Friday, June 2, 2017

Big plans for next gen satellite constellations – Part 1

One thing about the space industry that is a certainty, people like to think big. Just as the mobile networking industry is wrapping up the big 4G LTE network rollouts across the six inhabited continents, while setting its sights on much denser 5G infrastructure, the satellite industry is setting the stage for new generation of broadband satellite constellations. While some see a growing saturation of mobile coverage, augmented by FTTH, xDSL and cable modem fixed line services, the satellite proponents point out that there are billions of people in the developing countries without dependable Internet access.

An FCC study recently found that more than 39% of Americans living in rural areas lack access to advanced telecommunications capability, as compared to 4% of Americans living in urban areas, and approximately 41% of Americans living on Tribal lands lacking access to advanced telecommunications capability. For such unserved or underserved markets broadband satellites promise ubiquitous coverage in rural and hard-to-reach places, especially islands without an undersea cable connection. Satellites also offer an 'incremental user advantage' over mobile infrastructure. This means that if there is one user residing outside the network footprint, the mobile or fixed line network would require the deployment of new equipment closer to this user. For satellite, there is no additional cost from adding just one user from its very wide footprint. This series will look at two recently floated broadband satellite proposals: SpaceX and Ligado Networks.

Elon Musk's SpaceX – massive ambition

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is widely known for its Falcon reusable rocket designs and long-term mission to colonise Mars. The Hawthorne, California based company was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk. Its first big milestones include launching and recovering its Dragon spacecraft in 2010 and becoming the first private company to successfully send a spacecraft to the International Space Station in 2012. It currently has about 6,000 employees; investors include Google, Fidelity, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Founders Fund, Valor Equity Partners and Capricorn. SpaceX believes its reusable launch system is the magic that will significantly bring down the cost of getting into space. Beginning in 2017, SpaceX has entered a schedule of launches on behalf of commercial customers and its NASA contract to transport goods and soon astronauts to the International Space Station.

The SpaceX LEO plans

Earlier this month, Patricia Cooper, VP, Satellite Government Affairs for SpaceX, unveiled an ambitious plan for low-earth orbit satellites during testimony in front of the U.S. Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science & Technology. Her testimony centred on a new generation of U.S.-based LEO satellites. The advantage of LEO positioning is that the satellite can deliver much lower latency versus satellites parked in a geostationary orbit at distances of 22,000 miles. However, large constellations of LEO satellites are needed to maintain continuous coverage.

SpaceX follows a vertically-integrated approach from design, development, production, launch and operations. The company says it is already the world's largest launch services provider, measured by missions under contract. Its upcoming launch manifest current has 70 mission bookings. As of May 16th, the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle has successfully launched 33 times. SpaceX plans to leverage technology advances like dynamic beam forming and phased array antennas in space and on the ground, as well as optical inter-satellite links to establish a 'mesh network' in space through which the satellites will communicate with each other.

First SpaceX design points:

•   Initially, the SpaceX system will consist of 4,425 satellites operating in 83 orbital planes (at altitudes ranging from 1,110 km to 1,325 km).

•   The system will require associated ground control facilities, gateway earth stations, and end user earth stations.

•   The system will use Ka- and Ku-Band spectrum.

•   Target customers include residential, commercial, institutional, governmental, and professional users worldwide.

SpaceX has separately filed for authority to operate in the V-Band, where the company has proposed an additional constellation of 7,500 satellites operating even closer to Earth. To implement the system, SpaceX will utilise the availability of significantly more powerful computing and software capabilities, which will enable SpaceX to allocate broadband resources in real time, placing capacity where it is most needed and directing energy away from areas where it might cause interference to other systems, either in space or on the ground.

In terms of CPE, SpaceX is developing a relatively small flat panel roughly the size of a laptop. It will use similar phased array technologies to allow for highly directive, steered antenna beams that track the system's LEO satellites. In space, the satellites will communicate with each other using optical inter-satellite links, in effect creating a mesh network overhead that will enable seamless network management and continuity of service.

Space X is seeking regulatory clearance to expand the umbrella coverage of the LEO constellation with the more intensive coverage from the VLEO constellation. The company anticipates launching its first prototype satellites by the end on the year. Operation launch is anticipated in 2019 and the company hopes that the remaining satellites will be launched in phases through 2024, when the system will reach full capacity with the Ka- and Ku-band satellites. Naturally, SpaceX intends to use its own Falcon 9 rocket, leveraging significant launch cost savings afforded by the first stage reusability now demonstrated with the vehicle.

At this stage in the project, it looks as though SpaceX is planning to design, launch and operate the broadband satellite constellation on a global basis, with the first prototype launch expected in 2018. So far, it has apparently filed for regulatory permits only in the U.S. Proceeds from the network operations presumably will be used to fund the company's Mars ambitions.

Australia's nbn passes 5m premises, 2.2m customers connected

nbn, responsible for building a national broadband network in Australia, which in April reported it had reached 4.5 million homes passed and 2 million connected customers, has now announced a further significant roll-out milestone with 5 million homes and businesses now able to connect to retail services over the nbn network.

nbn, which is constructing a new and upgraded wholesale broadband network to provide communities across Australia with access to fast broadband from retail service providers, aims to deliver universal high speed access across Australia and a goal of connecting 8 million homes and businesses by 2020.

nbn noted that under its multi-technology mix (MTM) model, FTTN and HFC deployments are driving the increased rollout rate, with the two technologies together now serving around half of the 5 million premises that are able to connect to retail services over the nbn network. It noted that the rate of nbn network deployment is currently averaging 250,000 premises made serviceable each month in the year to date.

The company forecasts that the roll-out pace will increase further over the three months from April to June, during which period it expects to make a further one million premises serviceable as it approaches the target for financial year 2017 of 5.4 million premises ready for service (RFS). Retail services on the nbn network are currently available to nearly one in two Australians. The network is scheduled to be three quarters completed by mid-2018 and complete by 2020.

nbn stated that customer activations are also increasing, with 2.2 million premises now using retail services over the nbn network, with approximately 130,000 new premises signing up with retail service providers each month.

Reported by state, nbn noted that RFS premises are as follows: New South Wales – 1,572,676; Queensland – 1,041,981; Victoria – 1,105,618; Tasmania – 235,452; South Australia – 410,191; Western Australia – 513,300; Northern Territory – 88,645; and Australian Capital Territory – 67,209.

Poland's PSNC deploys ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect for 400G connectivity

ADVA Optical Networking announced that the Poland's Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Center (PSNC) has deployed its FSP 3000 CloudConnect platform with QuadFlex 400 Gbit/s technology into the PIONIER network, a regional R&E network that links high-performance computing centres in five cities across Poland, as well as providing onward connectivity to the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland.

The open ADVA data centre interconnect (DCI) solution deployed by PSNC is transmitting large data loads utilising the 16QAM modulation format. The 96-channel network, which connects supercomputing centres in Poznań and Warsaw, is designed to remove data capacity restrictions and enable researchers to share large data sets. The new solution will help Poland's R&E community to collaborate, share their findings and more reliably access data-intensive applications.

Based on the ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect platform, the new infrastructure incorporates the vendor's QuadFlex technology to enable transport at 400 Gbit/s over 385 km reach without the need for signal regeneration. The system is configured with two 200 Gbit/s wavelengths operating at 16QAM within an optical super-channel. ADVA noted that the new high-capacity link forms a key section of the PIONIER network operated domestically by PSNC.

Designed to provide scalability and bandwidth optimisation, the FSP 3000 CloudConnect platform offers energy efficiency in a compact footprint, and is claimed to require less rack space than competing solutions.

  • Earlier this year, ADVA announced that PSNC had deployed the FSP 3000 equipped with 100 Gbit/s core technology into its PIONIER network. The 96-channel 100 Gbit/s coherent long-haul solution provided by ADVA offers reach of over 3,466 km without signal regeneration and provides redundant GMPLS-based networking between supercomputing centres in the cities of Poznań, Gdansk, Warsaw, Krakow and Wroclaw.

Henan Unicom selects Huawei all-optical for smart hotels

Huawei announced that it is partnering with Henan Unicom, the Henan branch of China Unicom, to deploy a new smart hotel solution based on all-optical access that is designed to promote the digital transformation for the hotel industry.

Huawei noted that in recent years, Henan province's rapid economic growth has led to the development of local tourism, and as a result the number of hotels in the city has increased substantially. As part of efforts to enhance services for visitors, Henan Unicom plans to provide intelligent information services for middle- and high-end hotels in the city.

To address the requirements of the hotel sector, Huawei has developed its smart hotel solution based on all-optical access for Henan Unicom. The solution integrates the high-capacity converged optical line terminal (OLT), MA5800, fibre routed inside buildings and converged smart gateways. The company noted that a MA5800-based GPON network is able to provide coverage for 128 rooms over a single fibre. The solution supports access at rates up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet, as well as providing control of lights and appliances via external intelligent devices.

The Huawei solution delivers exclusive WiFi access for each hotel room, eliminating the effects of poor WiFi coverage and bandwidth sharing. The solution features converged smart gateways that support both wired broadband and wireless WiFi access in one box, providing hotel occupants with IPTV access and HD video and 4K video on demand services.

The Huawei solution also supports centralised operation and maintenance (O&M) via NMS, thereby removing the need for skilled IT support and reducing management costs. In addition, the smart hotel solution is designed to allow the evolution to next-generation PON access technologies.

  • In April, Nokia announced a live trial in China Unicom's commercial network in Shandong using the Nokia Virtualized Services Router (VSR) and involving more than 5,000 residential subscribers, designed to enable China Unicom to accelerate the delivery of broadband utilising a flexible network based on virtualised network functions (VNFs).
  • In 2016, Nokia announced an expanded partnership with China Unicom for the supply of its high-capacity core router, the 7950 Extensible Routing System (XRS). At the time Nokia stated that China Unicom had initially deployed the 7950 XRS into metro networks in Beijing, Shandong, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Inner Mongolia and Qinghai, and under the expanded agreement would deploy it in Heilongjiang, Henan, Zhejiang and Hunan to enhance fixed and mobile broadband services.

Germany's NetCologne and ZTE demo MHz

ZTE and NetCologne, a regional network operator in the great Cologne-Bonn area of Germany and a subsidiary of utility company GEW Köln, which in March announced with ZTE the launch of the pilot phase of a roll-out, have jointly announced the MHz profile ultra-broadband solution at the ANGACOM broadband exhibition in Cologne.

In what the companies claim is the first demonstration of MHz, the technology is being tested over a live network. As part of the demonstration ZTE and NetCologne showcased the access rate profile of MHz reaching more than 1.8 Gbit/s, with a download rate 1.6 Gbit/s and upload rate of around 200 Mbit/s. ZTE's solution is designed to enable NetCologne's fibre-to-the-building (FttB) access network to support gigabit bandwidth.
NetCologne stated that it is committed to providing the city of Cologne and surrounding regions with reliable, advanced telecom services, and has cited a target of reaching 260,000 homes. The company operates four data centres and offers a service portfolio that includes voice and data services and distribution of TV services for both residential and business users, as well as business ICT solutions.

  • NetCologne and ZTE signed the agreement defining their strategic partnership in February of this year. Under the terms of the agreement, ZTE will provide NetCologne with advanced network equipment including distribution point units (DPUs) and terminals.
  • ZTE's multi-port DPU supports MHz and flexible uplink selection among PON/point-to-point/DSL (PON/P2P/DSL) technologies. The solution also features multiple power supply options, allowing it to self-adapt for a range of deployment scenarios.
  • Through the agreement, ZTE will help NetCologne to upgrade its existing VDSL network to a network. This solution will enable NetCologne to cost-effectively provide access at rates approaching 2 Gbit/s while utilising the existing copper infrastructure, without the need for fibre reconstruction in the residential network.

City of Celina in Texas to require fibre in new developments

The city of Celina in Texas announced that, following a unanimous decision by the city council to approve the Easement Ordinance amendment at the recent May city council meeting, developers will be required to install optical fibre lines and conduits in all new developments within the boundaries of the city.

The city of Celina, located approximately 40 miles from Dallas, stated that, through the Celina Economic Development Corporation (EDC), it is designing and shortly plans to begin the construction of an 86-mile fibre backhaul network across the city. In addition, through developer and building ordinances and other public-private partnerships, Celina is aiming to build a fibre network to serve a further 64 sq miles across the city to connect all residential, business and municipal rooftops to this fibre backbone.

The city noted that the ordinance that has been passed states that: '…a fibre optic network in the city of Celina is a fundamental aspect of the infrastructure required to educate, create jobs, promote public safety, improve citizens' standards of living and deliver essential services'.

The planned open access network for Celina is intended to enable faster communication and Internet speeds for consumers and businesses and to establish the first Gigabit City in the state of Texas. Celina's Gigabit City is specifically committed to providing connectivity with a minimum speed of 1 Gbit/s symmertical to all residential and business premises across the city.

Describing the project, Scott Stawski, secretary and board member of the Celina EDC, said, "(The network) is approximately only 8% built out, but there is a clear line of sight to being 100% built out in 20 years… because the city is building the gigabit infrastructure now, it will become more attractive to potential new businesses and companies looking to establish in a community with the fastest connectivity in the state of Texas".

Thursday, June 1, 2017

AT&T Foundry and Caltech plan Alliance for Quantum Technologies

The AT&T Foundry innovation centre in Palo Alto, California announced that it is teaming with the California Institute of Technology to form the Alliance for Quantum Technologies (AQT), with the aims of bringing together industry, government and academia to accelerate the development of quantum technology and to address practical applications.

The collaboration will also establish a research and development program named INQNET (INtelligent Quantum NEtworks and Technologies), which will focus on meeting demand for capacity and security in communications leveraging advanced quantum networking technologies.

Under the new initiative, AT&T and Caltech, through AQT and INQNET, are seeking to create the model for technology development between academic institutions, industry and national laboratories. One of the first demonstrations of intelligent and quantum network technologies will involve quantum entanglement distribution and benchmarking and validation studies utilising commercial fibre provided by AT&T.

AT&T noted that quantum networking is expected to enable a new era of super-fast, secure networking, and through the AT&T Foundry it will support testing of relevant technologies for commercial applications.

AT&T explained that quantum computers will be unlike current systems, being effectively complex physics experiments employing cryogenics for cooling, lasers and other solid-state, electronic, optical and atomic devices. As a result, transitioning quantum computing from the R&D lab into the real world for practical applications will mean solving numerous technical and engineering challenges.

The science behind quantum computing is complex, extending across disciplines such as physics, engineering, computer science and applied mathematics, with the fundamental concept involving the application of the laws of quantum mechanics to processing and distributing information.

Such quantum computing systems are expected to provide exponentially greater computing power, while quantum networking entails linking quantum computers and devices together to create faster and more secure networks with capabilities beyond what is possible using conventional processors.

Ciena reports revenue of $707.0 million, up 10% YoY

Ciena reported revenue of $707.0 million for its fiscal second quarter 2017,  as compared to $640.7 million for the same period last year. Net income (GAAP) for the fiscal second quarter 2017 was $38.0 million, or $0.25 per diluted common share, which compares to a GAAP net income of $14.0 million, or $0.10 per diluted common share, for the fiscal second quarter 2016.

“We delivered outstanding second quarter performance across all financial metrics, underpinned by positive market dynamics and a growing competitive advantage," said Gary B. Smith, president and CEO, Ciena. "We continue to win as an innovation powerhouse with global scale and deep customer relationships across a broad set of applications and market segments."

Netnod deploys ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect with 400G

ADVA Optical Networking announced that Netnod based in Stockholm, the leading Internet exchange operator in the Nordic region, is deploying its FSP 3000 CloudConnect with QuadFlex 400 Gbit/s technology to establish its new Optical IX service.

The newly installed transport infrastructure, which also incorporates ADVA's ROADMs and FSP Network Hypervisor, is designed to enable Netnod to offer customers complete traffic control as well as connectivity options at rates up to 100 Gbit/s. Leveraging the new Optical IX service, operators will be able to access faster, more cost-efficient and more easily managed data transport services.

The new 96-channel infrastructure features ADVA's open optical layer technology, enhanced with FSP 3000 QuadFlex 400 Gbit/s capabilities, to deliver increased capacity via support for two 200 Gbit/s wavelengths operating at 16QAM within an optical super-channel.

Integrating dynamically operating ROADMs to provide automated control, the directionless optical transport system also provides greater flexibility. This capability allows Netnod’s customers to opt to interconnect across the optical, physical or data link network layer, as well as offering the facility to select single ports or use fully redundant options.

Additionally, utilising ADVA's multi-degree ROADM technology and FSP network hypervisor, Netnod is provided with the foundation for implementing software-defined networking (SDN).

Regarding the project, Lars Michael Jogbäck, CEO at Netnod, commented, "With a scalable platform built to accommodate significant increases in capacity, Netnod can offer more choice of how they connect and exchange traffic… with ADVA, Netnod is taking network automation to the next level… by offering a flexible, future-proof infrastructure with SDN in the optical layer, Netnod can continue as the choice for access to the highly-interconnected Nordic region, as well as the Russian and Baltic markets".

  • Separately, Netnod announced that it had selected ADVA and Arista as its technology partners for the new Optical IX service, designed for operator and CDN customers. It stated that the Optical IX platform was expected to launch in Netnod Copenhagen in the third quarter, followed by Netnod Stockholm in the fourth quarter of this year.

Comcast to offer DOCSIS 3.1 n Oregon and SW Washington

Comcast announced that it is launching a new DOCSIS 3.1-based Internet service providing speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s for residential customers throughout its Oregon/southwest Washington region, which it believes will be among the fastest and expansive service in the region, also offering access to its national WiFi network with more than 17 million hotspots.

The company's new 1 Gigabit internet service in Oregon/SW Washington area utilises DOCSIS 3.1 technology to deliver higher speed broadband over the existing communications lines installed in most customer's homes. To access the new service, customers simply need to install a new DOCSIS 3.1-compatible cable modem.

Earlier in May, Comcast launched Xfinity xFi, a platform designed to provide a simple digital dashboard that allows customers to set up their home WiFi network, see what devices are connected, troubleshoot issues and set parental controls. Outside the home, Xfinity Internet customers also have access to nearly 17 million WiFi hotspots nationwide.

  • The gigabit service launch in Oregon and southwest Washington follows Comcast's recent announcement that it was introducing DOCSIS 3.1-based gigabit Internet service for residential customers throughout Utah, specifically in the markets of Salt Lake City, Provo and North Ogden. In 2016, Comcast announced consumer trials of the DOCSIS 3.1-based gigabit Internet service in parts of Atlanta and in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • In January this year, Comcast Business announced it was offering DOCSIS 3.1-based Internet service to business customers in its Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Nashville service areas.
  • Comcast announced in February 2016 year plans to bring gigabit Internet speeds to residential and business customers utilising DOCSIS 3.1 technology, and during the year announced it was launching an advanced consumer trial of DOCSIS 3.1 technology-based Internet service offering speeds up to 1 Gbit/s to residential customers in Chicago and Detroit.

Mavenir and 6WIND collaborate on 4G/5G, NFV

6WIND, a provider of high-performance networking software, announced that Mavenir based in Richardson, Texas, which focuses on enabling network transformation for service providers, has extended its long-term partnership to deliver advanced solutions for 4G, 5G and network functions virtualisation (NFV) services such as media resource function (MRF), evolved packet core (EPC), virtual RAN (vRAN) and session border controller (SBC) products.

Under the expanded agreement, to enable high packet processing capacity and performance across its next-generation telecom networking solutions Mavenir has extended its license agreement with 6WIND to include the 6WINDGate TCP stack.

In addition to the 6WIND software, Mavenir is able to leverage 6WIND's Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) expertise, network software design skills and licensed support. The TCP stack addition complements a range of DPDK-based Layer 2 to Layer 4 6WINDGate stacks that are widely incorporated in the Mavenir product suite.

Mavenir's expanded partnership specifically provides access to the following 6WIND software and features:

1.         Networking performance acceleration and portability, including 6WINDGate source code for Linux networking; accelerated Layer 2 to 4 networking stacks for application performance and portability across hardware platforms; and the TCP termination module for scaling TCP-based application performance.

2.         Virtualisation readiness, enabling a smooth upgrade path from bare metal to virtual deployments utilising the same software.

  • Recently, 6WIND announced its Secure Site-to-Site VPN solution for data centre inter-connection, based on the 6WIND Turbo IPsec software for networking at rates of 10 Gbit/s and beyond. 6WIND Turbo IPsec is designed to enable IPsec VPNs on COTS servers with claimed costs of less than 50% that of legacy hardware systems. 6WIND Turbo IPsec can be deployed on bare metal servers or in a virtual machine to support the transition to virtualisation

Enea launches lightweight virtualisation platform for the network edge

Enea of Sweden, a supplier of network software platforms, has announced the introduction of Enea NFV Access, a lightweight virtualisation platform designed for customer premise deployment at the network edge.

Enea NFV Access is optimised to provide a minimal footprint, high throughput solution for virtual network functions (VNFs) running in KVM and Docker containers. NFV Access supports both ARM and x86 white box solutions, enabling operators and service providers to address a range of price and performance points while utilising a common platform and management interfaces.

Enea's NFV Access is designed to meet the specific requirements of enabling virtualisation on edge devices, eliminating the need for a full OpenStack deployment to provide a lightweight platform. The solution, along with VNFs, can run on as few as two cores without limiting throughput or performance, while support for container virtualisation enhances VNF density and reduces total system footprint.

In addition, NFV Access allows mixing of containers and virtual machines on the same platform, enabling both greater flexibility and offering a migration path from VMs to containers.

The key components of Enea NFV Access include virtualisation via KVM and Docker, optimised vSwitch, a full FCAPS management solution, VNF lifecycle management, service function chaining (SCF) capacity and an optimised data plane supporting 10 Gbit/s line rate from VMs and containers. The solution also features open, standards-based interfaces, making it hardware agnostic and fully portable, offering interoperability with popular VNFs.

NFV Access supports VNF lifecycle management and service function chaining via a range of northbound interfaces, including NetConf, Rest, OpenStack and Docker, which can either interface orchestration directly, or interface to a control node in a central office or point-of-presence (PoP). This functionality enables the solution to be integrated with existing networks and orchestration solutions, simplifying virtualisation of network functions at the edge.

In combination with the company's previously announced NFV Core platform, Enea now addresses three vCPE deployment scenarios: central office and PoP via NFV Core; customer premise deployment with Enea NFV Access; and distributed scenarios by combining both platforms.

  • Recently, Enea, together with China Mobile, ARM and Cavium, announced an agreement to collaborate in the China Mobile Open NFV Testlab via Enea's OPNFV-based NFV Core platform and Cavium's ARM-based ThunderX workload-optimised data centre server processors. The work was to include validation of NFV tests cases such as vCPE, vBRAS, vEPC and vIMS and support for Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP).
  • In April this year, Enea unveiled its NFV Core deployment-ready NFV software platform targeting central office virtualisation at the network edge.

DOCOMO Adds Nokia its 5G Test Plan

Nokia announced an initiative to develop the 5G ecosystem in partnership with major operator NTT DOCOMO in Japan as it prepares for the forthcoming introduction of the next generation, 5G wireless network.

The collaboration between Nokia and DOCOMO, which will utilise the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform, will commence with the key interoperability testing of multi-vendor technology using the 4.5 GHz frequency band. Under the agreement, Nokia will conduct trials of 5G technology with DOCOMO in the Tokyo metro area during 2017, with a particular focus on tourist, shopping and business locations and key public events hosted by the operator.

The tests will be based on the Nokia 5G FIRST solution, incorporating the Nokia AirScale base station transmitting over a 5G radio interface to the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform. The companies plan to test end-to-end applications over the air between the base station and the device on the 4.5 GHz frequency band, which is a candidate band for 5G services in Japan.
Nokia noted that the 5G FIRST solution is based on early-adopters radio specifications that define a common interface to allow equipment from multiple vendors to connect over a 5G radio network.

The collaboration with NTT DOCOMO will specifically involve Nokia's AirScale Active Antenna equipped with massive MIMO technology and digital beamforming, designed to provide enhanced cell range, maximised performance at the cell edge and increased spectral efficiency. The 5G FIRST platform, designed to support multi-vendor end user devices for 5G, incorporates the Nokia AirScale base station and AirFrame data centre technology.

A demonstration of the end-to-end tests supporting low-latency 4K video streaming and other demanding 5G applications was conducted during the 5G Tokyo Bay Summit 2017 earlier in May.

  • Earlier this year, DOCOMO announced plans to conduct interoperability testing and over-the-air field trials in Japan based on the 5G New Radio (NR) specifications under development by 3GPP, specifically involving mid-band spectrum at 4.5 GHz and millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum at 28 GHz. The trials were to be based on device prototype and base station solutions from Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson, respectively.

ZTE implements large-scale virtual SDM for Banglalink of Bangladesh

ZTE, which in April announced an agreement with Banglalink, a major digital communications service provider in Bangladesh, to build a large-scale virtual subscriber data management (vSDM) platform, has now announced the successful migration of 60 million legacy users and formal commercialisation of what it claims in the largest vSDM platform implemented to date.

The newly deployed high capacity virtual SDM platform is designed to provide Banglalink with more efficient user data management and to enable enhanced service availability.

The vSDM platform installed by ZTE employs advanced virtualisation technology to enable hardware and software decoupling and is based on generic commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware to allow flexible and elastic on-demand deployment and help reduce investment and operation and maintenance (O&M) costs. The solution is also designed to support continuous network and service evolution for future applications such as 5G and IoT.

The platform uses a large-capacity multi-NE integration database solution to meet the requirements of multi-network integration and high capacity, while the virtualisation technology is designed to deliver faster speeds to help users realise their digital transformation objectives and provide Banglalink's 60 million subscribers with improved service quality.

  • Banglalink Digital Communications is a company of Telecom Ventures, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Global Telecom Holding, owned 51.9% by VEON (formerly known as VimpelCom). In April, ZTE and VEON announced a global framework agreement covering network function virtualisation infrastructure (NFVI) and virtual evolved packet core (vEPC), as a part of which they plan to cooperate on the development of virtualisation technology.

Update on the Irish Telecoms Market - part 2

Market statistics 

The latest statistics published by ComReg March 9th for the Irish communications market (Euro, subscriber units, traffic minutes, percentages): 

        Q4 2016   Q3 2016  Q/Q chg Annual chg 
Total retail market rev 786,979,056 771,259,282 2.00%  1.6% 
 Fixed line retail rev 352,168,098 343,428,620 2.50%  6.0% 
 Mobile retail rev 401,847,730 394,265,887 0 -0.40%
 Broadcast retail rev 32,963,228 33,564,775   (1.8%)   (15.8%) 
Fixed wholesale rev 139,675,999 144,195,780   (3.1%)   (4.5%) 
Mobile wholesale rev 49,649,788 66,702,057 -25.60%   (35.7%) 
Voice traffic mins 4,148,560,007 4,151,766,387 -0.10%   (1.7%) 
 Fixed voice mins 1,022,409,364 1,031,864,645 -0.90%   (6.6%) 
 Mobile voice mins 3,126,150,643 3,119,901,742 0.20%  0.1% 
Fixed b/band subscriptions   1,360,309 1,342,727 1.30%   3.9% 
Fixed subscriptions    1,805,923  1, 798,609 0.40%   (0.9%) 
Fixed voice subscriptions   1,475,661 1,468,960 0.50%   (0.4%) 
Total mobile subscriptions   5,969,928 5,937,883 0.50%   2.0% 
 M2M subscriptions    670,389   647,894   3.5%   21.0% 
 Mobile b/band subs    349,421   361,463   (3.3%)   (12.5%) 
 Other mobile subscriptions 4,950,118 4,928,526 0.40%   1.0% 

Breakdown by type of active broadband subscriptions for Q4 2016 and quarterly and annual growth-rates:  

      Q4 2016   Q4/Q3 2016 growth  Q4 2016/15 growth 
DSL Broadband   435,253   (5.3%)     (17.0%) 
VDSL Broadband   498,844   7.8%     40.0% 
Cable Broadband   366,699   0.1%     (1.9%) 
FTTP     7,623   20.2%     38.8% 
Satellite     5,291   (0.5%)     (9.5%) 
FWA Broadband   46,599   9.3%     7.6% 
Total fixed B/band 1,360,309 1.30%     3.9% 
Mobile Broadband 349,421   (3.3%)     (12.5%) 
Total Broadband   1,709,930 0.30%     0.1% 

(NB: ComReg notes the FTTP number is artificial due to some recent changes in methodology.) 

TV Homes by reception type for January 2017 vs January 2016 (thousands of homes): 

      Jan 2017  Jan 2016
Total TV homes   1,578   1,569 
 Irish terrestrial   191    186 
 Multi total   1,387   1,383 
 Analogue cable/sat 16    21 
 Digital cable/sat 1,371   1,362 
 IPTV     51    29 

Market share data by sector Q4 2016 

Fixed retail revenue market share by vendor for Q4 

Fixed revenue shares were as follows: Eir 43.5%, OAOs 12.5%; Virgin Media 14.7%, Vodafone 14.3%, BT 5.3%, Verizon 2.1%, Sky Ireland 4.9%, and Magnet 2.7% (OAO is other authorised operators with below 2% market share in a quarter; in previous quarters AT&T and Digiweb had market shares above 2%). 

Fixed voice subscriptions market share by vendor for Q4 

Voice subscriber shares were as follows: Eir 39.9%, Virgin Media 23.9%, Vodafone 15.3%, Sky Ireland=11.2%, Pure Telecom 2.9%, Digiweb 2.5%, and OAOs 4.4% (over the last three years Eir's market share has fallen 10 points from 49.9% in Q4 2013 and Sky Ireland's market share over the same period has risen 7.4 points from 3.8% in Q4 2013). 

Fixed broadband subscriptions market share by vendor Q4 

Fixed broadband shares were as follows: Eir 32.6%, Virgin Media 26.8%, Vodafone 19.7%, Sky Ireland 11.8%, OAOs 9.2%. 

Total mobile subscriptions market share in Q4 

Mobile subscriber market shares (including mobile broadband and M2M) were: Vodafone 38.5%, Three Group 34.9%, Eir Group Mobile 18.0%, Tesco Mobile 6.0%, OAOs 2.6%. 

Mobile broadband subscriptions market share Q4 

Mobile broadband subscriber shares were: Three Group 43.3%, Vodafone 43.9%, Eir Mobile 11.1%, OAOs 1.8%. 

Companies that make returns to ComReg data for its quarterly reports: Airspeed Telecom; AT&T Global Network Services Ireland; ATS Voice; Blueface; BT Communications Ireland; Casey Cablevision; Colt Technology Services; Crossan Cablecom; DigitalForge; Digiweb; Edge Telecommunications; Eircom; E-Net; Equant operations in Ireland (EGN BV and ENS); ESB Telecoms; EuNetworks Ireland Private Fiber; Europasat Satellite Ireland; Fastcom Broadband; Fulnett, t/a Strencom; ID; IFA Telecom; Imagine Group; Level 3 Communications (Ireland); Lycamobile Ireland; Magnet Networks; Meteor Mobile Communications; Modeva Networks; Nova Networks; Permanet; Postmobile; Pure Telecom; Rapid Broadband; Ripplecom; Sky Ireland; SprintLink Ireland; Tesco Mobile Ireland; Three Ireland(Hutchison); Virgin Media Business; Virgin Media Ireland; Verizon Ireland; and Vodafone Ireland (total 41).