Tuesday, July 25, 2017

MEF aims to define the future of Lifecycle Service Orchestration – Part 1

by Bartosz Michalik of Amartus

MEF is an industry body that, besides other activities, defines the LSO capabilities and APIs to automate the entire service lifecycle in a sustainable fashion. This activity will allow service providers to attain coordinated management and control across all network domains responsible for delivering end to end connectivity services. In order to enable that coordinated management and ensure efficient communication within networks, MEF has defined the reference architecture. In short, this architecture comprises functional blocks and 'LSO Reference Points'. Reference Points are the logical points of interaction between specific functional management components, such as business applications, service orchestration functions (SOF), or infrastructure management and control applications (ICM). The Presto Management Interface Reference Point is the 'north-south' interface for network resource provisioning that sits between the SOF and ICM, and according to MEF 55 (https://wiki.mef.net/display/CESG/LSO+Presto), it is "needed to manage the network infrastructure, including network and topology view related management functions".

Currently, the LSO Presto API efforts are spearheaded by CenturyLink, with active contributions from Amartus, Ciena, Cisco, Ericsson, Infinera and NEC.

Industry-wide Collaboration Accelerates Realization of the Third Network Vision

Last year, MEF began the process of specifying the industry standard to accelerate the adoption of orchestrated network services. Enabling and assuring Third Network services across multiple provider networks calls for an industry-wide collaboration because of the involved level of complexity. In order to facilitate that cooperation and complement the work of its Technical and Operations Committee, MEF has come forward with a number of initiatives.

What emerged from that work was a plan to support and validate the work around MEF standards and LSO architecture by delivering open and close source reference implementations that realize the ideas defined in MEF 55 specification, outlining the LSO Reference Architecture and Framework. MEF has launched a series of initiatives that allow the in-network validation of Lifecycle Service Orchestration data models and interfaces. The current effort of the working groups is streamlined under the umbrella terms of Open Lifecycle Service Orchestration (OpenLSO) and Open Connectivity Services (OpenCS) ecosystems.

OpenLSO is focused on the implementation of functions and APIs specific for service orchestration functionality (SOF). It primarily targets service providers who are accelerating their adoption of LSO to enjoy all benefits of end to end service orchestration over standard MEF services. OpenCS focuses on Presto NRP, which is an LSO interface reference point (IRP) specific for infrastructure and control management (ICM). OpenCS provides reference implementations of connectivity services using combinations of open and close source software, open hardware, SDN, NFV and Carrier Ethernet (CE) 2.0-certified devices. To leverage these technologies, MEF develops this work stream in close cooperation with open source projects such as ON.Lab, OpenDaylight and OPNFV. This ecosystem should be of interest to those service providers that are adopting SDN and NFV to deliver MEF-defined connectivity services.

About the author

Bartosz Michalik is a Software Architect at Amartus, a Certified MEF Engineer, and a holder of the MEF Recognition Award for LSO Hackathon blogging and facilitation. He leads the LSO Presto Hackathon project, and co-leads the OpenCS Packet WAN project together with Donald Hunter from Cisco. He is also a contributor to the Open Daylight UniMgr project. E-mail me at a Bartosz.Michalik@amartus.com with any questions or queries.

(NB: Further information about MEF's Third Network Vision and Lifecycle Service Orchestration is available here: https://www.mef.net/third-network/lifecycle-service-orchestration)

Singtel launches 800 Mbit/s mobile data

Singtel of Singapore announced it is beginning a phased launch of near-gigabit speeds on its LTE Advanced network at selected high-traffic outdoor locations across the island, starting with Orchard Road.

Offering data rates of up to 800 Mbit/s, Singtel claims that the new service is Southeast Asia's fastest LTE mobile data peak speed, delivering up to 60% faster download speeds than existing LTE services that offer speeds of up to 450 Mbit/s.

The operator stated that the near-gigabit transmission speeds are enabled by scaling pre-5G technology solutions, 4 x 4 MIMO and 256QAM, combined with triple carrier aggregation (CA) of spectrum exclusive to Singtel.

Following the initial launch, customers with Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphones will be able to access the 800 Mbit/s peak speeds at the outdoor areas of Shaw Centre, ION Orchard and Tang Plaza along Orchard Road. Singtel noted that deployment at Orchard Road, Raffles Place and Clarke Quay is scheduled to begin by the end of August, while additional Cat 16 smartphones able to support gigabit speeds are expected to be launched later in the year.

The new 800 Mbit/s mobile service augments Singtel's existing nationwide 450 Mbit/s mobile data speeds. The operator noted that according to Singapore's regulator IMDA it currently offers the widest outdoor 4G coverage, as well as the highest mobile data rates on the island.

* Earlier this year, Singtel and Ericsson announced they were working together to pilot massive MIMO and cloud RAN on Singtel’s 4G LTE network as part of the evolution to 5G and delivering gigabit mobile data rates. Specifically, Ericsson supplied its AIR 6468 radio, providing 64T64R massive MIMO capabilities for testing prior to progress deployment on Singtel’s 4G LTE network.

AT&T delivers global network with FlexWare + NetBond for Cloud for Omnicom

New York-based Omnicom Group, a global provider of marketing communications, has selected AT&T to deploy a universal network solution designed to improve its efficiency and increase security for the company and its clients.

To support the delivery of its proprietary marketing services in a more secure and reliable way, Omnicom required a technology provider with the ability to deliver a secure network across all of its locations in 100-plus countries and to its more than 78,000 employees. By consolidating the company's infrastructure into a single network, AT&T aims to help Omnicom agencies connect and collaborate more effectively, as well as reduce operational costs.

The Global Omnicom/AT&T network strategy will leverage AT&T FlexWare, NetBond for Cloud and Threat Manager elements to provide Omnicom with an advanced flexible, secure and efficient network.

AT&T FlexWare is a global, software-centric platform that will help Omnicom to quickly deploy and manage virtualised network functions such as routers and firewalls, as well as make adjustments based on changing business needs via an online portal. FlexWare allows users to add and remove features and scale services on demand. The solution will help reduce Omnicom's hardware requirements and simplify operations.

In addition, AT&T NetBond for Cloud is designed to provide secure connectivity between the AT&T virtual private network and cloud service providers, while Threat Manager offers a security incident and event management platform.

Mavenir to establish 5G innovation centre in Israel

Mavenir, a major provider of technology designed to accelerate and redefine network transformation for service providers, announced it has established a new R&D and 5G Innovation centre of excellence in Ra'anana, Israel that will focus on the development of 5G network and services solutions.

Mavenir noted that the next generation of network infrastructure will be based on a common, flexible infrastructure with the ability to support application with enhanced QoE (for example virtual reality), provide mobility across heterogeneous networks (HetNet), deliver ultra-low latency and high reliability, as well as support the connectivity needs of billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Mavenir is focused on enabling cloud-centric NFV infrastructure (NFVi) across its end-to-end 5G portfolio, encompassing NGCN, cloud RAN, end-to-end security and orchestration, leveraging open development techniques and programming tools. As part of this initiative, the new Ra'anana centre, together with the Brno centre of excellence, will also work on Mavenir's voice/video and advanced messaging solutions.

* Mavenir announced in June that it had launched an R&D centre of excellence in Brno, Czech Republic, which is focused on delivering artificial intelligence/machine learning signalling security solutions. Mavenir's AI/machine learning solution is designed to provide advanced signalling monitoring, active filtering and analytics to ensure networks remain functional and operational and protect customers when using network services.

* The company noted when announcing the new centre that although SS7 has been widely used for decades, hackers have only recently started exploiting its vulnerabilities. Leveraging its expertise in signalling security based on security gateways (SeGWs) and Diameter edge agents (DEAs), signalling transfer points (STPs) and Diameter routing agents (DRAs), Mavenir aims to provide advanced edge and core network signalling protection for network operators.

Ukraine's lifecell deploys Huawei in city of Lviv

Huawei announced a partnership with Ukraine's leading telecom operator lifecell for the deployment of its Easy Macro 2.0-based PoleStar site solution in the tourist city of Lviv.

Huawei noted that lifecell is first operator to deploy Easy Macro 2.0 commercially. Expanding on the Easy Macro 1.0 solution, Easy Macro 2.0 offers support for a wider range of radio access technologies (RATs) and higher power, and is designed to enable more flexible installation and provide more uniform coverage to help operators' address the difficulties of site acquisition and reduce site construction costs.

Huawei stated that Lviv attracts an estimated up to 200,000 tourists per day, creating high demand for network capacity. Ukrainian operator lifecell aims to provide a quality network and enhanced services for Internet access. However, with growth in data traffic network capacity restrictions cannot be addressed where spectrum resources are limited. As a result, lifecell is experiencing strong demand for site additions.

Huawei stated that the installation of traditional macro base stations presents challenges in terms of site acquisition, a lengthy site approval period, and site construction costs.

Integrating radio and antenna elements, Huawei's Easy Macro 2.0 product is designed to be small and light, and to allow the use of power pole resources present in urban areas for site deployment. The solution is therefore designed to resolve the issue of site acquisition for operators and enable faster site deployments.

Huawei's Easy Macro 2.0 offers concurrent support for GSM, UMTS and LTE, while also offering greater large power and significantly extended coverage area compared with the previous generation solution. The product additionally supports horizontal installation and features adjustable vertical beam width (VBW) to optimise coverage in high-rise buildings. The new version also supports centralised transmission and power supply to help reduce site deployment costs.

Huawei claims that using Easy Macro 2.0 lifecell has been able to increase network coverage by 8.73% while the release of suppressed network resulted in voice traffic increasing by 24.93% and the data traffic by 22.08% per cluster compared with the existing network. In addition, the company claims that deployment efficiency for a single site improved by 94% and the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the site was lowered by over 30%.

Nokia supplies network for emergency response services in California

Nokia announced it has been selected to modernise the communications network of the County of Fresno in California to enhance emergency response and public safety capabilities in the county.

For the project, Nokia will upgrade the network infrastructure via the deployment of microwave packet radio and IP/MPLS technology to support secure, resilient and reliable data connectivity for first responders and county facilities.

The upgraded network is designed to provide the backhaul capabilities for Fresno County's digital trunked radio system, which is used by police, firefighters and other public safety departments, to communicate with command centres and with each other. The new network will also be capable of supporting services for a number of other county agencies.

For the project, Nokia is supplying the its 9500 Microwave Packet Radio and 7705 Service Aggregation Router to support IP, Ethernet, TDM and video services, and to enable the transition to a modern all-IP network. The IP/MPLS-enabled microwave network is managed by the Nokia Network Services Platform, which is designed to simplify management and enable improved operational efficiency, as well as allow a transition to software defined networking (SDN) in the future.

Under the terms of the agreement, Nokia is also providing professional services including network design and migration, installation and integration services.

Nokia noted that the project highlights its focus on delivering mission-critical networks for markets beyond traditional communications service providers, in particular to the public safety sector in the U.S. and worldwide.

  • As part of this effort, Nokia recently announced it had been selected to provide an advanced communications network to the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) in northern California, to support hydro-electric power generation and water distribution services in the area. For the project, Nokia was to replace PCWA's existing network with an IP/MPLS and packet microwave network designed to support a range of utility applications.
  • Managed by its Network Services Platform (NSP), the PCWA network featured Nokia's 7705 Service Aggregation Router (SAR) portfolio and 9500 Microwave Packet Radio (MPR).

MTS of Russia partners with Ericsson and Qualcomm to trial LAA technology

Ericsson, working with Russian mobile operator MTS and technology company Qualcomm, announced it has trialled Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology in a first live over-the-air demonstration in Russia, marking the first time a commercial Ericsson product has been used to support Rel-13 LAA.

Ericsson noted that LAA leverages the 5 GHz unlicensed spectrum band together with licensed spectrum to deliver enhanced performance for mobile device users. Together with MTS, the largest mobile operator in Russia and the CIS serving over 100 million subscribers, and Qualcomm Technologies, Ericsson conducted the live trial based on a commercial small cell product for Rel-13 LAA.

The demonstration was conducted in an MTS test lab over a live network and involved Ericsson's Pico RBS 6402 small cell and a Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE mobile test device.

Ericsson's RBS 6402 is an indoor pico cell designed for small building deployments that offers support for LTE, WCDMA and WiFi, 10 frequency bands and up to 300 Mbit/s with LTE carrier aggregation.

* Previously, in June last year the two companies tested LTE-U (LTE-Unlicensed) and demonstrated the aggregation of two frequency bands - 10 MHz in the 1800 MHz band of LTE and 20 MHz in the unlicensed 5 GHz band - at WiFi access points, achieving data rates of up to 200 Mbit/s.

* Earlier this year, MTS, and Ericsson announced trials of 5G technology during which they achieved data transmission rates of up to 25 Gbit/s using a portable prototype of a smartphone. The testing was conducted by Ericsson and MTS at the Opening Arena stadium in Moscow, where a base station operating in the range of 14.5 to 15.3 GHz transmitted a signal to a portable prototype of a subscriber' device at the speeds of up to 25 Gbit/s.

* The trials were conducted as part of its strategic partnership between Ericsson and MTS established in December 2015. Under the agreement, Ericsson and MTS plan to cooperate on 5G R&D in Russia, encompassing areas including spectrum studies of the next generation network and implementation of a test system.

Frontier extends broadband to 238,000 premises

Frontier Communications, serving customers across 29 U.S. states, announced that it has reached a milestone as part of the FCC Connect America Fund program (CAF) ahead of schedule.

Frontier noted that the FCC CAF program requires companies that have accepted funding to deploy broadband to 40% of the eligible locations by the end of 2017. Under the program, as of the end of June Frontier had reached the 40% target in nine states, namely Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia.

Nationwide, Frontier stated that it is currently delivering broadband service to approximately 238,000 households and small businesses in its CAF-eligible areas, and has improved connection speeds to approximately 746,000 additional locations. The broadband expansion involved a combination of Frontier capital investment and resources the FCC has made available through the CAF program.

Frontier is marketing broadband offerings to households with newly provided or improved broadband speeds. Frontier offers speeds of up to 115 Mbit/s, depending on the distance from its nearest facilities, with many newly connected locations able to receive speeds of at least 25 Mbit/s.

Through its involvement in the FCC CAF program, Frontier will use $332 million in annual funding to extend broadband with a speed of at least 10 Mbit/s to 774,000 households and businesses over the lifetime of the program.

* In June, Frontier announced it was providing broadband service to previously unserved residents in 25 counties in Ohio and West Virginia. In Ohio, the company extended service to 12,600 CAF-eligible households and improve speeds to a further 33,600 households. In West Virginia, it delivered broadband to approximately 16,900 eligible households and improved speeds to an additional 117,000 households.