Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SK Telecom is First to Launch LTE-Advanced Service

SK Telecom launched the world's first LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) service through smartphones.

The LTE-A service offers download speeds of up to 150 Mbps, which is two times faster than its regular LTE service, and 10 times faster than its 3G network. LTE-A coverage initially is available in Seoul and central city areas of Gyeongg-do and Chungcheong-do.  Expansion to 84 cities nationwide is planned.

At top speed, LTE-A users can download an 800MB movie in just 43 seconds.

The LTE-A implementation leverages several advanced mobile network technologies including Carrier Aggregation (CA) and Coordinated Multi Point (CoMP). SK Telecom plans to implement Enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (eICIC) in 2014.

CA supports up to 150 Mpbs speed by combining two 10 MHz components carriers to form an effective bandwidth of 20 MHz. The company said further advancements should yield rates up to 300Mbps speed by aggregating two 20MHz component carriers by 2015, and become capable of combining three component carriers by 2016. An uplink capability using carrier aggregation should also be possible by 2016.  The current CA standards allow for up to five 20 MHz carriers to be aggregated.

SK Telecom is offering LTE-A service at LTE prices.  Customers will not have to pay more for the faster service.

Samsung's Galaxy S4 LTE-A smartphone is the first compatible device It will come in two colors, red (exclusively available at SK Telecom) and blue. The operator has secured an initial supply of 20,000 units of Galaxy S4 LTE-A. SK Telecom expects to have seven LTE-A devices on offer later this year.

SK Telecom' LTE-A phones will feature embedded services like 'Safe Message' and 'Safe Data Backup'. Safe Message is designed to protect users from smishing (SMS phishing) attacks by enabling them to check whether the message is sent from a trusted source; and 'Safe Data Backup' enables users to upload personal data stored in their smartphones to the cloud server to keep data safe from smartphone loss and accidental deletion. The company also plans to mount these features on all its to-be released LTE phones as well.

Some additional network service innovations from SK Telecom:

  • SK Telecom is launching a group video calling service for up to four users. The service, an upgraded version of the 3G network-based multi-party video conferencing service, will support 12 times better video quality and 2 times clearer audio quality.
  • SK Telecom's 'Btv mobile,' an IPTV service with 550,000 paid subscribers, will begin providing full HD (1080p resolution) video streaming service, for the first time in the world, from early July. Full HD video streaming requires a speed of 2Mbps or above, which is well supported by the LTE-A network.
  • The company will also launch 'T Baseball Multiview,' to enable users to watch two different games on one screen in July 2013. T Baseball is a free, real-time professional baseball game broadcast service optimized to the LTE network. Launched in August 2012, the service is currently enjoyed by 1.1 million users.
  • SK Telecom plans to launch 'T Freemium 2.0,' a free multimedia content package that offers three times more contents – e.g. dramas, TV entertainment shows, music videos, sports game highlights, etc.- than its previous version, 'T Freemium,' in July 2013.
  • SK Telecom plans to launch a new HD video-based shopping service in August 2013 to make shopping more fun and convenient for customers. Users will be able to seamlessly watch 6 different home shopping channels on one screen.
  • SK Telecom's online/mobile music portal service MelOn just opened a new service category to allow users to listen to original CD quality music by downloading Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) files.
  • SK Telecom will hold a large-scale contest named 'LTE-A i.con' to boost the creation and provision of diverse innovative contents and applications optimized for the LTE-A network.

NTT Comm Launches SDN-based Cloud Migration Service

NTT Communications is launching the world’s first software-defined networking (SDN)-based cloud migration service.

The NTT Comm On-premises Connection links customer on-premises systems with NTT Com’s Enterprise Cloud via the Internet using SDN technology.

NTT Comm said overcoming complexity will be the driving factor when considering migrating an application from on-premise to the cloud as this requires servers and data to be transferred sequentially.  Conventionally, this involves many changes to network equipment settings and IP addresses in both servers and clients, which is a huge headache for many customers.

NTT Comm's  On-premises Connection Service greatly simplifies the process through incorporation of unique SDN technology, which NTT Com developed in cooperation with VMware.

Some highlights:

  • By connecting on-premises systems and cloud in the same network segment using SDN-compatible gateway equipment installed in the customer’s system, the service substantially reduces the workload normally required to design and configure on-premises networks. Also, once in the cloud environment after migration, customers can continue to use the existing IP addresses of their on-premises systems, a further reduction of workload.
  • Highly secure, encrypted data can be transferred between on-premises systems and Enterprise Cloud via the Internet at up to 100 Mbps. SDN technology enables customers to make changes promptly and flexibly, such as adjusting bandwidth to transfer large data in off-peak hours. Customers can even use their existing Internet connection lines for cloud migration.
  • On-demand use helps to minimize the cost of cloud migration because payment for the service, including gateway equipment, is on a per-day basis.

 The initial fee of 231,000 yen includes the cost of installing gateway equipment at the customer’s site. The daily charge is 11,718 yen and the maximum monthly charge has a ceiling of 234,150 yen. Internet connection from on-premises systems and two fixed global IP addresses for gateway equipment are charged separately.

The service is available in Japan starting this week and will be offered later in other markets worldwide.

ZTE Develops Cloud Radio Scheduling/Coordination Functions for LTE

ZTE is showcasing a new Cloud Radio Solution for 4G network optimization at the Mobile Asia Expo conference in Shanghai. China Mobile is already testing ZTE’s Cloud Radio Solution to optimize trial TD-LTE networks in Guangzhou.

ZTE's Cloud Radio features newly developed Cloud Scheduling and Cloud Coordination modules for LTE network operators.

ZTE’s Cloud Scheduling module utilizes a central scheduler to manage network resources on a real-time basis and achieve unified network scheduling. The Cloud Coordination module enables seamless and borderless coordination for the whole network to improve user experience. Cloud Scheduling realizes coordination at the cell level from a macro perspective, while Cloud Coordination realizes coordination at the user level from a micro perspective. The two-level coordination helps operators build smooth LTE networks.

The company said its Cloud Radio solution will prove most use for mitigating signal interference issues at the cell edge. multiple-layer coordination within bases stations and network users, the approach should lead to a better user experience.

In April 2013, ZTE and China Mobile conducted the Phase I Cloud Radio Solution verification in a project site in Guangzhou. When the Cloud Scheduling function was enabled with the network at more than 70% loading, the data throughput volume of cell edge users increased by 40%. When the Cloud Coordination function was enabled, the throughput volume increased between 20% and 100%, with the improvement most pronounced for cell edge users. The test by ZTE and China Mobile was the first site-level verification of LTE-Advanced coordination technology in the global telecommunications industry.

China Mobile has now expanded the scale of the test in order to collect more performance data. In June 2013, ZTE and China Mobile started the Phase II large-scale Cloud Radio verification in the Tianhe commercial area of Guangzhou, a complex wireless environment with a variety of data transmission requirements.

ZTE Hits 1Gbps with LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation

ZTE has achieved wireless data transmission rates of 1 Gbps in a live demonstration using LTE-Advanced.

In the demonstration, ZTE deployed Carrier Aggregation technology with four carrier frequencies on the F-band(1.9G Band) and D-band (2.6G Band). Carrier Aggregation is a core technology in the LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) standard, combining two or more carrier frequencies sharing the same or different bands into one channel, increasing the peak transmission speeds of TD-LTE cells by multiple times. ZTE used three carrier frequencies in the 2.6 G band, and on carrier in the 1.9 G band to complete the 1Gbps (F+D CA @ 4×4MIMO) demonstration successfully.

Broadcom's Latest StrataXGS Switch Delivers 10GbE Mobile Backhaul

Broadcom introduced its latest StrataXGS Ethernet switch chip for the aggregation layer of mobile backhaul networks.

The StrataXGS BCM56450 switch features a traffic manager that provides fine-grained quality of service and offers 10Gbps serial interfaces.  The single-chip solution, which is part of Broadcom's switching portfolio for network access and aggregation, integrates many capabilities onto a single device, including high bandwidth switching with a control-plane processor, hierarchical traffic management, packet timing recovery, and advanced operation, administration and maintenance (OAM) functions.

The network aggregation layer could be used for multiple network architecture, including those based on VLANs, MPLS or MPLS-TP.

Key Features

  • Advanced OAM functions and hardware-based protection switching enable a highly reliable backhaul network
  • Fully integrated timing solution with integrated digital phase-locked loop and 1588 v2 and synchronous Ethernet hardware support provides highly accurate time synchronization
  • Carrier Ethernet packet processor delivers line-rate L2 and VLAN switching, L3 routing, MPLS, MPLS-TP, and provider backbone bridging (PBB) while supporting L2, L3, MPLS, or PBB deployment models
  • Channelization over Ethernet and hierarchical traffic manager with DDR3-based packet buffer memory provides fine grained quality of service (QoS) to aggregate sub-1G microwave and small cell backhaul networks
  • On-chip ARM-based CPU and integrated 10G optical PHYs reduce bill-of-materials cost and enable a compact system design

The device, which is currently sampling, is implemented in 40nm. Production is slated for 1H 2014.

Oracle's Gatekeeper Provides Carrier Billing, QoS Control for OTT Services

Oracle released a new version of its Communications Services Gatekeeper featuring pre-integrated solutions to help network operators monetize over-the-top (OTT) content.

Essentially, the Oracle Communications Services Gatekeeper is an open, standards-based service exposure platform. The new release provides  analytics and partner management portals that leverage APIs to track and bill for specific OTT services.

The Oracle Communications Services Gatekeeper runs on commercial-off-the-shelf platforms and offers built-in integration to Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF), online charging systems and network call control.

“In a competitive communications marketplace, it is vital that CSPs can rapidly deploy new and exciting services that meet customer and partner expectations. The latest release of Oracle Communications Services Gatekeeper provides CSPs with industry-standard technology combined with sophisticated management tools and analytics to securely open up networks to third-party services and applications while also helping to monetize those services and increase customer satisfaction,” said Bhaskar Gorti, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Communications.

ADVA's 16G Fibre Channel Gains Brocade Gen 5 Qualification

ADVA Optical Networking's 16 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) card has achieved Brocade qualification. The card delivers 16 Gbps FC over wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) networks, enabling enterprises to transport data across increasingly large distances.  It has now completed interoperability testing as part of Brocade's Gen 5 Fibre Channel program and has already been deployed by a number of financial organizations.

“The continued explosion in bandwidth demand, when combined with growing expectations to access data-intensive applications, is driving customer need for the combination of ADVA Optical Networking transport solutions linked by Brocade Gen 5 Fibre Channel technologies,” said Jack Rondoni, vice president, Data Center Storage and Solutions at Brocade. “The increased performance of Brocade Gen 5 Fibre Channel technology better enables the functionality of the ADVA FSP 3000 by simplifying network operations and improving network resiliency.”