Wednesday, March 4, 2015

5G PPP Aims to Put Europe back in Mobile Driving Seat

5G PPP, which is a public-private partnership between the European Commission and European industry and research community, outlined a vision to put Europe "back in the driving seat" mobile technology development.  The aim is to leverage 5G to create a single digital economy that connects people, things and services based on a plethora of innovation unseen before at such scale.

The 5G PPP alliance sees this next mobile technology cycle as more than an evolution of mobile broadband technology. It sees 5G as an enabler supporting all economic sectors as well as ever-growing consumer demand for new services. This is an opportunity for the European ICT sector, which contributes about 5% to Europe’s GDP, to expand its leadership position globally.

 The European Commission, with the approval of the European Parliament, has committed €700 million of public funds to support 5G PPP activities from 2014 to 2020.

At this week's Mobile World Congress, five EU-funded research projects are being showcased in areas such as new waveforms, cell densification, usage of spectrum above 6GHz and spectrum optimization.

Marvell Unveils 5-mode 4G LTE Release 10 Modem

Marvell unveiled a 5-mode 4G LTE Release 10 modem chipset supporting Carrier Aggregation.

The Marvell ARMADA Mobile PXA1826 extends the company's leadership in 64-bit quad-core and octa-core 4G LTE mobile processors for global markets.

Key features include:

  • Multi-mode LTE R10 CAT7 supporting TD-LTE, FDD-LTE, TD-SCDMA, WCDMA and GSM
  • Integrated Cortex A7, up to 1.2GHz
  • Support CSFB and VoLTE voice services
  • Includes Marvell’s LTE R10 RF transceiver

“I am very pleased to launch our industry-leading 5-mode 4G LTE Release 10 modem with carrier aggregation. Our leadership in 4G LTE technology and close collaboration with top global operators and tier-one OEMs have significantly accelerated the mass deployment of 4G LTE in China and around the world,” said Weili Dai, President and Co-Founder of Marvell. “Carrier aggregation is an important technology to increase capacity and enable new features in cellular communication.”

Intel Shows Low-Cost Atom Chipset, LTE-A Modem, Mobile Innovations

Intel unveiled several new mobile platforms at Mobile World Congress, including the company's new low-cost system-on-chip (SoC) for phones, phablets and tablets and a global LTE solution.

The Intel Atom x3 processor series (formerly code-named "SoFIA") is Intel's first integrated communications platform for entry and value devices.  It combines 64-bit multi-core Intel Atom processors together with 3G or 4G LTE connectivity.  The SoC combines the applications processor, image sensor processor, graphics, audio, connectivity and power management components in a single system chipset.

The rollout includes the Intel Atom x5 and x7 processor series (formally code-named "Cherry Trail") -- the first 14nm Intel Atom SoCs. These offer 64-bit support for Windows and Android, Intel Gen 8 graphics, and an option to pair with next-generation LTE Advanced connectivity.

Intel's third-generation LTE modem will support LTE Advanced Category 10 service. It offers 3x carrier aggregation and download speeds up to 450 Mbps. Intel also cited improvements in size and power efficiency.  At Mobile World Congress, the company also demonstrated a pre-5G concept system that combines LTE with 802.11ad to deliver speeds of more than 1 Gbps using Intel technology end-to-end.

Some other mobile innovations from Intel include "RealSense" depth sensing technology, wireless charging and "True Key" by Intel Security.

In addition, Intel highlighted joint efforts with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Huawei to address the demand for new telecommunications, cloud and data center services, improve network efficiencies, and accelerate the industry's move toward a software-defined infrastructure.

Docker Acquires SocketPlane for SDN Smarts

Docker announced its acquisition of SocketPlane, a start-up focused on Docker-native software defined networking. Financial terms were not disclosed.

SocketPlane, which was founded in Q4, 2014, has been an active participant in shaping the initial efforts around Docker’s open API for networking. The explicit focus of the SocketPlane team within Docker will be on collaborating with the partner community to complete a rich set of networking APIs that addresses the needs of application developers and network and system administrators alike. The company has six employees.
Docker brings networking to the application itself; all Docker containers can interact in concert as a distributed application securely over an IP infrastructure free from costly approaches like dedicated and proprietary application communication buses. 

“Networking is a critical part of the stack for distributed applications and has become an increasing area of focus within the Docker partner ecosystem due to the rapid growth in multi-container, multi-host applications,” said Solomon Hykes, chief architect of the Docker Project and founder and CTO of Docker, Inc. “To sustain the velocity of community advancements in open, modular and secure Docker networking, we felt we needed to support those efforts with a dedicated team. Given the SocketPlane team’s collective experience with virtually every open source SDN effort, we felt they were the right people to carry forward our ‘batteries included, but swappable’ approach to drive a thriving networking ecosystem.”

“We started SocketPlane with a goal of creating the best networking solution in the Docker ecosystem,” said Madhu Venugopal, CEO of SocketPlane. “We’re now excited to be broadening that vision to support and empower the partner ecosystem to create the best solutions possible for users. Given the myriad of networking use cases enabled by Docker, we believe strongly that we will be fostering broad opportunities for partners to build differentiated capabilities based upon Docker’s open standards.”

Telefónica and Ooredoo Enter Procurement Partnership

Telefónica and Ooredoo, a leading international telecommunications company operating across market in the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia, announced a strategic partnership.

Under the terms of the Agreement, both companies have agreed to work together to capture synergies in Procurement, the main area of cooperation. Both groups will focus on leveraging the economies of scale and the broad experience in centralized procurement of Telefónica. The aim of this collaboration will be the optimization of Ooredoo’s affiliates purchasing costs in selected types of network and customer equipment.  Both groups will work towards coordinating selected purchases “end to end”, including technical alignment of specifications, selection of vendors and synchronized negotiations.

TELUS Deploys ALU’s Enterprise Small Cell

TELUS is the first carrier to deploy a Qualcomm chipset-powered Enterprise Small Cell from Alcatel-Lucent.

The small cell device, which extends LTE, 3G and Wi-Fi coverage into offices and other buildings, is the result of a strategic partnership between Alcatel-Lucent and Qualcomm Technologies.

The device can be deployed, on walls or office ceilings to optimize coverage. A Software Defined Radio is used on the Enterprise Small Cell to allow operators to configure support for 3G, LTE or a mix of technologies.

  • In July 2013, Alcatel-Lucent and Qualcomm agreed to collaborate on small cell base stations for residential and enterprise environments. Specifically, the companies will jointly invest in a strategic R&D program to develop the next generation of Alcatel-Lucent lightRadio Small Cell products featuring Qualcomm Technologies’ FSM9900 family of Small Cell chipsets. The investment would be shared by Alcatel-Lucent and Qualcomm Technologies.

GSMA to Develop Common Remote SIM Provisioning Spec

The GSMA is working with mobile network operators, mobile device manufacturers and SIM vendors to create a common and global specification for the remote over-the-air provisioning and management of connectivity to consumer devices.

“Currently there is no agreed industry solution for how consumers can remotely connect devices to a mobile network,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “This announcement demonstrates that the industry is unified in working to create a common and interoperable specification that will reduce market fragmentation and maintain the experience of connecting devices in the future.”

The GSMA Consumer Remote SIM Provisioning initiative is leading and coordinating industry activities with a number of complementary “proofs of concept”, which together are contributing to the development of an end-to-end remote SIM solution. These have been designed to help shape the best technical specification for the mobile industry as well as for consumers. Participants will host a number of demonstrations at Mobile World Congress 2015 that will showcase the convenience and opportunity provided by remotely connecting new consumer mobile devices.

Results are expected in Q3 2015 with the delivery of a common specification for the remote provisioning of consumer devices anticipated by 2016.

Industry Support for Consumer Remote SIM Provisioning initiative
The GSMA Consumer Remote SIM Provisioning initiative has received strong industry support from mobile operators including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Whampoa, KDDI, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, Ooredoo, Telefónica, TeliaSonera, Telstra, Turkcell and Vodafone.

Deutsche Telekom and Microsoft Enter Partnership for Mobility and Cloud

Deutsche Telekom and Microsoft announced a broad, strategic partnership at Mobile World Congress. The companies agreed to expand the Microsoft ecosystem to new consumer and business customers. The partnership includes a joint international marketing campaign spanning advertising, sales support and training, custom application development, and experiential activities, tailored by market. As part of the deal DT will promote Microsoft Lumia smartphones and online services. Deutsche Telekom will be a Windows 10 launch partner.

"Deutsche Telekom has been a Microsoft device partner since the beginning. Its trusted brand and network excellence in Germany and across key European markets will be a strong force to jointly deliver Microsoft devices and services to more consumers and businesses throughout Europe," said Florian Seiche, vice president, Europe Region, Mobile Device Sales, Microsoft.

Spirent Tests Voice over Wi-Fi to VoLTE Handovers

Spirent Communications announced support for testing Wi-Fi Access Points through an RF interface on its Landslide platform.  This enables mobile operators to validate subscriber experiences as they move between nationwide mobile networks, carrier Wi-Fi hot-spots and private wireless networks.

The Spirent Landslide tests the performance and scalability of the Wi-Fi access point, Wi-Fi offload gateway and the mobile core network, enabling authentication and handover scenarios to be verified, as well as providing quality of experience metrics, including network availability, call setup time, call drops and voice quality for Voice over Wi-Fi testing.

“Verifying that handover and service quality of experience between cellular and Wi-Fi networks is secure and efficient is a critical aspect of deploying services like Voice over Wi-Fi,” said John Baker, general manager, Mobility Infrastructure business unit at Spirent Communications. “Landslide has long been the de facto solution in the industry for testing mobile core and Wi-Fi offload. For the first time ever, carriers can now employ a single, integrated platform to fully verify network performance end-to-end—including the critical handoff from a cellular to a Wi-Fi network”

Broadcom Innovation Powers KT 4G LTE Small Cell Deployments

KT has deployed small cells based on Broadcom's system-on-chip (SoC) devices to enhance its high speed 4G LTE wireless broadband services.

KT completed deployment and verification of its Broadcom-enabled small cells for commercial outdoor environments this quarter and plans to expand services to indoor residential locations in the second quarter of 2015.

"With growing requirements on voice and video media services, mobile subscribers now require better coverage and higher-capacity networks," said Mr. Sang-hoon Park, KT Corporation Vice President. "By integrating Broadcom's high-performance small cell SoCs into our overall 4G LTE deployment strategy, we can quickly and cost effectively address increasing capacity demands while optimizing spectral efficiency."

Broadcom’s chipset supports concurrent LTE in the Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) and Time Division Duplexing (TDD) modes as well as hosted Wi-Fi services.

Cavium Demos Cloud RAN on 48 Core 64-bit ARMv8-A ThunderX Chip

At this week’s Mobile World Congress, Cavium is showcasing its family of ThunderX ARMv8-A based processors for servers with support for full virtualization of base station functions in a Cloud RAN (Radio Access Network) environment.

The Cloud RAN implementation runs 3GPP LTE Release 9, with support for multiple radio heads across different frequencies. Cavium implements a "split MAC" architecture. It uses standard Ethernet unlike current C-RAN approaches that use CPRI and require dark fiber.

Cavium’s flagship ThunderX boasts up to 48 ARMv8-A (64-bit) cores in a highly integrated SoC.
"ThunderX is a highly competitive solution for CRAN and NFV applications delivering high performance with extremely attractive cost and power metrics," commented Raj Singh, Vice President and General Manager of Cavium's Wireless product lines. "This Cloud-RAN implementation demonstrates the raw performance of the ThunderX SoC, as well as the development advantages of a unified architecture."

In June 2014, Cavium introduced its line of "Project Thunder" 64-bit processors for next gen data centers, cloud and NFV applications. 

The new processors will pack up to 80 custom ARMv8 cores along with configurable/virtualized network and storage I/O options, and a set of configurable HW accelerators for different applications. 

Cavium will be offering four versions depending on the type of hardware accelerators on-board"  Compute ThunderX_CP, Networking ThunderX_NT, Storage ThunderX_ST and Security ThunderX_SC.  Sampling is expected in Q4 2014.

The new ARM-based devices will be implemented in 28nm technology.  Global Foundry is the fab.  Performance/Watt will be one of the key metrics that the ARM-devices will bring to the table. The company has commercially supported Linux OS partnerships lined-up with Canonical and MontaVista.  Cavium has also joined the Open Compute Foundation and said its ThunderX processors are well-suited for this architecture.

In the networking space, the ThunderX_NT processor is aimed at high-performance data plane applications, including NFV implementations, media servers and embedded applications. The devices will offer 10/40/100G I/O and full virtualization support.