Thursday, February 20, 2020

O-RAN Alliance momentum -- 24 mobile operators

The O-RAN Alliance, whose mission is to re-shape the industry towards more intelligent, open, virtualized and fully interoperable mobile networks, announced that nine new operators have joined as members inn 2019 and 2020, including Bell Canada, BT, Chunghwa Telecom, DISH Network, KDDI, SoftBank Corp., Sprint and Vodafone. This brings membership to over 160 companies including 24 mobile operators across 4 continents.

“The adoption of the O-RAN Alliance by the industry is an inspiring example of how operators and suppliers around the world can sit down together to design and release technical standards that work for everyone,” said Andre Fuetsch, Chairman of the O-RAN Alliance and Chief Technology Officer of AT&T. “The O-RAN Alliance now brings together a global force of 24 carriers committed to improving the performance and efficiency of their mobile networks. As the 5G era takes off, the O-RAN Alliance stands poised to enable the network experiences that all of our customers expect.”

“The O-RAN Alliance has rapidly grown from the five founding mobile operators to more than 160 operators and contributors comprising industry leading large vendors, small & medium companies, start-ups and academic institutions,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, COO of the O-RAN Alliance and SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom. “We are proud to welcome such a diversity of members in our joint effort to lead the industry towards next generation open and smart RAN.”

The O-RAN Alliance members were prepared to showcase 22 demonstrations of real O-RAN-based equipment implementations at Mobile World Congress (MWC). The now-canceled MWC demonstrations included:

AT&T and CommScope planned to showcase O-RAN’s vendor agnostic Operations, Administration and Maintenance (OAM) Architecture and O1 interface specification. The demo was to perform live configuration, performance, and fault management from CommScope’s OneCell system at the Rutgers University WINLAB using Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) as the Service Management and Orchestration (SMO).

China Mobile and BravoCom were planning an intelligent RAN control demo. This demo showcases a Near-real time Radio Intelligent Controller (RIC) performing Radio Resource Management (RRM) optimization, a video KQI prediction and RRM enforcement xAPP using machine learning, and a non-real time RIC performing dynamic cell-splitting/merging based on the KQI/KPI status of cell.

AT&T and Nokia were co-sponsoring a demo of the O-RAN OSC open source near-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (near-RT RIC) running at the network edge on an Akraino-based Open Cloud Platform. The demonstration is based on live trials of the platform conducted on AT&T’s 5G mmWave network and will showcase life cycle management of xApps, specifically an admission control xApp controlling RAN behavior.

China Mobile and Nokia were co-sponsoring an intelligent RAN control demo. The demo will showcase AI-empowered QoE assurance of Cloud VR with machine learning based radio available bandwidth and QoE prediction to enable AI-adaptive rate adaptation.

Samsung and KDDI were co-sponsoring an intelligent RAN control demo. This demo was to showcase E2 Closed loop RAN Resource Control and Network Slicing.

Sterlite was sponsoring a demo on Intelligent RAN control. This demo was to showcase a Non-Real Time Radio-Intelligent Controller managing a machine learning algorithm that can predict cell load. This load prediction model is used by a Mobility Load Balancing xAPP in the Near-Real Time RIC Controller to manage the cell load using performance metrics from the E2 nodes under varying mobility scenarios.

VIAVI was sponsoring an open fronthaul demo consisting of an O-RU emulator integrated with TM500 UE emulator which will be used to test the O-DU connected over O-RAN open fronthaul. The ability for vendors and operators to test the performance of gNBs based on O-RAN architecture independently of O-RUs will be key to accelerating commercialization of O-RAN technology.

NEC was planning to show their O-RAN Open Fronthaul compliant small-cell RUs that support the 3.7GHz, 4.5GHz and 28GHz bands. Interoperability of these RUs with another vendor's CU/DU over the Open Fronthaul interface has been verified by NTT DOCOMO and deployed in their commercial 5G network.

Keysight and Xilinx were co-sponsoring two open fronthaul demos. This demo consists of a Xilinx O-RAN enabled Antenna Array Radio Unit demonstration using Keysight O-RAN O-DU emulation combined with RF measurements. A second demo consists of a sub-6 GHz antenna featuring a remote radio head with O-RAN compliant fronthaul interface.

NVIDIA and Keysight planned to show an open fronthaul demo. This demo highlights interoperability between an NVIDIA Aerial SDK-accelerated 5G gNodeB and a Keysight UeSIM over O-RAN compliant fronthaul link.

AT&T, CommScope, and Intel planned to demostrate mmWave 5G gNB and 7.2x open fronthaul demo. This live demo showcases a virtual reality application of a 360-degree zoo experience using Intel’s FlexRAN to deliver live O-RAN 7.2x traffic to CommScope’s 5G mmWave radio.

EXFO planned an open fronthaul demo. This demo consists of an O-DU emulator connected to an O-RU emulator using the O-RAN open fronthaul specification over an eCPRI protocol at 25Gbps.

SKT, Keysight and SOLiD were co-sponsoring an open fronthaul demo. Keysight O-DU emulator will be used to test the SOLiD 28GHz O-RU connected over O-RAN WG4 open fronthaul defined APIs over the eCPRI interface. Also, 28GHz RFIC performance and beamforming functionality will be evaluated for use in SKT’s 28GHz in-building systems.

Mavenir was sponsoring a demo on Open Fronthaul. This demo showcases 4G and 5G RAN products using the O-RAN architecture with split 7.2x and split 2 interfaces with MTI and NEC.

Radisys was sponsoring a multi-vendor ecosystem demo includes an O-DU communicating with the O-RU operating in the 3.5GHz band (n78) over the open front-haul (OFH) interface for gNB split option 7.2x. This demo leverages components and technologies and can be adapted to other configurations, such as frequency band and transmit power, with minimal effort.

Ciena, Radisys, Wind River, AT&T and DISH Network were co-sponsoring a demonstration of 5G Edge orchestration and optimization. This demo consists of a multi-vendor implementation of O-RAN O1 and O2 interfaces to drive dynamic optimal placement and configuration of 5G RAN, Transport and 5G Core components to support latency critical 5G Edge applications.

China Mobile and Lenovo are co-sponsoring a full-stack O-RAN solution in combination with MEC applications. The demo features O-RAN deployment scenario B, consisting of O-RAN cloud platform, O-CU, O-DU, and O-RU. The edge cloud platform also hosts MEC applications, enabling a 5G smart transportation use case.

Altran, Baicells and China Mobile are co-sponsoring a whitebox hardware demo that showcases a stand-alone end-to-end use case using whitebox hardware for an indoor pico cell.

China Mobile, Radisys, QCT and Intel are co-sponsoring a whitebox hardware and O-RAN stack demo. This demo showcases an end-to-end solution for 5G Stand Alone based on the O-RAN software architecture and open fronthaul interface specifications.

China Mobile, ArrayComm, CIG, Altran, Wind River and IPLOOK are co-sponsoring an O-RAN compliant whitebox and 5G stack demo. This demo showcases an end-to-end 5G Stand Alone application based on ARM hardware and cloud platform.

China Mobile, CertusNet, Lenovo and NTS are co-sponsoring the demo of an integrated small cell solution based on cloudification and virtualization. This demo showcases the decoupling of hardware and software based on O-RAN architectural principles.

VMware and Netsia were co-sponsoring a live end-to-end Network Slicing and Service Orchestration demo, using a multi-domain and multi-cloud environment. The demo showcases network slices that are built on-purpose for specific network services and optimized for prescribed QoS SLAs, spawning over the Radio Access Network, Edge Clouds, Transport Network, Core Clouds and Public Clouds.

Huawei launches 400GE routers with Committed SLA

Huawei introduced its NetEngine 8000 series 400GE routers featuring committed SLA capabilities.

Huawei's NetEngine 8000 series routers will offer the industry's highest-density with thirty-six 400GE interfaces per slot, enabling it to meet the ever-increasing traffic growth of the metro network, backbone network, and data center. Huawei said it is the only vendor that can provide 400GE transmission distances of 10, 40, and 80 km.

Huawei supports hard isolation through FlexE-based network slicing in order to ensure zero bandwidth preemption among services and 100% bandwidth guarantee for key services. The granularity of Huawei's FlexE-based network slicing is five times finer than the industry average, providing high-quality guarantee for more services.

Huawei also supports SRv6-based path computation. The path with the optimal latency can be selected based on services' latency requirements, so that low latency can be guaranteed for key services. Huawei is the major contributor of SRv6 standards and have participated in the formulation of over 83% of standards. To date, Huawei has carried out over 20 commercial deployments worldwide.

Huawei is also proposing in-situ Flow Information Telemetry (iFIT) technology in order to support service-based and flow-based performance detection as well as SLA visualization. iMaster NCE is used together to provide fault locating within minutes, which ensures high network availability.

Daniel Tang, CTO of Huawei's Data Communication Product Line, said, "To address the network challenges in the 5G and cloud era, Huawei has innovatively developed the industry's first E2E 400GE routers, - NetEngine 8000 - and the industry's first committed SLA solution to deliver 400GE and committed SLA on IP networks."

Huawei introduces "Liquid OTN", AirPON, and embedded AI ONT

Huawei introduced its "Liquid OTN" optical transport solution, AirPON optical access solution, and embedded AI (eAI) ONT optical terminal products.

Liquid OTN, which encompasses Huawei OptiXtrans products, will be an engine for the optical transport networks from physical transport networks to service transmission networks, supporting operators, enterprises, and industries in building experience-centric transmission networks. Liquid OTN has the following three key capabilities:

  • Ubiquitous all-optical connectivity: Liquid OTN introduces OSUflex containers to support flexible bandwidth definition. Furthermore, network hard slices can achieve a fine granularity of 2 Mbit/s, improving the number of supported connections by 500 times.
  • Hitless bandwidth adjustment: The solution supports hitless bandwidth adjustment from 2 Mbit/s to 100 Gbit/s, ensuring zero service interruption and full use of network resources.
  • Ultra-low transport latency: Liquid OTN significantly flattens the network transport layers, provides differentiated latency levels, and reduces per-site latency by 70% to reach the microsecond level, adapting to different delay-sensitive scenarios.

The AirPON solution comprises the blade OLT, the Digital QuickODN (DQ ODN) in Huawei's OptiXaccess portfolios, and Huawei's OptiXstar home terminals. It helps mobile operators quickly develop high-quality gigabit fiber broadband services. This solution has the following advantages:

  • The AirPON solution achieves “0” site acquisition. The solution uses millions of existing mobile stations to shorten the fiber access distance from 5 km to less than 1 km, significantly improving network construction efficiency and reducing the CAPEX by 27%.
  • The AirPON solution supports end-to-end ODN visualization to achieve accurate resource management and fault locating, as well as fast service provisioning, reducing the ODN sunk cost by 20%.
  • DQ ODN-based end-to-end pre-connections improve the construction efficiency by 70%.

The eAI ONT can intelligently identify the service types. Innovative Wi-Fi 6 slicing and intelligent power adjustment technologies half the latency of some services, increasing the ARPU of home users. In addition, the product adopts the APM intelligent sleep mechanism, which reduces the overall power consumption by 20% compared with other vendors. Currently, Thailand's 3BB project has adopted Huawei's eAI ONT, helping 3BB build a home broadband network that offers immersive gaming experiences.

"By using the innovative Huawei OptiXtrans, OptiXaccess, and OptiXstar products, Huawei aims to build ubiquitous optical connections and lay a solid foundation to provide an immersive experience for end users. Today, the Liquid OTN, AirPON and eAI ONT products and solutions will greatly enhance Intelligent OptiX Network to provide premium experience to every person, home and organization," states Kevin Huang, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Huawei's Transmission & Access Network Product Line. "Liquid OTN will enable the convergence of transport and access networks. The end-to-end optical connectivity ensures ultra-high bandwidth and ultra-low latency. This will help operators and enterprises build networks with guaranteed good experience to achieve business success in home and enterprise scenarios."

https://www.huawei.com/en/press-events/news/2020/2/liquid-otn-optical-transport-solution

T-Mobile and Sprint amend merger terms

T-Mobile US and Sprint amended the terms of their pending merger as follows:

  • Immediately following the closing, and after the surrender of shares by SoftBank, Deutsche Telekom and SoftBank are expected to hold approximately 43% and 24%, respectively, of the fully diluted New T-Mobile shares, with the remaining approximately 33% held by public shareholders.
  • T-Mobile has agreed to re-issue to SoftBank the previously surrendered shares upon the achievement of certain stock price milestones by New T-Mobile during a specified measurement period, and subject to certain additional terms, as outlined in the letter agreement that will be filed by each of T-Mobile and Sprint with the SEC.
  • In addition, the amendment extends the “outside date” under the Business Combination Agreement to July 1, 2020, and modifies certain other provisions of the Business Combination Agreement as described in the companies’ SEC filings.

A separate arrangement entered into by SoftBank Group Corp. in connection with the amendment will result in an effective exchange ratio of approximately 11.00 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile share immediately following the closing of the merger, an increase from the originally agreed 9.75 shares. This is a result of SoftBank agreeing to surrender approximately 48.8 million T-Mobile shares acquired in the merger to New T-Mobile immediately following the closing of the transaction, making SoftBank’s effective ratio 11.31 Sprint shares per T-Mobile share. Sprint shareholders other than SoftBank will continue to receive the original fixed exchange ratio of 0.10256 T-Mobile shares for each Sprint share, or the equivalent of approximately 9.75 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile share.

“Today’s announcement is another significant step forward toward finally closing this transaction! Throughout this journey, T-Mobile and Sprint have been singularly focused on one thing: building a supercharged Un-carrier that will offer U.S. consumers a broad and deep nationwide 5G network, more choice and greater competition. We are now on the threshold of achieving our goal. And did I mention how fun it’s going to be sticking it to Dumb, Dumber and Big Cable along the way? This is going to be epic!” said John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile.

“With today’s agreement in place, we are now turning our attention toward our goal of closing this transaction and creating the New T-Mobile as early as April 1, 2020,” said Mike Sievert, COO and President of T-Mobile, and appointed CEO of the company starting on May 1, 2020. “We are on the verge of being able to do what we’ve set out to do from day one -- reshape a broken wireless industry and create the new standard for consumers when it comes to value, speed, quality and service. The New T-Mobile is literally going to change wireless for good and now we’re almost ready to get to the fun part: bringing our teams together, building this supercharged Un-carrier and becoming the envy of the wireless industry and beyond!”

“Completing this step is yet another critical milestone in securing Sprint’s future, and it brings us one step closer to closing this historic transaction that has been years in the making,” said Marcelo Claure, Sprint Executive Chairman. “I’m incredibly thankful for the perseverance and resilience of everyone that has gotten us to this point.”

Ericsson updates its Radio Dot for 5G

Ericsson has enhanced its Radio Dot System with a tri-band model supporting multi-band, multi-operator deployments; a new fiber solution for increased backhaul flexibility; and a model supporting 4G and 5G deployments.

The new multi-band Dot and IRU ensure higher network speeds through carrier aggregation, including support for both 4G and 5G on one Cat cable – an industry-leading solution. This creates stable and easy migration paths for service providers. The fiber solution will also allow service providers to capitalize on pre-existing fiber in buildings, showcasing the company’s flexibility in design and delivery.

Ericsson plans to ship these new solutions in the second half of 2020.

Per Narvinger, Head of Product Area Networks, Ericsson, says: “Connecting people in urban environments is increasingly important as we densify networks and deliver 5G connectivity. The addition of these new products to our already strong Ericsson Radio Dot System portfolio will make it even easier to deploy high-performing indoor 5G networks, and ensure that service providers can capitalize on existing assets with increased flexibility.”

Corning announces 5G mmWave in-building network systems with Qualcomm

Corning is working with Qualcomm to develop 5G mmWave infrastructure systems for enterprises and public venues.

The 5G systems combine Qualcomm's 5G and mmWave technology with Corning’s small-cell expertise to deliver affordable and easy-to-install 5G-ready networks indoors.

The Corning systems will deliver 5G–NR capability over mmWave spectrum in the indoor segment, which includes enterprises such as offices, university campuses, hospitals, hotels, shopping centers, and more. The 5G systems will leverage Corning’s virtualized RAN architecture to manage the attached mmWave small cells.

“Corning has decades of experience designing, installing, and conditioning advanced cellular networks,” said Michelle Engarto, vice president, wireless product line management, Corning Optical Communications. “Our experience in network design and knowledge of varying and distinct customer requirements will benefit customers as we navigate the complexities associated with 5G mmWave indoors. By combining the technology leadership and experience from Corning and Qualcomm Technologies, we aim to offer a compelling and affordable solution for 5G mmWave systems specifically developed with the enterprise in mind.”

“Corning and Qualcomm Technologies have a history of delivering infrastructure innovation spanning LTE, LTE-U/LAA, CBRS, and more,” said Puneet Sethi, senior director, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We are now pleased to be ramping our fruitful relationship with Corning into the 5G era. We expect this marriage of Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G mmWave technology leadership with Corning’s industry-proven small-cell and enterprise expertise to deliver the capacity and performance benefits of 5G mmWave indoors, via development of cost effective, powerful, and scalable 5G mmWave infrastructure.”

Verizon and Corning collaborate on 5G in buildings

Corning and Intel announced a partnership focused on 5G in buildings.

The work will leverage Corning’s wireless connectivity portfolio and Intel technologies, including second-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Intel FlexRAN 5G and 4G Reference Software, Intel FPGA Programmable Acceleration Card N3000, and 10/25/40Gb Intel Ethernet 700 Series Network Adapters to support 5G innovation as deployments proliferate around the world.

“5G will enable dramatic advances in the way people work and companies create value,” said Michelle Engarto, vice president, Wireless Product Line Management, Corning Optical Communications. “Capturing the benefits will require flexible and scalable infrastructure that can evolve and adapt as fast as software-based applications.  Fiber offers effectively unlimited bandwidth and is protocol agnostic. Virtualization converts a traditional hardware challenge into a software-based solution. By combining fiber and virtualization, Corning and Intel will demonstrate the ultimate in flexibility and scalability for in-building 5G infrastructure.”

The new enterprise platform will be commercially available in 2020.

In addition, Verizon has installed 5G Ultra Wideband service in Corning’s fiber optic cable manufacturing facility in Hickory, NC. The companies are also working together to co-innovate new 5G-enabled solutions that can potentially revolutionize the way goods and services are produced.

Fujitsu granted Japan's first Private 5G license

Fujitsu has been granted Japan's first private 5G radio station provisional license by the Kanto Bureau of Telecommunications.

Fujitsu plans to establish a radio station emitting private 5G radio waves in order to verify private 5G network systems at its Shin-Kawasaki Technology Square office in Kawasaki, Japan. In the spring of this year, Fujitsu will also move to open a "FUJITSU Collaboration Lab," which will serve as a dedicated co-creation space for collaborating with customers and partners to workshop and verify use cases utilizing private 5G. Moving forward, Fujitsu will continue to apply for private 5G licenses for its other office locations, plants, and group companies in Japan, offering support for customers in various industries to achieve their own digital transformation projects to deliver new value and business innovations.

Shingo Mizuno, Corporate Executive Officer SVP, Vice Head of Service Platform Business Group at Fujitsu Limited, comments: "Obtaining this qualification marks an exciting and important milestone in the development of our 5G capabilities in Japan. We're looking forward to the chance to work together with our customers and partners to leverage private 5G network technologies to solve business challenges across a wide range of industries and use case scenarios going forward."

SS8 brings its Lawful Intelligence platform to AWS

SS8 Networks announced the first Lawful Intelligence platform built on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The company said it deployed its platform on AWS to provide law enforcement agencies with flexibility and scalability. The SS8 platforms on AWS is a bridge between LTE networks and lawful intercept applications.

“Our customers have asked for an easier way to implement the SS8 Lawful Intelligence offerings, and with Amazon Web Services we are able to quickly deploy our solutions for global service providers and law enforcement agencies,” said Dr. Keith Bhatia, Chief Operating Officer. “We are leading with technology to facilitate implementation ease and accessibility of our 5G and IoT platforms, as well as managing the data for Investigative Analysts to help save lives.”

CommScope posts Q4 sales of $2.3 billion

CommScope reported Q4 2019 net sales of $2.30 billion, an increase of 117.3% compared to $1.06 billion during the same period in the prior year. Fourth quarter 2019 included sales of $1.33 billion from ARRIS, which was acquired on April 4, 2019. There was a net loss available to common stockholders of $(450.5) million, or $(2.32) per basic share, in the fourth quarter, a decrease from the prior year period's net loss of $(23.3) million, or $(0.12) per basic share.

We are pleased to finish 2019 on a high note, as we delivered net sales at the midpoint of our guidance, adjusted EBTIDA at the high-end of our targeted range, and adjusted EPS well above our targeted range,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Eddie Edwards.

Edwards continued, “Despite industry headwinds, our team remained focused on managing the elements we could control. Our strong operational discipline allowed us to generate significant cash flow, resulting in $300 million of early debt paydown in the fourth quarter and an additional $100 million paydown earlier this week. We are executing on our strategy and surpassing our cash flow and debt paydown expectations. As a result of our success, there is only $50 million principal remaining on our 2021 notes with the next nearest maturity not until 2024.

See also