Monday, February 22, 2016

#MWC16: ZTE and China Mobile Show Prototype 5G Radio

ZTE and China Mobile are showcasing a 5G high-frequency prototype base station.

The ZTE-developed prototype operates on a 15 GHz carrier with a bandwidth of 500 MB and boasts a hardware structure of a large-capacity baseband unit (BBU) and an intelligent remote radio unit (RRU). Its high-frequency, ultra-wideband and compact design optimizes performance and provides a multi-user multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO) peak bitrate as high as 10 Gbps+. It also uses beamforming technology so that mobile terminals can be tracked by multiple beams rapidly and adaptively to achieve 3D coverage in all directions and adapt to different user applications.

ZTE said its prototype is designed for the commercial use of 5G, which will cover a wide range of the spectrum from low bands to high bands, hence making the air interface design more complicated. Its design make this easier and more efficient by integrating large-scale antenna arrays, standardizing the air interface design, and using Mobile Broadband (MBB) to support diversified 5G services.

The companies also demonstrated 10 Gbps+ high bitrate, beam-tracking, and other key 5G technologies.

IBM and VMware Enter Hybrid Cloud Partnership

IBM and VMware announced a strategic partnership designed to help enterprises take better advantage of the cloud.

Some key points:

  • IBM and VMware have jointly designed an architecture and cloud offering that will enable customers to automatically provision pre-configured VMware SDDC environments, consisting of VMware vSphere, NSX and Virtual SAN on the IBM Cloud. This will enable customer to deploy workloads in this hybrid cloud environment without modification, due to common security and networking models based on VMware.
  • IBM will utilize its extensive CloudBuilder tools and workload automation capabilities to automatically provision pre-configured or custom workloads to the cloud, validated by VMware's design patterns for Software Defined Data Center architectures.  
  • In addition, VMware has extended vRealize Automation and vCenter management tools to deploy and manage environments on the IBM Cloud, as if they are part of a customer’s local data center. 
  • The two companies also will jointly market and sell new offerings for hybrid cloud deployments, including seamless workload migrations, disaster recovery, capacity expansion and data center consolidation.

"We are reaching a tipping point for cloud as the platform on which the vast majority of business will happen,” said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president, IBM Cloud.  “The strategic partnership between IBM and VMware will enable clients to easily embrace the cloud while preserving their existing investments and creating new business opportunities.”

Verizon to Acquire XO's Fiber Business for $1.8 Billion

Verizon Communications has agreed to acquire XO Communications’ fiber-optic network business for approximately $1.8 billion.

Verizon cited several financial benefits from the transaction, including a step-up in the basis of the assets as well as operating and capital expense savings. The net present value of the operational synergies is expected to be in excess of $1.5 billion.

Separately, Verizon will simultaneously lease available XO wireless spectrum, with an option to buy XO’s entity that holds its spectrum by year-end 2018.

Carl C. Icahn, the Chairman and Sole Shareholder of XO Holdings, stated "Although this sale to Verizon does not represent a significant annualized return on our investment, we believe that in today’s environment it does represent the best achievable outcome for the company’s customers, employees and owner.”

Sunday, February 21, 2016

#MWC16 - Qualcomm Brings Gigabit LTE, 4x4 MIMO LTE, Ultra HD Voice

Qualcomm Technologies is showcasing its recently-announced Snapdragon X16 LTE modem at this week's Mobile World Congress -- representing a 10X leap over first gen LTE and 500X over early 3G devices. In a demo featuring Ericsson's Software 16B release, the modem is achieving download speeds up to 1 Gbps using a combination of 3x carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO on two aggregated carriers, and higher-order modulation using 256-QAM.

Other Qualcomm demos include:

  • 4x4 LTE MIMO in a smartphone prototype test-developed by Sony Mobile Communications, based on the Snapdragon 820 processor with X12 LTE. This represents the first implementation of 4-layer MIMO in a smartphone form factor. The X12 LTE modem’s 4x4 MIMO capability doubles LTE throughput on the same amount of spectrum — up to ~400 Mbps in only 20MHz of spectrum. 
  • Ultra HD Voice — using the Enhanced Voice Services (EVS) codec, showcasing its superior call quality compared to traditional HD Voice with the AMR-WB codec. Both the 4x4 MIMO as well as the Ultra HD Voice demos will be in collaboration with Ericsson. This demo uses thes sam 4x4LTE MIMO smartphone prototype
  • LTE Wi-Fi Link Aggregation (LWA) using the over-the-air system with commercial-ready converged LTE/Wi-Fi smart gateway integrating Qualcomm FSM99xx small cells and IPQ40xx solutions.  A converged gateway aggregates the LTE and Wi-Fi airlinks and enables smart and dynamic load balancing between LTE and Wi-Fi, as well as provides a unified network to better utilize both licensed and unlicensed spectrum. LWA is designed to allow operators to utilize new and existing Wi-Fi networks to offer superior performance and a seamless user experience.  
  • Low-power LTE - two demos showcase 4G connectivity for IoT applications. The first demo showcases how LTE-connected IoT devices can achieve 10 years of battery life on two AA batteries, using the Power Saving Mode (PSM) of the MDM9207-1 modem. The second demo, in collaboration with Ericsson, offers a preview of the Extended Idle DRX feature that is part of 3GPP Release 13 spec. LTE Extended Idle DRX allows the mobile network and the IoT device to synchronize the timing at which the device awakes to receive data from the network with very long intervals, thereby extending its battery life.
  • enhanced LAA (eLAA), which introduces LTE licensed and unlicensed spectrum aggregation in the uplink along with downlink
  • MulteFire, the first-ever tradeshow demonstration of LTE-based technology operating solely in unlicensed spectrum. 
  • 5G millimeter wave 28 GHz demo, showcasing adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques which enable robust and sustained broadband communications operation under line-of-sight (LOS) and non-line-of-sight (NLOS) RF channel conditions and device mobility.

“We’re excited to bring several of our newest innovations to Mobile World Congress for the first time. From enabling the first Gigabit Class LTE with our Snapdragon X16 LTE modem to providing a glimpse into how Qualcomm Technologies is approaching 5G connectivity, these demonstrations show several of our latest technologies we’re bringing to the industry,” said Tim McDonough, senior vice president of marketing, Qualcomm Technologies.

#MWC16: Ericsson Expects First Virtual RAN Trials this Year

Ericsson expects its first Virtualized RAN field trial with a mobile operator in 2016. The company said the adoption of cellular IoT and Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks supporting millions of IoT device connections per cell site will drive the need for Cloud RAN flexibility.

Ericsson Virtualized RAN enables Virtual Network Functions (VNF) to be supported on a split architecture, with parts of the protocol stacks centralized on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, while others are decentralized. Ericsson enables both RAN and core functionality to be co-hosted on the same server, increasing the operational simplicity and savings enabled by virtualization without compromising on performance.

Ericsson's live Cloud RAN demonstration at MWC 2016 this week features radio access functionality virtualized on remote servers located in Sweden, including virtual instances of the Radio Resource Control Function (RRCF) and Packet Data Conversion Protocol (PDCP) function.

Ericsson is also showcasing its end-to-end role in the Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), including virtual EPC gateway functionality for local breakout of specific services or devices.

#MWC16: Nokia Unveils 5G-ready AirScale RAN

Nokia is taking the wraps off of its next generation, AirScale radio access solution, which puts multiple radio technologies simultaneously in one base station and is designed to leverage open cloud-based architecture.

Nokia said operators will be able to use its AirScale Radio Access to profitably satisfy future demands including the Internet of Things, virtual reality, augmented reality, factories of the future and other advanced scenarios such as video that demand extreme performance.

Highlights of the Nokia AirScale Radio Access:

  • Supports any radio technology (2G, 3G, TDD-LTE, FDD-LTE, LTE Advanced, LTE Advanced Pro) running simultaneously in the base station as Single RAN, integrates carrier-grade Wi-Fi access and is 5G-ready
  • Baseband units can be chained to create virtually unlimited capacity and connectivity to meet the needs of massive IoT connectivity and 5G speeds
  • The Cloud RAN uses Nokia's AirFrame IT hardware that meets stringent radio access capacity, security and latency requirements
  • Implements Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) on the same servers as Cloud RAN for easy integration of applications that can use information from the radio for low latency services 
  • Nokia's management solution, Nokia NetAct and Nokia CloudBand, can be used for both legacy radio networks and new Cloud RAN, offering easy transformation to virtualization

Nokia AirScale Radio Access solution components at a glance:

  • Nokia AirScale Base Station, which includes new multiband RF elements and system modules
  • Cloud RAN with Nokia AirScale Cloud Base Station Server running on Nokia AirFrame data center solution
  • Nokia AirScale Wi-Fi, including Wi-Fi Access points and Nokia AirScale Wi-Fi Controller running on Nokia AirFrame data center solution
  • Common software across Nokia's radio access including small cells
  • Supported by services that utilise intelligent analytics and extreme automation to maximise the performance of hybrid networks

"The world will witness immense changes over the next few years. Broadband traffic will continue to surge as people go beyond video and take advantage of augmented and virtual reality. The Internet of Things will see billions of devices connected, and 5G will enable new scenarios such as Industry 4.0, smart cities, e-health and mobile living. Nokia AirScale is designed from the ground up for this new era, while also introducing ground-breaking cloud-based capabilities," stated Samih Elhage, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia.

Nokia Launches its AirFrame Data Center Servers and Switches

Nokia unveiled its AirFrame Data Center Solution for combining the benefits of cloud computing technologies with the stringent requirements of the core and radio in the telco world.

The Nokia AirFrame Data Center Solution is the company's foundation for meeting the latency and data processing requirements of the future, including 5G and distributed cloud applications. The portfolio is build around highly integrated, Intel-based servers and switches that are optimized for low-latency, scalability, flexibility and business agility.
  • Nokia AirFrame Cloud Servers and Switches - Pre-integrated racks with ultra-dense servers, high performance switches and software defined storage, including Nokia Networks specific enhancements that make it more efficient than other solutions to run demanding VNFs
  • Data center services - AirFrame is complemented by a suite of professional services provided by the company's services experts and geared to implement, monitor and operate telco cloud data centers

Saturday, February 20, 2016

#MWC16: Ericsson and SKtel Plan 5G Field Trial This Year

SK Telecom is working with Ericsson to build an end-to-end 5G trial network by the end of this year.

The companies recently achieved peak downlink throughput of over 25 Gbps with Ericsson 5G Radio Prototypes  They have also previously demonstrated 5G network slicing.

Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network R&D Center at SK Telecom, says: “SK Telecom is focused on technology innovations that will ensure the early success and rapid adoption of new 5G services for our customers and we are collaborating on end to end 5G field trials with Ericsson. By leveraging MU-MIMO, Massive MIMO and beam tracking, we are clearly demonstrating peak throughput of more than 25 Gbps that shows the commercial viability of millimeter wave band spectrum for 5G.”

SK Telecom is a long-time Ericsson customer.

Ericsson Demos 5G Network Core Slicing with SK Telecom

Ericsson demoed 5G network slicing at an event held by SK Telecom in Korea.  The demo showed a single physical network being partitioned into multiple virtual networks to offer optimal support for different types of services for different types of customer segments. The instantiation of the network slicing used the NFV-based Ericsson Virtual Evolved Packet Core (EPC).

By using logical instead of physical resources, Ericsson says operators could provide networks on an as-a-service basis, which enhances operational efficiency while reducing time-to-market for new services.

Ericsson and SK Telecom also plan to build the world’s first hyperscale datacenter for 5G based on Ericsson’s pioneering HDS 8000

#MWC16- Samsung's Galaxy S7 Equipped for LTE Cat.9 (450/50Mbps)

Samsung unveiled its flagship Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge smartphones featuring a more refined design, more advanced camera, streamlined software functionality and unparalleled connectivity to a galaxy of products, services, and experiences.

The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge introduce the first Dual Pixel camera on a smartphone, offer fast wired and wireless charging technology, and boast a hybrid SIM card tray supporting microSD cards of up to 200GB of additional storage.  In some countries, the tray can be used with a dual SIM card.

#MWC16 - Ruckus Debuts OpenG for In-Building Cellular

Ruckus Wireless introduced its OpenG technology to address in-building cellular coverage and capacity challenges.

OpenG technology combines coordinated shared spectrum, such as 3.5 GHz in the U.S., with neutral host-capable small cells for in-building cellular coverage.

At Mobile World Congress, Ruckus is showcasing an OpenG 3.5 GHz demonstrations based on access points utilizing Qualcomm Technologies' 28nm FSM99xx system-on-chip, which integrates an LTE modem with LTE-advanced capabilities.

Ruckus said its OpenG technology offers a significantly less expensive, easier-to-deploy, mobile network-neutral alternative using the 150 MHz of spectrum (3550-3700 MHz) that the FCC has made available for commercial use.

"Ruckus is particularly well-positioned to offer enterprises and service providers a solution to in-building cellular challenges by making it easy to deploy like Wi-Fi," said Dan Rabinovitsj, chief operating officer, Ruckus Wireless, Inc. "We believe Ruckus OpenG technology will provide a disruptive TCO scenario, making it ripe for adoption on a global scale at a fraction of the cost of DAS."

#MWC16- Telstra Testing LTE Cat 1 for IoT with Sequans

Telstra is testing on its LTE Cat 1 on its production network in partnership with Sequans Communications.

Cat 1 (Category 1) refers to the lower throughput speed (10 Mbps) defined in the existing LTE standard now being used for low cost and low power IoT and M2M applications.

Telstra is investing in the evolution of its LTE network to support future growth in IoT,” said Mike Wright, Telstra’s Group Managing Director, Networks. “We are working with leading players, including Sequans, to bring IoT capabilities to Australia. We are preparing for the long term, beginning with LTE Cat 1 technology and continuing with the next evolution of LTE technology on the horizon, Cat M, which will increase coverage and reduce device cost for our customers.”

“As the world’s first provider of an LTE Cat 1 chipset for IoT, we are excited to work with Telstra to validate that devices based on our Calliope Cat 1 LTE platform perform well in Telstra’s network,” said Craig Miller, Sequans VP of marketing. “Operators worldwide are taking advantage of the longevity and technology advantages that LTE brings to their IoT businesses. We look forward to helping Telstra’s IoT customers in this important space.”

#MWC16: Realtime Assurance of Mobile Services in Virtual EPC

CENX, Ixia, Mitel, and VMware are demonstrating real-time assurance of mobile data services in a virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) at this week's Mobile World Congress 2016.  The demonstration showcases optimized real-time service assurance, within the context of Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO):

  • CENX's Exanova Service Intelligence provides end-to-end visualization, performance monitoring, and analysis of the real-time state of services across all segments of the multi-vendor network path, pinpointing fault root cause and impact on subscriber QoE;
  • Ixia's IxLoad Wireless delivers full-featured application testing of wireless networks and components, emulating real-world subscriber traffic from LTE and WiFi Offload base stations to mobile core at scale, for fast-tracking new network services with proven quality;
  • Mitel's vEPC virtual functions provide the feature-rich, high-performance evolved Packet Data Gateway (ePDG) and Packet Gateway (PGW) platforms for secure connections over untrusted non-3GPP WiFi or 3GPP-compliant LTE access networks;
  • VMware vCloud NFV enables CSPs to deploy a unified, multi-vendor and multi-function NFV platform that supports any application at all stages of cloud evolution. The vCloud NFV platform includes production-proven NFVI Solutions, openness in cloud management through VMware Integrated OpenStack and Service Assurance with Day 2 and Ongoing Operations.

"Mobile and NFV technologies continue to innovate at a tremendous pace, and we're excited to be collaborating with industry leaders, Ixia, Mitel, and VMware, to bring comprehensive solutions to market," said Jay McMullan, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, CENX. "With Exanova Service Intelligence's real-time visualization and detailed KPI analytics, operators can quickly navigate their network, isolate faults, and trigger automated workflows for proactive service assurance. This ensures high subscriber satisfaction, driving top line revenues, and also makes the most of infrastructure investment, netting bottom line gains."

#MWC16 - Nokia to Acquire Nakina Systems for Network Integrity Software

Nokia announced its acquisition of Nakina Systems, a privately-held developer of Network Integrity software applications.  Financial terms were not disclosed.  The deal is expected to close this quarter.

Nakina, which is based in Ottawa, Ontario, offers a suite of Network Integrity applications for securing and optimizing physical and virtual networks. Nakina’s applications are built upon a Network Integrity Framework – an open and modular software platform that abstracts network complexity, normalizes multi-vendor management, and bridges the physical and virtual worlds for management and orchestration. Its software enables service providers to avert security breaches and eliminate configuration-related vulnerabilities. Nakina is deployed by some of the world's largest service providers.  Nakina has had a multi-year partnership with Nokia Networks.

“Our customers are facing increasing cybersecurity threats and complexity arising from new technologies such as mobile broadband expansion, NFV, and SDN,” said Mary O’Neill, CEO, Nakina Systems. “We are excited to become part of Nokia, and use this exciting opportunity to help our customers address these challenges head-on.”

#MWC16 - Nokia Launches $350 Million IoT Venture Fund

Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) has launched a new US$350 million investment fund focused on IoT companies.

The fund IV commitment brings NGP’s total assets under management to over USD 1 billion, including USD 500 million available for new investments.

"The $350 million Internet of Things investment fund, tasked with finding and funding the best entrepreneurs across the world, reflects our strong intent to be a leader in the technologies that connect people and things, while establishing successful partnerships for both Nokia and the investee companies,” said Nokia President and CEO Rajeev Suri.

#MWC16: Qualcomm and SpiderCloud Pitch Small Cells for Unlicensed

Qualcomm and SpiderCloud Wireless are collaborating on LTE-U, LTE-LAA, and MulteFire systems for enterprises and public venues.

SpiderCloud’s Enterprise RAN (E-RAN) architecture that includes a Services Node controlling up to 100 self-organizing LTE small cells, capable of delivering coverage and capacity in indoor locations as large as 1.5 million square feet. Verizon will trial SpiderCloud’s LTE-U system in the third quarter of 2016.

SpiderCloud’s systems are enabled with Qualcomm's latest LTE technology including aggregation of licensed and unlicensed spectrum on its FSM SoC platforms.

“SpiderCloud shares Qualcomm Technologies’ vision that small cells will be crucial in addressing the 1000x mobile data challenge,” said Mike Gallagher, chief executive officer, SpiderCloud. “Our relationship with Qualcomm Technologies allows us to offer mobile operators with easy-to-deploy and easy-to-integrate LTE small cells solutions.”

“Operators worldwide are increasingly demanding LTE infrastructure solutions that make best use of both licensed and unlicensed spectrum bands,” said Neville Meijers, vice president, business development, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We are pleased to join forces with SpiderCloud in developing a roadmap of small cells expected to meet and exceed operator needs.”

LinkNYC Brings Gigabit-connected Wi-Fi to Phone Booths

New York City kicked off LinkNYC, a project to bring free, super fast Wi-Fi to at least 7,500 former public phone booths.

LinkNYC, which will be funded by paid advertising, is being constructed by CityBridge, a consortium that includes Intersection, Qualcomm and CIVIQ Smartscapes.

CityBridge is investing more than $200 million to build hundreds of miles of new fiber optic cable that will deliver gigabit connectivity to Links in all five boroughs. The Wi-Fi at each kiosk will be able to support hundreds of Wi-Fi users simultaneously. At least 510 gigabit Links will be installed across all 5 boroughs by July 2016.

The kiosks also feature opt-in Bluetooth beaconing.

#MWC16 : GSMA Releases SIM Remote Provisioning Spec

The GSMA released a specification that allows consumers to remotely activate the SIM embedded in a device such as a smart watch, fitness band or tablet.

The initiative does not aim to replace all SIM cards in the field, but is instead designed to help users connect multiple devices through the same subscription and will help mobile device manufacturers to develop a new range of smaller, lighter mobile-connected devices that are better suited for wearable technology applications.

The specification is backed by the world’s largest operators including AT&T, CK Hutchison, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, EE, KDDI, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, Rogers, SFR, Sprint, Telef√≥nica, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Telstra, TIM, Transatel, Verizon and Vodafone. It is also supported by SIM and chipset vendors including Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, Morpho (Safran), Oasis Smart SIM, Oberthur Technologies, Qualcomm, STMicroelectronics, and Valid, as well as device makers including Apple, Huawei, LG, Microsoft, and Samsung. Telecom equipment provider Nokia and security provider Trustonic also support the specification.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Open Connectivity Foundation Sets Charter for IoT

A new Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) is underway with a mission to help unify IoT standards so that companies and developers can create IoT solutions and devices that work seamlessly together. 

The OCF unifies the entirety of the former Open Interconnect Consortium with leading companies at all levels – silicon, software, platform, and finished-goods – dedicated to providing this key interoperability element of an IoT solution. The effort is led by ARRIS, CableLabs, Cisco, Electrolux, GE Digital, Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Samsung.

The OCF said itss vision for IoT is that billions of connected devices (appliances, phones, computers, industrial equipment) will communicate with one another regardless of manufacturer, operating system, chipset or transport. With the OCF fulfilling this promise, anyone – from a large technology company to a maker in their garage - can adopt the open standards of OCF to innovate and compete, helping ensure secure interoperability for consumers, business, and industry. The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) is creating a specification and sponsoring an open source project to make this possible. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Verizon Delivers SD-WAN with Viptela

Verizon will deliver a new software defined networking solution using Viptela’s Software Defined WAN Platform. Viptela also entered into an exclusive managed services arrangement with Verizon in the United States.

The new Verizon service, powered by Viptela, allows enterprises to “mix and match” private and public IP connections such as MPLS, wireless LTE, broadband and Ethernet to meet an organization’s unique application requirements based on geographic location, bandwidth and application service availability needs. The new managed service is being offered in the U.S., Europe and the Asia Pacific region. It is delivered from Verizon’s cloud and will be supported by Verizon’s IT consulting group.

The Viptela SD-WAN solution expands Verizon’s Managed SD WAN portfolio currently based on Cisco’s iWAN technology in the US, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Key features of Viptela’s SD-WAN platform:

  • Centralized management and increased agility: Deploy changes in service policies in minutes using centralized management and zero-touch capabilities
  • Application performance and service availability: Visibility into application and infrastructure performance to enable informed decisions on resource utilization and application tuning
  • Security: Every device is authenticated and every packet encrypted in the network for added protection while supporting network segmentation
  • Service-chaining: Enables supplementary L4 – L7 services like WAN optimization, firewalls and data leak prevention delivered from the Verizon cloud across the enterprise network.

“Viptela SD-WAN creates a unified and secure WAN that allows Verizon to deliver a new range of business application capabilities with exceptional levels of security, performance and availability,” said Amir Khan, CEO of Viptela. “The new Viptela-powered service enables Verizon to expand its WAN footprint by harnessing the power of software defined networking, and capitalize on new business opportunities made possible by the cloud and virtualized infrastructures.”

Blueprint: What’s Wrong with the WAN?

by Khalid Raza, CTO, Viptela Today’s WANs are built on largely the same infrastructure as they were 10 years ago.  Back then, demands by users and applications were more predictable, resulting in more expected traffic patterns and bandwidth requirements.  And there was no cloud.  And there was no virtualization. But things are different today.  Delay-sensitive real-time applications such as VoIP and video are now enterprise...