Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Telecom Italia's Franco Bernabe Elected as Chairman of GSMA

The GSMA has elected Franco Bernabe, CEO of Telecom Italia, as its new Chairman for a two-year term, from January 2011 through December 2012. Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President and CEO, Telenor Group, was elected as Deputy Chairman. Rob Conway continues as CEO of GSMA.

In addition, 22 other people were elected to the GSMA Board.

BT and Saudi Telecom Link MPLS Networks

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and BT announced an interconnection of their MPLS networks.
BT has established a local MPLS Point of Presence (PoP) in Saudi Arabia to be operated by STC in conjunction with its own national and regional MPLS network.

MetroPCS Launches LTE in Boston, NYC and Sac

MetroPCS Communications has expanded its LTE network to the Boston, New York City and Sacramento metropolitan areas. MetroPCS LTE plans start at $55 per month including taxes and regulatory fees. Initially, METROPCS is providing Samsung Craft LTE handset with unlimited talk, text and enhanced entertainment and web browsing features.

MetroPCS' 4G LTE services are now available in nine metropolitan areas, including Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco. MetroPCS has plans to expand its 4G services into more metropolitan areas later this year and into early 2011, including Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa.

ADTRAN Intros Unified Threat Management Platforms

ADTRAN introduced its NetVanta 2000 Series of Unified Threat Management (UTM) solutions. The NetVanta 2000 Series includes four security appliances, each with one year of Continuous Threat Protection, SSL and IPSec VPN clients, anti-virus and anti-spyware clients, and all managed under a centralized global management system. The gateways provide real-time protection against viruses, spyware, intrusions, software vulnerabilities and other malicious code for business customers. The NetVanta series also provides application intelligence for identifying, categorizing and controlling applications on the network.

Solarflare Releases SFP+ Transceiver Module

Solarflare announced availability of a new SFP+ 10GBASE-SR optical transceiver module.
The new low-power module supports multiple types of optical fiber, including OM1, OM2 and OM3 multi-mode fiber, with standard LC connectors, and can drive OM3 fiber up to 300 meters to support cluster, data center and enterprise networking applications. Solarflare's SFP+ transceiver ensures its 10GbE server adapters deliver high-performance, low-latency, low-power and scalable I/O virtualization. The new SFP+ transceiver module is tested and compatible with all of Solarflare's single-port and dual-port SFP+ 10GbE server adapters in both enterprise and mid-range products.

Solarflare also offers a complete 10GBASE-T solution for twisted pair copper cabling based on its own physical layer 10GBASE-T ASICs. With the addition of the new SFP+ module, Solarflare now provides a complete optical fiber solution, featuring the SFP+ adapter and SFP+ optical modules.

Ericsson Wins 7-year Managed Services Contract with 3Italia

3 Italia awarded a seven-year managed services contract to Ericsson to modernize its IT infrastructure and systems including hardware and software, IP connectivity, operating systems and storage. The contract covers data center consolidation with hardware modernization, upgrade and consolidation of 3 Italia's software application domains, as well as transformation of operations and business support systems (OSS/BSS), for example systems for billing and customer relationship management. The new agreement builds on the managed services partnership established between 3 Italia and Ericsson in 2005. 3 Italia's current three data centers will be consolidated into two, located in Rome and Milan. http://www.ericsson.com

EC Approves NSN + Motorola Deal

The European Commission has cleared the acquisition of Motorola Network Business by Nokia Siemens Networks. The deal was found not to significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

Google Hires Milo Medin to Head Fiber Initiative

Google has appointed Milo Medin as Vice President, Access Services.

Google also said that it has delayed the selection of its first fiber community. Nearly 1,100 communities across the country have sought to participate in the Google fiber project, and the company said it needs more time to make its selection. A decision is expected early next year.http://googleblog.blogspot.com/
  • In February 2010, Google announced plans to rollout an "experimental" fiber-to-the-home network in test markets across the United States. Specifically, Google plans to offer a 1 Gbps home service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

  • Milo Medin previously served as co-founder of Chief Technology Officer of Excite@Home, a pioneer in residential broadband service, and later at M2Z Networks.

Long Term HSPA Evolution Promises 650 Mbps

An initiative is underway to push HSPA to downlink speeds of more than 650 Mbps by 2013.

Long Term HSPA Evolution, which is being driven by Nokia Siemens Networks and T-Mobile USA, aims to match the mobile broadband speeds promised by LTE Advanced by leveraging many of the same techniques. Long Term HSPA Evolution features would be backwards compatible and can be used together with existing WCDMA and HSPA mobiles on the same carriers. Key features of Long Term HSPA Evolution were accepted during the plenary meeting of 3GPP RAN held last week. These include:

  • HSDPA Multicarrier evolution: Combines up to eight carriers and provides peak data rates of up to 672 Mbps along with improving spectrum utilization. To overcome operators' spectrum fragmentation constraints, HSDPA carrier aggregation enables carriers from more than one frequency band to be combined.

  • HSDPA Multipoint transmission: Significantly increases the cell edge data rate by coordinating and combining signals from multiple antennas.

  • Dual antenna beamforming and MIMO in uplink: Improves the uplink performance with dual-antenna transmission, doubling the uplink peak data rate and improving the user average data rate by 30% with 2x2 MIMO/ beam forming. With 2x4 MIMO, over 100% increase in average user data rates can be achieved due to beam forming gain and four receive antennas in the base station.

The detailed specification work to deliver these features will take place in RAN working groups. Other Long Term HSPA Evolution features are expected to be considered in subsequent 3GPP meetings.

"The demand for higher data rates and mobile broadband growth continues to push the need for advances in both HSPA and LTE technologies," added Keith Sutton, head of the WCDMA business line for Nokia Siemens Networks. "We are thus equally committed to both technologies. As a leader in HSPA evolution, we have already demonstrated data rates exceeding 100 Mbps at the Mobile World Congress earlier this year. Today, we also have the largest number of HSPA customers with nearly 200 operators worldwide. Driving the standardization of the new technology is a natural extension of our efforts to realize the full potential of HSPA."

"We strongly believe in continued HSPA evolution in parallel to the further development of LTE and LTE Advanced," said Neville Ray, chief technology officer, T-Mobile USA. "Long Term HSPA Evolution will allow us to enhance our 4G mobile broadband network beyond its current and planned near term capabilities, and provide room for considerable growth and speed enhancements. As customer demand for wireless data increases, we are well positioned to compete based on the speed, breadth and evolution path of our mobile broadband service."

A white paper is posted on the NSN website:

Long Term HSPA Evolution - Mobile Broadband Evolution Beyond 3GPP Release 10 -- http://www.nokiasiemensnetworks.com/portfolio/products/mobile-broadbandhttp://www.nokiasiemensnetworks.com

Finland's Elisa Selects NSN for Mobile Upgrade

Elisa, a leading Nordic communications services provider, has selected Nokia Siemens Networks for the first phase of its LTE rollout, 3G expansions and upgrades as well as GSM modernization. As part of the agreement, Nokia Siemens Networks will deploy its Flexi Multiradio Base Stations and high capacity Multicontroller platform in the network. With these common platforms Elisa will significantly cut operational costs for GSM, 3G and LTE. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Choosing a local Finnish vendor, Nokia Siemens Networks, across our 4G, 3G and GSM technologies further tightens the good relationship between the companies. We are well prepared for providing a fantastic end user experience in new services via the 4G/LTE network. In parallel, we will significantly expand the 3G service and modernize the GSM network. This will guarantee also in the future the industry leading mobile broadband performance we already have for our customers," said Timo Katajisto, executive vice president, Elisa.

"We share a long history with Elisa since the first GSM call in 1991 and we are committed in building Elisa's new LTE network with the same pioneering enthusiasm and to providing the best and most cost-efficient solution for evolving all three radio technologies into one single radio access network (single RAN)," said Esa Harju, head of the Nordic and Baltic business, Nokia Siemens Networks.

Q&A on Long Term HSPA Evolution with Nokia Siemens Networks

Karri Kuoppamaki, Head of Technology; Karri Ranta-aho, Senior Specialist, 3GPP Standardization; and Ajit Kahaduwe, Head of Industry Environments.

Converge! -- What is the significance of Long Term HSPA Evolution for the industry?

NSN -- This is a pretty significant milestone. We as a company are firm believers in HSPA and that is why we are part of this initiative for driving further enhancements of 3GPP standards and taking HSPA beyond its current capabilities. The target we have in mind is to achieve peak data rates in excess of 650 Mbps in the downlink -- a significant improvement from where we are today.

Converge! -- How will you achieve this performance?

NSN We are looking at techniques that have already been discussed for LTE, such as using multiple antennas, carrier aggregation, and multiple transmission. We are not really reinventing the wheel here so much as taking existing building blocks and applying them in the context of HSPA. We are using proven technologies to enhance HSPA.

The existing 3GPP Release 10 already extends the carrier bandwidth beyond dual-carrier (already implemented in some networks today) to allow for 4 carriers. What we are now proposing for 3GPP Release 11 is to extend that to 8 carriers. This would cover 40 MHz of spectrum in one direction.

Converge! -- Is there a possibility of going beyond 8 carriers? What is the physical limit?

NSN Technically, the sky is the limit, but realistically it is a question of how much bandwidth an operator has at its disposal. Even if the technology would allow you to do more, there is only so much a network operator can actually posses and use for ordinary communication. So these 8 carriers would correspond to 40 MHz, which is already pushing the limit for many operators.

Converge! -- Do you need new silicon in the devices to enable 8 carriers?

NSN - That is correct. We will need a new round of devices, but as we introduce the new enhancements, we are not obsolescing the old devices. They will continue to coexist in the same bands.

Converge! -- Do you need changes in the base stations?

NSN - NSN's Flexi base station was developed to be modular and cater to future needs. Of course there will be some spectrum specifics that need to be looked at, for example on which bands this is deployed. But, in principle, we are evolving our base station for this.

Converge! -- Is Long Term HSPA Evolution an efficient use of spectrum as compared to LTE?

NSN It is an efficient use of spectrum and having a wider carrier is also going to bring benefits. You have more spectrum to schedule at your disposal which is going to improve the efficiency. There are benefits to going beyond 2-carriers from an efficiency standpoint. Some efficiency gains come from being able to choose which carrier to schedule at any given instant, so having more carrier to choose from is a benefit.

When we compare this to LTE, we are now talking about a comparable number of bits per hertz in efficiency.

Converge! -- Are there notable trade-offs for Long Term HSPA Evolution in terms of the number of simultaneous users, range or building penetration?

NSN We don't think there are any such trade-offs. In fact, some of the additional items being looked at for the next 3GPP Release will improve factors such as coverage. For instance, beam forming will improve data coverage beyond what it is today. In terms of the number of simultaneous users, these technologies do not effect that either. Generally, whenever we add bandwidth to a system, that automatically increases the number of simultaneous users that can be supported.

Converge! -- What are the implications for power efficiency for devices and for base stations?

NSN When we are talking of higher bandwidth and greater data flows, that means more processing is required and this puts more stress on the device's battery while the transmission is ongoing. On the other hand, the higher bandwidth means the transmission time will be reduced, so we may end up saving battery power.

Regarding the base station, it's no different from other transmissions. It comes down mainly to the power of the amplifier. For the actual baseband operation, the more users that we can support with a single processing element, the more energy efficient it will become. It is also good to remember that the existing HSPA standards are introducing a number of capabilities -- such as continuous packet connectivity -- that reduce power consumption and improve battery life. These are also applicable to Long Term HSPA Evolution.

Converge! -- Will Long Term HSPA Evolution be more suitable for the large, macro base stations or is it suitable for pico cells as well?

NSN From a technology perspective, there is no difference. It will come down to economics and the available bandwidth of the operators. The antenna placement may make this more applicable to smaller base stations, but cases may vary.

Converge! -- Which operators will be more interested in Long Term HSPA Evolution compared to LTE?

NSN These are not mutually exclusive. We at NSN believe in both LTE and HSPA Evolution. As LTE evolved, so too must HSPA. There are currently more than 350 commercial WCDMA networks which could benefit from this technology. One of the items that is being looked at in conjunction with this HSPA Evolution is HSPA + LTE Carrier Aggregation, which would be applicable for operators with both technologies. Carrier Aggregation, which is being considered for standardization, allows for load balancing between HSPA and LTE connections. A user could have simultaneous reception of HSPA and LTE. Basically, LTE already allows for aggregating carriers together; HSPA Evolution will do the same; and this technique would do this as well.

Converge! -- What are the next steps?

NSN We need to roll up our sleeves in the standards delegations and starting working on these new items that were opened last week. Then we must bring next wave of features to 3GPP for assessment.