastructure “to evolve to more dynamic agile services powered by software defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV).
True is using Nokia 7750 Service Routers (7750 SR) in Bangkok and the 7210 service access switch in the northeast, east and central west regions of Thailand.
True comprises three main businesses:
- True Mobile Group, which operates 3G and 4G LTE as well as 2G mobile businesses under the brands TrueMove H and TrueMove in the 850MHz and 2100MHz bands; TrueMove H claims to offer the largest 3G coverage and was the first to launch commercial 4G LTE services on 2100MHz in Thailand;
- TrueOnline, the largest fixed-line phone operator in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area (BMA) and the largest broadband and WiFi operator, claims to have the most comprehensive nationwide network using FTTx, DOCSIS 3.0 and xDSL technologies;
- TrueVisions, the largest nationwide pay TV operator and first to offer HD content.
True's major shareholders include the Charoen Pokphand Group, one of Asia's largest conglomerates, and China Mobile, the world's largest mobile telecommunications company by market capitalization and subscriber base.
As the demand for network traffic grows, network capacity must grow to meet this demand. Newer technologies allow greater capacity per cell site but this increase comes at a cost beyond the capital cost of the new equipment. Power consumption in cell sites is becoming a greater and greater portion of the overall network cost and operators are looking for methods to reduce these costs.
For a few years now, cloud-radio access networks (C-RAN) have been considered the next step in mobile networks. C-RAN will provide network operators with significant economic and operational advantages, including the centralization and virtualization of key network functions. In order to migrate to this new architecture, while at the same time support the massive growth of mobile data, operators need to utilize a fiber-deep access network with mobile fronthaul.
The current trend by mobile operators to address power and space requirements is to move to centralized-radio access networks (RAN) and eventually Cloud-RAN, (both abbreviated C-RAN), architectures. Both centralized-RAN and Cloud-RAN involve moving some parts of the radio network control function from being co-located with the antenna at the cell site, to locations deeper in the network and introduces a new transmission network into the overall mobile network infrastructure – mobile fronthaul. This new C-RAN architecture helps control ongoing operational costs and also greatly increases the flexibility of the network for small cell and macro cell deployments.
Active Telecoms recently visited with Jon Baldry at Infinera to get some insight into mobile fronthaul and where that market stands today. Those of us who deal with the optical transmission networks that provide the underlying plumbing to support these networks have been discussing mobile fronthaul for an equally long period. As with many new technologies, implementing these often takes quite a bit of time to come to fruition. Infinera first trialed mobile fronthaul in live operator networks back in 2013, which at the time was one of the first trials using active wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) technology. As pioneers in this market, they knew it would take a long time for mobile fronthaul technologies to become mainstream due to the complexity of the overall C-RAN architecture that mobile fronthaul supports.
C-RAN involves splitting two main functions that traditionally are located within the cell site and moving one of these to a centralized location a little deeper in the network. These two functions are the remote radio head (RRH) that remains in the cell site and the base band unit (BBU) that moves to the more centralized location, a “BBU hotel” in a central office location.
Mobile Fronthaul Implementation
One approach that operators have taken to lower power costs is to migrate from coax to fiber based interconnections between the baseband unit (BBU), which performs signal processing functions and creates the radio signal and the remote radio head (RRH), which converts the radio signal into a radio frequency (RF) signal. Some people refer to this as “fiber to the tower”.
With traditional copper interconnection, the BBU and RRH are collocated within a cabinet in the cell site and a coax cable is used to connect the RRH to the antenna at the top of the cell site. With fiber based interconnection the RRH is collocated with the antenna at the top of the cell site and interconnected to the BBU in the cabinet using a digital radio over fiber (D-RoF) protocol such as either the common public radio Interface (CPRI) or the open base station architecture initiative (OBSAI) protocols. The use of an optical interface is a much lower power consumption approach, especially at higher data rates within the cell.
Fiber Connected Antennas allow the Base Band Unit (BBU) to be moved from the Cell Site to a BBU “Hotel”, Bringing Advantages Such as Less Power and Space Consumption at Cell Sites and Migration to a Cloud-RAN (C-RAN) Architecture.
The BBU converts the desired digital signal into an analog signal ready for radio frequency (RF) transmission over the wireless network, and the RRH connects to the antenna to transmit this RF signal to end users over the air. By splitting these functions across two locations, operators can greatly reduce costs in the network through simpler and smaller cells sites and optimize the network for LTE-Advanced and 5G functions where complex multi-cell operations can be performed from a single location, the BBU hotel.
Now here’s the catch. The simplified cell site and the BBU hotel site contain multiple BBU instances that now need to communicate using an analog RF signal rather than the previous digital backhaul connection from the cell site. To enable transmission over a reasonable distance, this RF signal is digitized and transported using a protocol called common public radio interface (CPRI), creating a digitized RF domain within the transmission network that is termed mobile fronthaul, as opposed to mobile backhaul, which remains as the network from the BBU back to the mobile core.
The CPRI protocol is very sensitive to latency and transparent synchronization transfer by the underlying transmission system, so in most instances is limited to a distance of approximately 20 kilometers. This is a sufficient distance to build clusters of cell sites connected to a centralized BBU hotel location, but due to these sensitivities, the performance characteristics of the transport network become critically important. Anything other than excellent latency and sync performance quickly eats into the available distance budget or renders transmission of the CPRI protocol impossible. While mobile fronthaul might sound relatively easy to do, it is actually one of the most demanding applications within WDM networks.
Hutchison Global Communications First to Deploy Mobile Fronthaul Across Hong Kong
Infinera recently announced the deployment of the Infinera TM-Series Mobile Fronthaul Solution across HGC's optical network in Hong Kong. The TM-Series Mobile Fronthaul Solution is a leader in this emerging fronthaul market, boasting low latency, superior synchronization, low power consumption and high density. It will allow HGC to provide mobile operators with high capacity active mobile fronthaul services within the Hong Kong region.
HGC owns an extensive fiber-optic network in Hong Kong and provides a broad set of communications services based on a commitment to innovative application of the latest technologies. HGC's four cross-border routes integrated three of mainland China's tier-one telecommunications operators with a world-class international network. This allows HGC to provide a comprehensive range of fixed-line telecommunications services locally and overseas, meeting the needs of international and local carriers, data centers, corporate businesses and residential broadband services.
The rapid deployment of 3G and 4G, along with the unrelenting growth of video, social media and cloud applications accessed via smart phones and tablets, is creating the need for more bandwidth to the cell tower. Mobile operators like HGC’s sister company 3 Hong Kong are transforming their networks by driving fiber to the cell tower and moving to a centralized or cloud-RAN (Radio Access Network) architecture using Infinera’s groundbreaking TM-Series Mobile Fronthaul Solution. This new fronthaul architecture prepares HGC and its mobile operator customers not only for growth of 3G and 4G but also for a smooth transition to 5G services.
“We considered the mobile fronthaul solutions in the market and concluded that the Infinera TM-Series solution best enables HGC to deliver massive bandwidth with low latency, while being adaptive to the evolution of mobile technology,” said Byron Chiang, Chief Technology Officer of HGC. “The Infinera team was highly responsive, able to deliver quickly and implement services required by us.”
Mobile fronthaul networks vary and as a consequence require a range of deployment scenarios, covering simple point-to-point passive WDM using WDM filters only to support colored optics in the RRH and BBU, semi-passive options that add further management functions, and active WDM options using transponders and muxponders to support systems that can’t take colored optics or that require more advanced networking functions such as ring architectures.
Samih Elhage, president of Mobile Networks, Nokia, discusses the company's progress through the years including its significant transformation in the industry.
In an interview with Active Telecoms, Samih Elhage, president of Mobile Networks, Nokia, talked about the company's progress through the years including its significant transformation in the industry.
What has been Nokia's scope of operations for the past years?
For the last four years, we have been focusing on mobile networks and services, and we have built a very strong technology leadership position. We wanted to create scale and scope; hence, the strategic logic to acquire Alcatel-Lucent. We gained technical control of Alcatel-Lucent in January, and have just completed a second opening of the public exchange offer, with Nokia owning around 91 percent of Alcatel-Lucent's shares.
Our objective was to create scale in mobile, but at the same time to expand the scope by widening the portfolio. The combined companies represented more than 26 billion Euros in net sales in 2015, with very decent operating profitability. We decided within the new Nokia to organize the company with four business groups plus Nokia technologies.
One of the groups is mobile networks, which will be our largest business with around 60,000 employees and number one in the market in LTE, which is the forward-looking technology for the years to come. Mobile networks is also starting to significantly shift resources towards 5G, consistent with our goal to be a leader in this area.
The second group is fixed networks, including copper-based and fiber-based solutions, and number one in BDSL in the market.
The third business group is responsible for IP routing and optical networks, which will make us number two on a global basis in IP routing. And our optical business is number one in Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
As for the fourth group, it's application and analytics, which is the set of a software capabilities that is required to improve the services end-to-end on the network infrastructure. This includes analytics, customer experience management, security and communication suites for the enterprise environment.
The fifth group is called Nokia technologies, with a focus on monetizing our IP assets, where we have more than 30,000 patent families, as well as the incubation of new technologies in media, healthcare, etc.
There are two lines of businesses that were divested by Nokia, which are BSS and microwave. With the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, will you go back to this business, especially now that Alcatel is active in these two lines?
Our strategy is to continue to focus on these businesses and to become number one or two in every single business we play in; it's an extremely important business strategy. So now the new Nokia includes a line for OSS, BSS and microwave, where we have a very good microwave business which is run by the vertical general manager under mobile networks business group. As for the BSS solution, it runs under the application and analytics business group.
It's worth mentioning that when we were in Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) we decided to sell these businesses because they were very small. But the situation has changed significantly with the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent.
Last year, it was mentioned that Nokia will return to dealing with devices, especially after the launch of a tablet under your brand name. Are there any plans to continue with this?
Nokia has a very strong brand. Actually, we didn't launch a tablet within Nokia, but we licensed the Nokia brand in cooperation with a particular player. Brand licensing is one of Nokia Technologies' focus areas. As for the rumors, we don't have anything new to say on that, I'm afraid.
On a global scale, what are your plans towards 5G?
First, we believe LTE will come in multiple phases to continue to improve the capabilities of networks. As you know, we now have LTE-Advanced; there will be LTE-Advanced Pro and then we will reach 5G. We believe there will be an evolution from LTE to 5G, and for this reason we are investing heavily in 5G. We have specific customers lined up to start to evolve with us in 5G, and this is really the initial manifestation of the demonstration of the capability of 5G which will start in 2017.
Is there any specific speed that you will reach in your lab testing?
With LTE we are currently seeing peak rates of approximately 1 gigabits per second (Gbps) possible in a commercial environment. This will go up to beyond 3 Gbps with LTE-Advanced Pro and then 5G will continue the trend; and, we have demonstrated 30 Gbps at Mobile World Congress.
On a regional scale, which region will be the largest to new Nokia?
In the new Nokia, we serve the top 15 operators around the globe. Based on the pro forma figures for the new organization, North America is the biggest region. As you know, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are four large operators where we have a very strong position. The second biggest region is Europe, then Asia-Pacific, China, Middle East and Africa and Latin America. Having said that, we have a very well-balanced distribution of the business around the globe.
Since the standardization of 5G has started early, which spectrum will you be using?
It depends on the customer that we are working with. We will use around 2.6 GHz and then it depends on the countries which would like to use different spectrum. As for the standardization, usually 3GPP will come first before productization of the technology, but the problem that we are facing now is that the cycle of technology is becoming shorter so we can't wait for this long period of standardization. We are definitely continuing to innovate while at the same time continuing to work on the standards.
What will the acquisition of Alcatel bring to the French speaking countries?
It's worth mentioning that from a technology perspective in the total market, we are bringing the full solutions for the operators whether in mobile network, broadband access, copper-based or fiber-based technology, optical or routing. We are bringing the full scope of technologies and networking capabilities to serve operators' needs.
Moreover, we have a very strong innovation capability. In 2015, we had around 4.5 billion Euros of R&D spend with 40,000 thousand R&D engineers spanning all these technologies. More importantly, within the R&D capability, we have what we call Nokia future works and technologies which drives innovation.
And now with this Alcatel combination we have Bell Labs which is a very well-known name for very advanced innovation. As for what we can bring to the operators in Africa with the technologies that we have, it's complete in the sense that we have fixed-based solutions and microwave.
Is it easy for Nokia to digest more people inside its culture, since you already had Motorola and now Alcatel?
We don't see it as an issue because we believe that every company brings a heritage of a capability that is strengthening Nokia. As an example, when we acquired Motorola, it brought with it significant quality processes that improved our quality in products and services as well as managing our customers.
Now with Alcatel we are bringing another set of capabilities, but what holds these different capabilities together is our culture. It is based on high performance culture by which you manage the mode of operations of the day to day business. Secondly, the behavior is what you need to have in order to achieve the business objectives. This behavior is driven by set of values which is based on respect, trust, achievement and renewal which is very important for us as a senior executive team and which we institute in our company, bringing it together.
When we started back in 2007 - and look where we are today - it's clear the company went through multiple evolutions. In the days when we did the transformation of Nokia Siemens Networks, we had to reduce the company from 73,000 people to 48,000, but in reality, we reduced the company by more than 48,000 people and we rehired more than 17,000 people. Having said that, looking at the diversity of perspective and roots of innovation, this creates strength for the company.
You had a bigger presence at the MWC 16. What are the significant innovations that you have you showcased?
We focused a lot on our innovation capability, so you have seen lots of specific cases in the different areas of cloud such as networking capabilities. We have shown lots of capabilities related to LTE-Advanced Pro, 5G, the internet of things, application and analytics, services and how we optimize the networks, core networking and specifically how we are evolving the monolithic network architecture to cloud-based, end-to-end architecture.
How are you accelerating the process towards a smart world?
First, let me tell you about our vision which is the programmable world. It is a high level view of things, but we believe in expanding the human possibilities of technologies. Our vision is really how we want to make the world a better place, and how we believe the world will become a better place driven by making everything connected. This is the center of what IoT is all about; you have these set of devices that are connected with the people.
On top of it will come the software and networking capabilities to bring meaning to these connections, and then on top of that you have set of applications and analytics in order to allow you to drive specific applications. The world is becoming smarter by enabling everything that gets connected to get connected, and giving the ability to create meanings to these connections. And this definitely brings a smart enterprise, city and home, all this to become part of the internet of things.
After joining Nokia, what kind of transformation has the company been through?
I started in Nokia Siemens Networks in 2012 as COO. Then, in 2013, I became COO and CFO until I became the president of mobile networks on January 8, 2016. So, the transformation of the company started back in 2012; we were able to strengthen the profitability by reinforcing our portfolio and market position on a global basis. Part of the transformation is the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent which allowed us to get the scale and scope, and I was part of this team which drove this significant step.
Therefore, now as part of my new role I will continue to strengthen Nokia's market position and technology innovation, as well as lead the market in providing new capabilities to enable the new vision of the world, and providing the network capabilities to our customers that they can give to their customer or end users.
Where does Nokia stand from a digital transformation perspective?
For the last few years, we started to build a foundation for our digital transformation by significantly revamping our IP infrastructure and by the evolution of our IP infrastructure to the cloud. However, in addition to that, we need to have new set of networking capabilities to allow us to optimize the mode of operations on a daily basis to serve our customers, or to enable our employees to be more efficient in managing the business on a daily basis.
But at the same time, we are still at a point where we believe we have lots of things to do, and for this reason, we have a very aggressive strategy in this regard. In services, for instance, we have started to use digital robots to help us optimize our services capabilities. We have the foundation now; we have started to build, but we still have a lot to do in the digital business.
What are your plans for the Middle East region?
Middle East and Africa is a very important region for us because we have a very good growth potential across different areas of technology. So our strategy is to continue to increase growth in technologies that can allow us to expand the networking capabilities in LTE and LTE-Advanced Pro, as well as expanding broadband, IP routing capabilities and fiber optics network infrastructure. And on top of this, we will continue to create the overall servicing capabilities that are necessary to manage the networks in an effective way.