My RSS feedhttp://the-mobile-network.comen-usCopyright (C) 2013 Bell Labs' network R&D chiefs say small cells are key tech Shared small cells, and exploiting the convergence of wired and wireless architectures, could reduce the cost of deploying high capacity access networks, according to Dr Tod Sizer, Head of Wireless Research at Bell Labs and the architect of Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio innovation. <br/>Talking to <i>The Mobile Network</i>, Sizer outlined two key trends that the networks research team at Bell Labs is exploring. The first is driven by the fact that, according to Sizer, wireless and wireline networks are becoming more and more alike. <br/>As Sizer put it, wireline networks are now more often than not connected over the last few metres by WiFi. At the same time, cellular networks are densifying, and require a lot of wired backhaul. So, in Sizer's words, we are seeing "two types of networks which are now moving to the same sort of overall architecture: that of a highly sophisticated wireline network serving a short distance wireless network." <br/>In fact, Bell Labs has merged its wireline and wireless research teams, Sizer said, as a result of this convergence. <br/>"We're looking at how we might be able to exploit that [convergence of architecture] in order to seamlessly hand off between what has traditionally been in the cellular space and what has traditionally been in the wireline space. <br/>"The fact is that on WiFi, performance can be quite spotty with the end user subjected to interruption in performance. If we had a combination of WiFi and cellular and could monitor the performance of the user, then if there were problems on WiFI we could hand off to the cellular network - which is much higher performing but has somewhat limited capacity. Where and how to do that is something we are investigating. My guess is the model will depend on specific circumstances: one might imagine either an application on the phone that can manage connectivity, or the network itself could measure the performance of the end user and then take the actions necessary to preserve the QoS they need." <br/>The other man thrust of Sizer's thinking is to do with shared access - both in fibre and wireless. <br/>For the former, the company is investigating open access fibre, where the same fibre can be used by a number of different service providers, with each service provider having a different colour separated by wavelengths. Shared access could bring down the "heavy cost" of deploying fibre, opening up the business cases for deploying fibre, which Sizer describes as "still the best fundamental technology to be able to deploy." <br/>For wireless sharing, Sizer expanded on a prototype Alcatel-Lucent showed at MWC last year - a very high power lightRadio cube - essentially a multi-band small cell that would be able to connect up to four different service providers, with the operators all using the same hardware, backhaul, power and location. A shared small cell would have a big capacity and cost advantage over neutral host DAS, Sizer said. <br/>"Alcatel-Lucent also sells DAS and they have their applications. The problem is it's still pretty expensive to install and a DAS system only has enough capacity to handle the equivalent of one cellular sector. If you use DAS today you're going to run out of capacity. The neutral host cube has the ability to serve as many from a single small cell as you could from an entire DAS system, and covers a smaller area so the per-user bandwidth is now dramatically enhanced." <br/>"That sort of shared access could address the very real costs of deploying high capacity solutions," Sizer said. "As growth explodes we need to react quite quickly and sharing costs is one area to try to explore." en-us Alcatel-Lucent's small cell research directions at MWC2012 Strategy Analytics forecasts LTE backhaul shortfall Strategy Analytics, the analyst company that carried out the research for Tellabs, built its forecast on a traffic growth estimate of between five and six times by 2017. It then tallied up planned backhaul investment against what it thinks is the required investment to serve that growth in traffic volumes. <br/>It found that there could be a $9.2 billion shortfall, relating to 9.4 Petabytes of data getting all dressed up with nowhere to go by 2017. 9.4 Petabytes of that squeezed data will be in Asia-Pacific, the report said. <br/>A Tellabs release said: <i>"Over the next 5 years, mobile backhaul will become increasingly complex. Operators will struggle to support multi-frequency heterogeneous networks and new bursty usage patterns. Current operator forecasts allocate an average of 17.5% of total cost of operations to backhaul investment, but investment at that level simply cannot meet user demand."</i> <br/>Sue Rudd, Director, Service Provider Analysis, Strategy Analytics, said, "At today's backhaul investment levels, operators could create a significant backhaul capacity shortage. This shortfall could diminish quality of service and, in turn, increase customer churn. Operators need to rethink their backhaul investments as they deploy small cells and LTE capacity." You can read the rest of the report's findings, including some headline stats on the bottom line impact of backhaul investment <a href="">here</a>. en-us The rise of the telecom cloud The success of the cloud has been lauded by the enterprise sector for quite some time. Cloud technology has disrupted this market with its cost and scale efficiencies. The technology enables a rapidly deployed, shared pool of hardware resources to be leveraged. This delivers the ability to scale up or down and facilitate heterogeneous workload consolidation; all while driving hardware utilization up. Operators now face an increasingly challenging market in which competition is intensifying and financial fluency is constricting. It comes as no surprise that carriers are looking to the cloud model for their own central offices. However, constructing a cloud architecture that caters to the demanding needs of the telecoms space is not straightforward. <br/><b>Central office optimisation</b> The roadmap for the telecom cloud is well and truly under way. Leading operators around the world including AT&T, Verizon and Deutsche Telecom, have laid down their own vision for the cloud in the Network Function Virtualization (NFV) white paper that was released in October of last year. This NFV vision is now being carried forward by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Industry Specification Group (ISG). Many operators are already building their cloud to enable them to provide services, such as IaaS and PaaS, to the enterprise sector. Operators are uniquely placed to do this - as they have the connections with CIOs and already deliver broadband connectivity services to enterprises. However, the advent of the cloud in telecoms also now enables operators to deliver combined connectivity and computing services to enterprises. <br/>But this cloud opportunity goes much deeper for operators than enabling them to provide an increased range of enterprise services. The cloud unlocks the opportunity to streamline the central office, releasing pressure on CapEx and OpEX, and helping operators become sleeker in their operating practices and compete more efficiently in a crowded market. Cloud technology offers a path to a completely new, scalable and cost effective kind of telecom infrastructure through decoupling hardware from software. The central office of tomorrow will not deliver network functions as integrated boxes. Instead, new network functions will be deployed as software workloads on homogenised hardware platforms. This amalgamation of network function workload will drive CapEx down and utilisation up. This will also positively impact the rate at which operators can launch new services; but also enable them to cost-effectively trial new services while still ensuring they are prepared to scale any service, should it become popular, through the cloud's elastic architecture. en-us Welcome to The Mobile Network <b>What is The Mobile Network?</b><br /> I want The Mobile Network to be a site, a place, where we can report on and discuss the technology and services that go together to make mobile networks work. That's everything from the chip developers, to the platform providers, the NEPs and the services and software providers in design, planning, optimisation and operation of a mobile network.<br /> Why? Because I think there's room for a site that puts the different areas of mobile network tech in context, and writes about the whole wide range of companies operating in the mobile network.<br /> Relationships matter - it's a bland statement but there's something to it. Yes, we can view each element and the companies that develop them as an independent space, or we can ask how the web of relationships goes together to make up the mobile network. We're going to try and do the latter.<br /> Here's our manifesto. If we cover something - a company or technology or product - we want to know how it fits into the mobile network, where it fits in, why it makes the mobile network run more efficiently or increases performance, and who is impacted by that.<br /> <b>How will we do this?</b><br /> First, we will pick up on the news of the day and place it in context - try to unpick the relationships that surround that piece of news. We won't concentrate solely on the top few NEPs or listed companies. We will cover the developments of the vast bulk of companies that make up the mobile network, placing what they do in context.<br /> en-us Some automated thinking about MWC2013 Oh you know, I can't prove it because this is my first bit of spouting off in this space. But if I had had another life before this one, say a website where I was occasionally allowed time off coal-mining duties to write something, you might have seen me once before, or even twice, mention that automation of network processes is going to be a big thing. I even tried to write an article about it in our <a href="">launch issue of TMN Quarterly </a>, and although I'm not sure I quite got to the nub of what the vendors are up to, I'm gratified that my hunch that automation would be a "thing" right about now is being born out by announcements made after I went to press on that article (no, really, great timing everyone). I digress. What do I mean by "automation of network processes"? I mean the automation of designing and optimising a network, tweaking and operating it so that it works well and delivers the best performance at the right time in the right place. Things like that have relied on clever people doing clever things up to now, and now they will increasingly be done by clever computers doing clever things. Partly this is being driven by the Het Net, with its demands for inter-layer coordination, and for inter-mode traffic management (put simply, managing services across 2G, 3G, and LTE networks). We might call that the outside-in optimisation - where things happening in the RAN are fed back to the core, whicih decides what to to about them. But I also think there is a movement that is moving from back in the network, right in the back office, out to the edge - let's call that inside-out optimisation. This is where customer and network data is being churned through to produce actions such as tilting an antenna, yes, but also policies and classes of service. So, you've got SON, yes. But I think SON is morphing, as a term, from something specific (self-configuration, self-healing, self-optimising, standardised in 3GPP) to mean, "automatic things that happen in a network that take advantage of data that we have got from somewhere". I think that's happening because the main vendors have realised that they need it to mean that. With the outside-in model, there is potential disruption to their hegemony from stand-alone planning and optimisation companies, doing clever things right from the device level to inform the network what is going on, and what should happen as a result. With the inside-out model, disruption can come from the likes of a Tektronix or big OSS vendor, or someone who can crack the "big data" thing. (I like calling things a "thing". It is suitably vague and keeps us moving on). That's why we saw Ericsson buy Telcordia and why NSN made its CEM platform, built lest we forget on the long-forgotten acquisition of SDM specialist Apertio in 2008, a central plank of its bid to be the world's most focussed Mobile Broadband Solutions company. en-us ip.access now a small cell millionaire The company said it notched up 40 small contracts in 2012 and scored five framework operator deals, including one that covered 15 country networks of "a major T1 operator". There was also a strategic partnership with "a major macro network equipment provider" who will be selling ip.access' access points, gateways and management systems. The company added that 2012 also saw it ship its first LTE small cells to trial customers. Simon Brown, CEO, <i>pictured</i>) said that the company was scoring success with its end-to-end management vision, with the development of a gateway that interfaces to 2G, 3G and LTE access points crucial to that multi-technology advantage. "All our contract wins last year cover multi-technology solutions," Brown said, "and the development of our nanoConverge Gateway has been instrumental in our success." en-us Small Cells Asia 2013 China Unicom, Cellcom USA , Chunghwa Telecom, Maxis, NTT Docomo Softbank, Telkom Indonesia, Thaicom and Vodafone New Zealand complete and impressive-looking list of operator speakers. <a href="">Event website</a> (Image: <a href="">Trey Ratcliff</a>) en-us Metrocell Masterclass: Become a metrocell expert in one day <a href="">The Metrocell Masterclass</a> is a full day interactive session designed to bring delegates up to speed with current metrocell technology and best practice. It's suitable both for newcomers to the technology as well as those who need to become current again. The course structure includes: Definition of small cells, femtocells, metrocells, picocells and HetNets. System Architecture and operation. Status of common technical issues. Small Cell Standards: 3GPP, Small Cell Forum, 3GPP2, WBA etc. Different radio access technologies: 3G, HSPA, LTE, Wi-Fi. Backhaul: Microwave, millimetre wave, optical, Wi-Fi, Point-to-Multipoint, Inband. Supplier eco-system: From chipsets to system integrators. Commercial deployment models: Hosting Small Cell as a Service, upgrades. Case Study: Comparing cost of small cell with macrocell expansion. Metrocell Roadmap: A glimpse of the future. <br/> Why take this class? You will understand the capabilities and limitations of metrocell technology, knowing where and when it can be used. en-us 3rd ETSI Future Network Workshop Aggregating resources such as processing, storage and communication interfaces across multiple domains to provide any end-to-end service at different abstraction levels in a pervasive manner, entails not only technological challenges, but also new business models in order to capture the value of new network technologies. This is without doubt a key event in the telco network year. en-us Broadband MEA2013 Operators get a 50% discount. This event is part of the Broadband World Series event, which has its own <a href="">blog</a>, with some interesting posts that are well worth checking out. en-us Fastback Networks claims backhaul breakthrough with Any Line of Sight Seshadri Sathyanarayan, VP of Marketing, Fastback, said the backhaul unit, dubbed Intelligent Backhaul Radio, can deliver 500Mbps at 500 &#956;sec latency operating in the 5GHz UNII ISM band. The company's pitch is that the unit adapts to Line of Sight or complete Non Line of Sight conditions, hence the Any Line of Sight branding. So how does that work? "I can't get into the details of exactly what makes that performance work and its ability to adapt. There's a myriad of things that work together to achieve that performance and sustain it under these harsh radio conditions. There's a variety of techniques that use sophisticated antennas, baseband processing and algorithms that run on it, to deliver and maintain that performance in any line of site conditions." "What it means is that the single radio is all you need to deploy where there is line of site to the other locations or there are buildings in the way, or a few trees for near line of site. In any of those conditions, the radio does not change, it is one single radio that adapts to all three conditions, and that is why we call it Intelligent Backhaul Radio." The product is in trials with Tier One US carriers, Sathyanarayan said. "I'm under NDA not to disclose what they are using it for but they see it as an opportunity to extend the point as presence as well as for small cells." Sathyanarayan said the company's initial aim was to build a wireless product that would meet fibre SLAs. "This wasn't a backhaul radio connectivity problem for us, from the get go the problem for us was what does it take to deliver a fibre SLA: not just the physical capacities but also the associated fibre capabilities that come with it. So what you see now is the result of that. We believe it's an industry first to deliver this fibre equivalent performance." Fastback's marketing said that the solution supports a variety of P2P, MP2P, mesh, ring and daisy chain deployment topologies. Features include Carrier Ethernet & MPLS transport, packet based timing support for 1588v2 and Synchronous Ethernet, NTE/UNI service demarcation functionality, transport security and SLA Assurance. Combining the radio unit with a controller switch, plus an element management system delivers Carrier Ethernet (CE 2.0) services in NLOS conditions that today require access to the fiber service edge. Fastback calls that the Anywhere Service Edge. en-us Dual FDD-TDD LTE networks on the horizon: Aeroflex adds first test support TDD-FDD handover for dual-standard networks is not something that would have been high up the list too long ago, but spectrum utilisation is becoming increasingly important, and operators are less willing to leave TDD spectrum on the bench. Aeroflex stated in its press release that, "Network operators around the world are already commissioning dual standard networks as part of the rapid expansion in TD-LTE (LTE TDD) networks." Indeed, just today came the news Vodafone has bid for and acquired TDD spectrum in the UK, although it is probably not yet the best example of an operator with a TDD-FDD consumer strategy. China Mobile Ltd (Hong Kong) launched the first commercial FDD-TDD dual mode network in December 2012, using equipment from Ericsson, and Aeroflex claims that an increasing number of operators rolling out LTE in both paired and unpaired spectrum. In September 2012, SK Telecom again with Ericsson, and Altair Semiconductor, said it had developed a two-way handover technology that supported both Duplex modes in one device, and had successfully demonstrated the technology in a moving vehicle environment for the first time in the world. "Dual-standard TDD/FDD LTE networks are likely to grow in importance towards the end of this decade, as operators start running out of spectrum," said Caroline Gabriel, Research Director at Maravedis Rethink. "They will need to make the best use of this scarce resource, and this will include utilising bands of unpaired spectrum. Even networks that are currently FDD only may begin to use TDD for offloading." According to ARCchart there are already more than 50 mobile operators worldwide committed to TDD technology for LTE. The GSA suggests that there were 13 commercial LTE networks launched as of January 2013. Most of the TD-LTE compatible mobile devices launched commercially to date support both FDD and TDD modes of operation. If there are going to be more such networks, then handover's going to be key. "Verifying end-user performance when calls are handed over between FDD and TDD networks is crucial for operators to deliver a good customer experience," said Nick Carter, Senior Product Manager at Aeroflex. en-us Hong Kong, where they know a thing or two about hand overs Skyfire, Saguna, Flash and Vantrix all push data optimisation into the network First Skyfire was <a href="">taken out</a> in an acquisition that surprised many - even those close to the company - by Opera. That acquisition highlighted that Opera, for one, sees operator-focussed optimisation as a good opportunity - one that it was willing to spend up to $150 million on. "The market opportunity for video/media optimization solutions geared towards operators and consumers is significant. After a thorough evaluation of this market, we strongly believe Skyfire is the clear leader for the future in this space", said Erik Harrell, CFO/CSO of Opera, in the statement. Then Israeli company <a href="URL">Saguna Networks</a> backed up news that <a href="">Ubiquisys</a> has incorporated Saguna software into its Smart Cell solution with a blind announcement (ie no operator name approval) that a "Tier One Mobile Operator in Europe" is using its Content Optimisation Delivery Solution (CODS) in its network. Unlike other some caching and optimisation solutions Saguna's is based both at the base station and on the GI interface, so that mobile backhaul demands are reduced. Other companies with a backhaul-reducing edge intelligence approach include Altobridge (and previously Sycamore, which had a thing called IQStream that got nowhere, due to Sycamore having coporate issues - ie. folding). Up till recently, operators would have run a mile at base-station based caching and optimisation, thinking it far too costly a way to take care of business. But by putting much of the traffic control in software running on commercial hardware, and then performing content caching, DNS caching and DNS serving, and RAN aware video optimisation on remote nodes that sit in the RAN, Saguna claims it can create an "application-aware RAN" without breaking the bank. Up till now, the company had <ahref="">FibroLAN</a> as its commercial reference, with the backhaul company licensing Saguna's CODS for its Falcom Synchronous Ethernet demarcation units. Ubiquisys and the mysterious "Tier 1 operator" move the market on for Saguna. Another Israeli data optimisation company, Flash Networks, <a href="">Flash Networks</a> then came in with a claim that it has boosted download and browsing speeds by up to 50% with five Tier 1 operator networks - winning those operators awards in local speed test trials. "Five Tier 1 operators around the globe won first place in network regulator speed trials after implementing our TCP+ technology, most of which improved their former years' competitive position," said Merav Bahat , Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Flash Networks. Flash Networks' TCP+ optimisation adjusts transmission rates based on "real-time" network conditions. en-us NTTDoCoMo proposes new LTE-A based C-RAN The operator is calling the architecture advanced C-RAN (Centralised RAN) and is planning to deploy it as it introduces LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) features into its network. <a href="">NTTDoCoMo</a> describes the technology as enabling the addition of small "add-on" cells that provide localised coverage and cooperate with master macro base stations. The idea moves on from the current C-RAN architecture, which feeds remote radio heads from centralised base stations, to incorporate "add-on" small cells that can be supported as a result of carrier aggregation, according to NTTDoCoMo. DoCoMo did not mention the use of other LTE-A technologies such as eICIC and CoMP in relation to how inter-cell coordination and interference will be managed. en-us Demystifying SDNs! The increasingly mobile and social-media-oriented services driving the digital lifestyle will require that switch-and-router jockeying give way to programmable, virtualised environments in which service providers can classify and route data according to QoS parameters and according to the availability of network resources. SDNs can empower service providers to apply policy in such a way that they gain intelligent control over frames and packets, while simultaneously achieving scale and flexibility. The problem is that some of the approaches to SDN in recent announcements are being described as "cloudisations" or "cloudifications" of telecom infrastructure without taking into account the full evolution that has to take place, and the truly "open" pillars on top of which SDNs have to be built. To the first point, service providers have to implement a truly centralised, independent control layer before they can expect programmability and elasticity through the cloud. They also have to think sooner rather than later about mobile-social environments and how to extend intelligent controls globally across networks, applications and smart, connected devices so that their networks dynamically respond to stimuli. The crowning achievement with SDNs should be networks that self-organise, self-optimise, and self-determine responses to unprecedented and unpredictable events. Many of those events will be managed in some way by Diameter signaling messages, a thus-far under-addressed aspect of SDN solutions, even though Diameter traffic will grow three times faster than data traffic over the 2011-2016 period. Diameter messaging will dictate every what, when, where, how and why of services, including: <i>1. Policy management and the orchestration of the subscriber experience;</li> 2. Communications among policy servers, charging systems, subscriber databases and gateways; and 3. Mobility management functions, including subscriber authentication onto networks and roaming between partner networks.</i> To have a software defined mobile network without a sophisticated Diameter network foundation that integrates the Diameter Signaling Routing, Policy and Subscriber Data Management would compromise control over IP and signaling flows, and hence any broader SDN capabilities. The existence of a Diameter Signaling Router (DSR) in and of itself is not enough, as harmonisation of that DSR with sophisticated policy servers and subscriber data management within an independent control layer will be the only way to build elastic control over service delivery, Quality of Service (QoS), access rights and security parameters, as well as signaling and IP parameters. And even if all of these components exist in an SDN, they will fail if the spirit of interoperability is not respected from the very beginning of their evolution. Collaborative work within consortia like the Open Networking Foundation, the 3GPP and the OpenFlow/Diameter SDN community will be essential. When evaluating SDNs, it is important to remember that the very purpose of an SDN is to separate intelligent control from the data path - to centralise intelligence from the mobile packet core gateways. en-us Elasticity, Flexiblity, Interoperability LTE-A and small cells: further reading If you don't know or follow <a href="">Unwired Insight's</a> blog, then you should probably get across it. The posts are always well-written and worth a look. Brydon's latest post, titled <a href="">"Enhanced small cells are the key to traffic boom"</a>, takes on the topic of "soft cells" - or phantom cells that exist either in a different or the same band as the macro carrier. The post gives a good outline to the way operators may be able to use different carriers connected simultaneously to the same device to deliver signalling control and traffic, and also what needs to be done to get there. Here's our <a href="">DoCoMo story</a>, with added comment overnight from DoCoMo. en-us Reproduced with permission of Unwired Insight NSN adds edge intelligence for Liquid Applications launch Liquid Applications is driven by the launch of the Radio Applications Cloud Server, essentially a product that adds computing power close to or at the network edge, to gain access to and process network information so that applications and content can be tailored and/or optimally delivered to the end user. RACS has been built in partnership with IBM, whose Websphere Applications Service Platform for Networks (ASPN) is being integrated with NSN's base stations to deliver the network-aware apps concept tht NSN has termed Liquid Applications. Adding intelligence to the base station or the network edge can achieve several things: it can act as part of a content delivery network doing things like local caching. It can also act to optimise backhaul requirements by lessening the need to re-deliver popular content or applications over the backhaul link. Additionally, it can allow operators to take advantage of things that the base station "knows", like radio link quality, user location and local cell conditions, to deliver content or applications optimised to the circumstances of that user. The aim is to give operators tools to "add value" to the data stream, so that they can make more money from the delivery of applications, by enhancing applications with network level information. NSN's approach is to place a "cloud" server near to or at the base station. Its newest Flexi 10 base stations can support a plug-in card. Older units can be supported by adding a thin network server (described as a slice) next to the base station. Phil Twist, Head of Portfolio Marketing, Nokia Siemens Networks, said, "We have added computing platforms to the edge before. If you look at something we used to call <a href="">Flexi Direct</a>, that was about taking the RNC taken to pieces and moving it out to the base station so we could build a 3G network without an RNC. This takes that same computing module, adding storage, break-out and access to the radio data." Twist said that depending on the applications involved, backhaul demand could be reduced 30-40% by storing content close to the user. Mapping applications, which are often heavy in information, are prime candidates for being optimised and enriched by the addition of cell-level network data, Twist added. Twist also placed the RACS solution within the vendor's end-to-end optimisation package, so that it operates together with the operator CDN. "If it makes more sense to do caching in core network it's there, if we want to change the QoS criteria across the network for real time video, it's there. So it's not just a standalone module in the base station, it gives us the ability to assess network parameters as well as react to them. With RACS we've got additional tools within the network itself to do that." en-us CEO Rajeev Suri gets to the point on stage at NSN's MWC2013 press briefing How to build the intelligent network: protocol interworking As operators race to make their networks application-aware, and to make applications network-aware, we will see an increasing requirement for policy-driven control of traffic across a wide variety of network elements. Vendors such as Tekelec may talk about the new Diameter network driving this thinking network, but there is also going to be a need for inter-protocol conversion and aggregation. Put at its simplest, that means being able to integrate a new element that takes advantage of DPI, say, with a number of different elements across the network. This puts an additional requirement on vendors to implement cross-system connectivity to products from different vendors, often proprietary and sometimes even direct competitors. Broadforward is a company that provides interworking between protocols through its <a href="">Broadband Policy Gateway BFX</a>. The BFX features a set of interworking, conversion and routing functions for a wide range of protocols, such as Diameter, RADIUS, XML, SOAP, LDAP and SS7. Today it announced that <a href="">ipoque</a>, a DPI company owned by Rohde & Schwarz, has integrated the BFX within its PRX Internet Traffic Management system. en-us Kontron introduces platform for the mobile telecoms cloud The major NEP presentations at MWC so far, Nokia Siemens Networks and Ericsson, have both made it clear that operators are moving to cloud-based service platforms to enable more flexible and cost-efficient service delivery and the opportunity to grow new revenues. That shift is opening up opportunities for platform providers to provide products that can deliver carrier-grade reliability and availability, with the increased power efficiencies and low cost platforms required by data centre operators. That could even mean there is an opportunity for these platform providers to expand their customer base beyond the typical telecoms equipment manufacturers to address a broader scope of network equipment providers. One major platform provide, Kontron, has announced the launch of its SYMKLOUD MS2900 Media platform for cloud-based media content delivery and transcoding applications. The platform is an Intel i7 based, version of Kontron's SymKloud platform, launched in January. That platform was designed to meet three main cloud server challenges: energy efficiency, expandability, and costly OPEX. It adapts power consumption to the actual workload as well as dynamically powering up or down processors independently. The platform integrates switching, load balancing and processing in a 3-in-1, 2U rackmount platform design. Kontron said that configuration enables cloud service providers to configure clusters of highly dense 42U cabinets that require four to eight times fewer fibre and copper cables. Cloud-based processing and transcoding reduces the power and processing requirement on the device - making this launch particularly suited to mobile cloud services Mobile services also require certain things such as optimised streaming per network conditions, which in turn requires transcoding of content flows according to device and network conditions. Transcoding requires a lot of compute cycles and is a fundamental necessity in the network, as numerous devices require a multitude of different bitrates, resolutions and codecs. The SYMKLOUD Media platform can run multiple applications - including transcoding - across multiple independent low-power, high-performance processors, with the Kontron platform featuring up to 18 Intel Core i7-3615QE Quad-Core Processors. en-us Operators resistant to shared small cell networks Ken Riordan, head of Nokia Siemens Networks' femtocell R&D, asked if the industry will need to develop solutions that enable multi-operator service from the same cell said that the attitude of most operators to shared small cell networks is, "we're going to have nothing to do with that". "They say, 'It's my network, I want to have it entirely under my control'. There's definitely a lot of attitude in the industry that they don't want to share," Riordan said. One reason shared small cell networks have been proposed is the economics and delay of four operators all gaining sites and deploying backhaul for dense small cell deployments. But Jules Robson, Vice President of the backhaul SIG at the Small Cell Forum, said that there are in fact plenty of available assets (street furniture, buildings, lampposts etc.) on which to site small cell infrastructure, and operators don't feel under pressure to share physical assets. In terms of technology enablers, it seems some of the vendors are ready. Will Franks of Ubiquisys said that company has developments in software defined radio that would act as a key enabler of a shared small cell network. Gavin Ray of ip.access said taking advantage of virtualisation technology would enable virtualised gateways that could control and manage shared cells. He pointed out that the BYOD trend also meant that there is a need for shared in-building deployments. More likely to drive any move to shared small cell networks is the economics - but it seems the Femto Forum is confident that small cells can be pretty profitable. New CEO Gordon Mansfield claimed that a small cell can generate profits of $50,000 per year for an operator in a developed market, even where backhaul is expensive. en-us Joyn comes of age at Mobile World Congress Get by the GSMA pavilion if you are interested in the latest developments in what handset manufacturers, operators and developers are achieving within RCS. The Joyn demonstrations from KT, Metro, Vodafone, Orange and Telefonica are a world away from those somewhat scratchy RCS demos of two years ago. These are (mostly) embedded clients showing slick in-call video, file sharing and group chat between devices, and across different live networks. I saw two developers, NeuSoft and Summit Tech show the benefits of RCS API integration for very different purposes. Summit Tech was showing how live medical information could be transmitted in-call in a remote consultation between doctor and patient. NeuSoft had designed an app that provided parental or carer controls for a phone so that the phone could very simply call only "Mum" or "Dad" and support messaging between just those contacs. The developers used the RCS API to provide web integration of the service to enable service controls within the app. There was also a game developer who had used the API to allow in-game video sharing so that one gamer could see on screen another gamer. That was achieved, I was told, with one line of code. en-us Keima Wireless maps spectral efficiency Simon Chapman, Director, and Iris Barcia, Director of New Product Development, at <a href="">Keima Wireless</a> have developed a solution that uses a combination of geotagged social data, such as Twitter updates and Flickr posts, and census data to build up detailed demand maps. In other words, concentrations of updates and uploads show up as red areas on a map - indicating high cellular demand. Keima Overture, the name of the product, then maps that against a map that includes all buildings, trees and streets - something Chapman calls "clutter". Overture's "Vector Clutter" tool can then display this view down to definitions of 1 metre. "We've done this for the entire planet," says Chapman, with the nonchalance of a man who, as well as stints at Agilent and Actix, advised on a numerical relativistic study of coalescing neutron stars at the Max Planck Institut for Gravitationsphysik. Once the demand is mapped against the local environment you have a view of indoor and outdoor demand, and a theoretically precise view of where to site small cells. en-us Outdoor demand map GSMA keen to boost VoLTE with "how to" guide With VoLTE implemented commercially in four networks globally - three in Korea and in MetroPCS in the USA - Warren said that there is still uncertainty within some operators about what exactly is required to get VoLTE to market. However, he added that there is top-level support for VoLTE within operators. "If you talk to operators at board level they will tell you they are going to do VoLTE at some point in the future: the timeline to get there varies," he said. "VoLTE is not happening as quickly [as we thought], and part of the reason for that is that there is a perceived complexity. Perhaps that's partly because we haven't done a good enough job of explaining how easy it could be, so we are going to define VoLTE in an end to end implementation guide that will outline the specifications with hooks into what you need to define it." The "how to" guide will not recommend any architecture over another, Warren said, with the GSMA keen not be seen as a "king maker". Instead it can clearly outline the pros and cos of the different approaches, which stem from traditional core IMS elements from the main NEPs, to "IMS in a box" type solutions that integrate IMS functions into one platform, hosted solutions, to the SBC-defined approach of the likes of Acme Packet and Genband. What's important for the GSMA is that operators deploy VoLTE so that interconnect and interoperability between services can be support. "Interconnect is the major one, so for instance you make sure the same QoS classes are supported where the traffic meets. You need to do it the same way," Warren said. Warren said that another reason for the pushing back of VoLTE has been the provisioning of CSFB to support voice in early LTE networks. "A lot of operators have done CSFB as an interim solution. I still hold the opinion I held three years ago that CSFB is something that really ought to be squeezed as far as possible. It's not that it's a bad technology in its own right; it gets you to the point where you have voice capability with LTE so you can launch LTE-capable smart phones. But the problem with CSFB is that it is a device and network implementation. So if you launch it and then you want to go to VoLTE you invest twice, you have to continue to support it whilst you're rolling VOLTE out as well, and consumers have to invest twice. The likelihood now is that CSFB will have a longer life in the market," Warren concluded. en-us Telefonica's VoLTE demo at Mobile World Congress 2013 Building the intelligent network at Mobile World Congress 2013 At its core, network intelligence is about enabling agile service providers to be able to differentiate through the network, but more importantly in the services they offer over them. However, network intelligence can just be too all-encompassing as a term, and become devoid of meaning. Where is network intelligence to be added, how is it to be managed, what do we want intelligent networks to be intelligent about, and what for (to what end)? At the top level, the strategy rather than the tactics, if you like, is the move to SDN, or service provider SDN (a distinction made by Ericsson to demarcate from the data centre environment and to emphasise the cross-network nature of its SDN vision). The absolute bottom level driver here is cost and opex reduction, by centralising control of the network - so that the actual hardware-based infrastructure becomes as cheap and "dumb" as possible, where possible/viable. On top of that, by distributing resources more intelligently, the idea is that operators are able to enrich services with information about the network, services, or applications. So then you might move into how you can best enable the intelligent network within this overall SDN end-game. Here are some of the topics that lend themselves to this network intelligence discussion: <b>RAN developments:</b> This might include something like active antennas that can adapt to real time conditions. Or the pooling of baseband resources. Or the addition of increased processing at the edge. It could also refer to the integration of WiFi-cellular technologies and the control of traffic flows across the two dependent on what the operator knows about cell conditions, the user and the application. Finally, there is the introduction of small cells, a new layer of the RAN integrated with the core. <b>Signalling, policy and DPI:</b> If you are going to have a centralised control function, allied to this is the need to be able to inform that control layer with real time information about the network itself, and its users, so that the decisions the controller/network orchestrator is making are based on sound information and are then effectively implemented based on scaleable, flexible control (signalling) architectures. <b>Monitoring and assurance:</b> Information is key in building intelligence, and there's a huge amount of information sitting ready to tap, across interfaces, on devices, in the network nodes themselves. There's a bunch of companies whose traditional role of using that information for test, assurance and network management can be leveraged into something that feeds the intelligence layer. <b>Virtualisation:</b> the core enabling technology of the flexible network that can allocate resources based on demand, policy, network conditions and all the rest of it. Which functions in the network lend themselves best to virtualisation? It promises to have a big impact on the platform providers. <b>Optimisation:</b> The requirement for networks to self-organise and self-optimise in the light of what they know about the user, traffic and cell conditions is a key part of the network intelligence movement. Over today and tomorrow, The Mobile Network will be publishing interviews and stories from Mobile World Congress that review this theme of network intelligence. We will let the industry itself tell the story. Here is Part One. Part Two, with a new cast list, comes tomorrow. en-us Should operators go virtual for carrier WiFi? Yesterday's news that <a href="">Deutsche Telekom will join the likes of BT</a> and Belgacom in using FON's technology to open was a further reminder that carriers are looking to expand the reach of their carrier WiFi assets. FON is great for expanding reach, in theory, although there are questions about how opening up what are mainly residential femtocells to other users of the FON service actually helps. (For instance, I am a FON customer for BT. The number of times I see FON hotspots when I am out and about in central London is relatively small.) But good though FON is for expanding reach, it doesn't offer the operator a huge amount of control over quality of experience. What if access to free public WiFi could be added to visibility into the quality of the hotspot, compared to prevailing cellular conditions in that location, and then the user connected to the best-fit access network accordingly? This would enable operators to benefit from WiFi offload, whilst also helping their customers have a decent experience if WiFi is not the best thing for that at that moment. One company that is building a "virtual WiFi network" is <a href="">Devicescape</a>. Put simply, Devicescape signs up users and then every time these users use an open, free hotspots, their device reports the location of that hotspot to Devicescape, which adds it to its list. Devicescape now has 12 million hotspots in its database, with 11 million of those in the USA. Its database and client sit behind the Microsoft's Datasense service that Verizon has exclusively licensed in the USA. Its target is to have 100 million hotspots mapped by 21017. What makes this more than just a database of open WLAN access points is that Devicescape also measures the quality of the hotspots themselves via its device client. It then gives operators a classification of the hotspots on its map. An operator can then make those hotspots known to their users based on policy. One operator might choose to always offload a customer wherever there is WiFi. Another might choose only to connect customers automatically only above a certain quality threshold. It's worth pointing out that Devicescape is not the only company building long lists of WiFi access points, analysing them and curating that for operators. <a href="">WeFi</a> claims already to have over 150 million hotspots in its database and counts TimeWarner as a recent customer. WeFi adds an ANDSF client-server capability to its operator-facing offering. The WeANDSF platform is intended to enable a policy-based connection decision. So what value is there in a curated WiFi network of public access WiFi spots of differing quality to a mobile operator? Well, Devicescape has modelled actual data from San Francisco. Here, it said that for an area with 62 macro base stations, by investing in 102 additional small cells the operators could move its capacity up from 178TB per month to 250 TB. Yet by accessing the 27,000 hotspots within Devicescape's curated network (currently supporting 100k indivudal user sessions a day), an operator could support a 75x growth in capacity. en-us Devicescape's analysis of capacity in San Francisco Building the intelligent network at Mobile World Congress 2013: Part II <a href="">Part One of our series Building the Intelligent Network</a> introduced the broad themes and topics that rose to the top at Mobile World Congress 2013. In Part II we look at how companies from across the Mobile Network can help build intelligent network. There wasn't going to be a Part III, but now there is, and that will come tomorrow. In that we will - finally - look at SON and optimisation, and innovation in the radio access space. So here is Part II of our expanding series: Building the Intelligent Network. We look at how core network platforms are changing - how two new players are targeting the opportunity and one old timer is advocating radical change. We also look at how assurance and test companies are positioning themselves as crucial enablers of the intelligent network. <b>Core platform changes</b> <b>Enter Dell</b> <i>Franklin Flint, Global Telecommunications Strategy & Marketing Lead, OEM Solutions:</i> Last year at this show we launched NEBS-compliant Level-3 and ETSI-certified carrier grade servers that run on Intel Xeon processors. We also launched Blade products and recently launched a line of storage products. Where we are different is we have a pricing model that's based on equivalent margin, rather than charging a 300% uptick to get a NEBs version of a platform, when the real increased cost to you as a developer is 15%. Our OEM customers include NEPs like Ericsson, NSN, Al-Lu, Samsung, ZTE, Huawei - we have account teams on all of those. In terms of who these guys have previously bought, it's the standard guys: HP. Sun/Oracle, IBM, Kontron, Emerson Network Power, Advantech. The market is growing at a rate right now that we don't need to do a lot of displacing, we can just grab market share. A lot of the OSSBSS platforms have already been shifted to x86, but that's an easy fit. We're seeing some core functions in the mobile packet core starting to move to that direction with the development of new SDN tools and NFV that is going on. We are involved and have some IP in that space that we are developing. We see more and more things going in that direction and one thing we are hoping to ride is the virtualisation of a lot of the core functions, so we no longer have individual racks of gear doing individual functions, we centralise the whole thing, put it in one stack and then scale that stack based on the demand of that solution. Currently because of our strength in hardware and sales support we have been focussing at the lowest layer of physical hardware. We do now own several software companies, like Quest and others, who have offerings that fit well into this market, things like security, ID management, and we will be moving to offer those more as we move forward. All this stuff we got primarily for IT, but a lot of things happened in IT ahead of the telco industry such as virtualisation, cloudifying. So we have IP in the OpenStack world and VMWare tools, people want to find out how difficult it is to take what we have learnt in the data centre and apply that to telco, how much change to traditional SLAs is necessary. We're having a lot of those discussions. One could argue that we did come in as disruptive. One customer said that buying NEBS compliant gear was a bit like buying gold plated equipment. But there's not that much engineering involved: as it turns out it only costs 10-15% more to provide NEBS certification on the gear. So we are shipping to market and one competitor immediately responded with no extra charge for NEBS, rather than the previous 150-300% higher cost for running NEBs. <b>Oracle's ONAP - an engineered, pre-integrated network platform</b> <i>Venkat Eswara, Oracle:</i> Traditionally in the telco market operators would procure, servers, storage, OS, and then integrate that vertically. We are providing the same formula except that it's completely pre-integrated and pre-designed. The value of differentiation in this area is minimal, operators have to focus on apps and services. For them to focus at that level they need to find a way to transform their business, and they can only squeeze so much out of their existing operations. Its not sustainable to keep doing it. So that's the rationale for the best of suite offering from ONAP. Initially we started doing Exadata, Exalogic platforms, optimised for a given workload such as a database or middleware in the datacentre. Now we are taking that strategy and verticalising it throughout the industry, so ONAP's first vertical solution is for the comms market: telco being a bit more complicated in terms of workload requirements, throughputs, latency, power consumptions, and availability aspects. If you look at NFV the requirements that CSPs want the network function to have is what we bring in the ONAP. The timing is also interesting because we launched in the October timeframe, and NFV's requirements do pretty much match what Oracle is doing in terms of bringing those capabilities into an engineered system for CPSs. We are looking at opportunities where they have a new platform to plug into the network: anywhere where a pre-integrated box could be a benefit, which could be service deployment on an IMS core for VoLTE, IP messaging. That includes thinks like the entire EPC into 4G networks, IMS services, IMS apps, the entire data plane and control plane offerings in the network are all areas that ONAP fits in. VoLTE, MMTel, RCS types of services, all those are the right kind of use cases and workloads that ONAP could fit in. We're looking into the packet core, signalling gateways, PDGs; all an ideal fit for bringing those capabilities onto ONAP. If you look at the whole evolution of IP architecture, you have to find a way to consolidate your signalling , versus distributing the user plane to the edge. How do you enable that, because in all-IP the signalling traffic is not proportional to the user plane traffic, unlike in circuit switched. Because of that you dimension your network to centralise your signalling as one example and move user elements to the edge to provide throughput and latency. So those kinds of capabilities is where we are looking to. Signalling is one part, and is highly critical into providing these new services. When you want to architect that kind of a network, you must find a way to provide fewer nodes from point A to point B because that translates into latency. That's how we look at ONAP, for example, as a fabric where you have the ability to scale the user plane and the control plane independent of each other, and at the same time consolidate onto the same platform. <b>NSN - Run your core network on Amazon!</b> <i>Thorsten Robrecht, Head of Portfolio Management, Mobile Broadband, Nokia Siemens Networks:</i> On the core side we are continuously following our virtualisation strategy with our products, meaning we are leaning towards a software core. We've got all our core elements on the same hardware, commercial ATCA type of hardware. This has been shipping 18 months. From next year we will be shipping on COTS IT hardware, HP blade server, IBM blade serverrs and so on. So we are going away from ATCA telecoms hardware into pure IT hardware. And the next step, the one for the year after next is going totally into the virtual cloud, where you don't need dedicated hardware any more. Just rent yourself some server space on Amazon, at the extreme, and run your core mobile network cloud there, which sounds strange and not everybody might want to do this but for an MVNO it might be interesting to rent space somewhere, just pay for what I'm using and let my mobile network run on this. What does that mean for the ATCA type hardware providers, what do they need to do to adapt to that type of environment? <i>(Shrugs and spreads hands)</i> What to say? So in my opinion a part of this mobile infrastructure market gets into a commodity market. There's nothing wrong with commodity don't get me wrong, there are great commodity markets where you can build great businesses. We need to understand that this mobile infrastructure that we were all so proud of, so special technology, and so on, at least parts of this are going massively into commodity. This is good, it makes it cheaper, more powerful for everybody. We need to reinvent ourselves continuously. At a certain point, certain machines come to an end. By no means I am saying ATCA comes to an end, but am saying we need to transform, and this industry goes into virtualisation and into the cloud, and it starts in the core. en-us Building the intelligent network at Mobile World Congress 2013: SON One of the key enablers of the intelligent network is SON technology. The Self Optimising Network is a network that can take in information from elements, base stations, backhaul, core elements, process them and take action automatically to optimise the performance of the network. Standalone SON companies such as Aircom, Celcite, Arieson, Actix and, until recently, Intucell (now a Cisco acquisition), provide this capability to help operators plan, design and operate networks. Then there are the vendors who, as SON was introduced into 3GPP standards for LTE releases, started to add SON as a differentiator to their own products. This usually meant their own network elements would have SON features such as ANR (automatic neighbour relations) or load balancing across network elements. Small cells add greatly to the requirements for SON for a number of reasons. They need to be sited much more accurately, and that siting decision needs to factor in elements such as the users in that site and their likely activity (so do you have high value users you want to provide something dedicated for, or will WiFi offload do the trick?), as well as available backhaul and power. There are also a lot more of them, so automation becomes much more of a necessity, with a quicker payback. And because there are more of them, there's a lot more parameters to measure and assess: more neighbours and potential interference, macro-layer interaction, handover and mobility management between cells, between layers, and between technologies (2G to 3G, 3G to 4G and so on). If there is a philosophical debate around SON, it focusses on whether SON should centralised, distributed, or a mix of both (hybrid SON). The implications of this debate became clear at Mobile World Congress. Put simply, a centralised SON engine sits somewhere in the network where it can assess data coming in from across the network, and implement decisions back out across the network. A distributed SON might place that decisioning element further out, at an aggregation point or at a base station itself. For highly time sensitive decisions, the distributed SON fits better. But an entirely distributed SON would be very expensive, so not surprisingly most people come down on the side of the hybrid SON: do the less time-sensitive big data crunching centrally and do the latency impacting stuff more locally. So then the discussion is about who is best placed to provide SON. The independents of course claim that it is them. The reason for this is that the main switch vendors are not about to open up the inside of their switches to their competitors. Aircom CTO Steve Bowker told The Mobile Network, "We can support Ericsson, NSN and Huawei to provide an overlay SON that is load balancing between multiple technologies. The hardest thing is working out the actual traffic and getting highly detailed accuracy is very difficult. NSN is never going to get the same data from all the vendors. Vendors will not share the data. No-one believes it [NSN's iSON] is true multi-vendor... getting counters from the vendors when vendors are very sensitive to that." That view was mirrored by Barry Graham, VP Marketing at Arieso, who said, "SON needs to be multi-technology and multi-vendor. Major vendors will refuse access to another vendor. They are paranoid about people getting hands on that data. 3GPP outlines what they must share but not access to more interesting information at a higher granularity. Network operators become the broker of that information." Do the vendors agree? Up to a point, in fact. NSN's Thorsten Robrecht told TMN that NSN can "do" multi-vendor SON as part of its iSON strategy because it can access the information that 3GPP defines as a requirement. But he also conceded that NSN can do things better when it is operating solely in its own environment (ie with its own equipment feeding the iSON engine). He pointed out, however, that KDDi in Japan is using NSN's iSON for a dual-vendor, dual-technology (CDMA-LTE) SON implementation. Cisco, which has its recently formed Intelligent Network tagline to live up to, is spending up to $500 million on Intucell (a company Aircom's Bowker described as "arrogant" for its "black box of magic" approach to its SON product) to use Intucell as a key driver of the orchestration of its WiFi and femtocells into the overall network optimisation platform. Intucell's acquisition, allied to Cisco's recent <a href="">Quantum </a> optimisation launch, shows how much is at stake here for the major vendors. en-us JDSU acquires Arieso for $85 million, adding RAN smarts to core solutions Network test and performance assurance company JDSU has acquired UK-based network optimisation company for $85 million. David Heard, President of Communications Test & Measurement at JDSU, said that Aireso's RAN optimsation and SON capabilities would extend his company's test and assurance capabilities out beyond the edge of the core into the RAN. "We are there to provide end to end network and service enablement solutions for carriers. There's a huge push in the marketplace moving to small cell architectures and het net architectures, and in order to make those work RAN optimisation and SON have a clear place to enable that end to end visibility," Heard said. Heard added that with JDSU already number one in provisioning and assuring Ethernet services in the backhaul network, using Arieso's solutions would enable it to get visibility out to the edge within its Packet Portal product. "We can not only see to the edge of the core but also to the RAN, the subscriber and ultimately what apps they are using," he said. en-us Arieso's SON products: now within JDSU Webinar: 10 Things You Need to Know About In-Building <a href="">Register for webinar</a> In the data-intensive era of smartphones and tablets, using best practices for designing high-capacity networks in buildings is essential. In-building challenges are plentiful and differ from one building to another. This webinar will cover the basics of optimal in-building wireless network design. Topics include: different types of in-building systems, typical in-building architecture, how to integrate in-building systems seamlessly with the macro network and more. <b>SPEAKER:</b> VLADAN JEVREMOVIC Director, Engineering Solutions, iBwave <a href="">Register for webinar</a> en-us Where is the telecom cloud? The attraction of such an approach, if it can be figured out, is that operators could operate much more efficiently. To take one example, they dynamically turn capacity up when certain functions see a spike in traffic, and then turn that instance down when demand lowers. That would avoid the "over-provisioning" we see now where operators have to provision for peak. But with all this talk of virtualised, cloud-based instances of network functions, one question to as is: where is the cloud? NSN's Thorsten Robrecht <a href="">recently outlined to TMN</a>, really as an illustration, an "extreme case" of an entire telco core network being hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). NEC and Telefonica were showing a virtual EPC case study at Mobile World Congress, with Intel also demonstrating a virtual core. Meanwhile, Mavenir was showing a virtualised VoLTE and RCS concept using VMware virtualisation tools. You'd expect carriers to feel more secure operating their own cloud-based networks, of course, but there are already companies that provide hosted services for mobile operators that may then become natural candidates to host virtualised instances of network functions. One such set of companies is formed of the interconnect and exchange providers such as Mach, Syniverse, Sybase 365 and iBasis. (Many carriers also run peering points and exchanges, of course, including the likes of BICS, DTICSS, TATA and Telecom Italia Sparkle.) <a href="">Syniverse</a>, currently going through regulatory procedures to get the OK for the proposed acquisition of MACH, provides connectivity between over 1,000 carriers, providing roaming services and interoperability, as well as financial clearing. But the company also provides services for operators, such as roaming value added services and data analytics, built on top of that connectivity. And since the late 1990s the company has operated as cloud host for operator services, such as a fully-hosted HLR for a GM telematics service run on the Verizon network. John Wick, Senior VP Network Services, Syniverse, said, "We've been a hosted service provider for ever, so if the the market direction is that there are other key core assets that carriers are willing to put in the cloud, the likes of the EPC as an example, then we're certainly going to be part of that and are one of the obvious companies that's going to support that." "It's not happening right now, it's kind of an area for study in the industry. We're happy to host an HSS, for example, for a carrier, and have done that type of service and application many times over the ears. If functionality can be virtualised and put into the cloud then that fits right into our business model. One thing we have to do is design core assets that can support multiple customers, so modules or candidates to put in the cloud will have to be multi tenant. Syniverse will deploy one occurrence of virtual machine in London and support tens of carriers with that same virtual environment." Referencing the GM telematics service, Wick said that "operating those types of apps higher above the network layer is something we've been doing for 25 years. Moving these apps to the cloud is a perfect fit for us. 1,000 carriers already trust us to host critical information on a common platform with their competitors". Wick added that although Syniverse acts as an interconnect hub, it is also moving "closer to the inside" of mobile operators' networks, as it uses the roaming and interconnect data it has to let carriers build value added services and other use cases. "Over time as we get closer to our data we've got closer to that doorway to the inside of the carrier network, closer to their internal systems, marrying our data sets to their internal systems, such as CRM or billing." Its role as an independent provider means Syniverse's carriers can feel "connected but protected". That move up the value chain, away from merely providing connectivity, but building services and applications based on that connectivity, is something the Exchange providers have been doing for years. The telecoms cloud could provide them with another opportunity. en-us Telco Cloud. Photo by BasicGov; Creative Commons share-alike license UPDATED: Nirvana For Vendors? An NFV reading list... I'm building up a list of content, articles and blog posts looking at NFV and SDN (yes, I know they're not the same thing). The aim is to point to articles that clarify, rather than muddy, the waters on these topics, even if they clearly come with a "vendor angle". I think we're grown-up enough to deal with that. Please send me your own finds, or add links in the comments. 1. Just before Mobile World Congress Ericsson's Review carried <a href="">this article on Service Provider SDN</a>. It clearly lays out an architecture for service provider SDN, includes some appplication examples and also illustrates service chaining (as also mentioned by head of Ericsson IP Jan Haglund to TMN <a href="">here</a>). It's a really good starting point for understanding service provider SDN. 2. Sticking with the major vendors, I thought <a href="">this blog post</a> from Cisco's Sanjeev Mervana summed up both where NFV is post-MWC, and Cisco's angle on it. Specifically of interest is the role of Cisco Quantum within Cisco ONE (Open Network Environment) and its optimisation, analytics and orchestration functions. 3 The good people at Light Reading started this <a href="">NFV-related LinkedIn Group</a>. It's already had some really good posts from people in the industry. What I like about this group is that it contains both those questing for knowledge, and some expert commentators as well. A timely introduction. 4. Tom Nolle, President of CIMI Corp, publishes a blog that is never short of an opinion or two. I thought <a href="">this post</a>, which lays out the importance of giving the established vendors as little wriggle room as possible to offset the cost-saving benefits of NFV was quite revealing. Simply put, Nolle says that it the industry doesn't nail down an NFV architecture, then vendors will end up "modifying the establish or protect commercial interests." 5. I liked <a href="">this one from 6Wind</a>. It outlines clearly some of the use cases for NFV and makes the case for its own product. But we can forgive that. Interesting, I think, for insight into how good ideas can have deeper consequences than might at first appear. "All the concepts have to come back to reality ... Today, standard virtualized architectures that work perfectly well for computing won't be able to deliver the required network performance." What else? Please send me your recommendations for this list, or link to them in the comments, and I'll add them here, tweet them out and all that sort of thing. en-us SpiderCloud says 2013 will be the year of the services network <a href="">SpiderCloud Wireless</a>, the company whose technology combines in-building access points (Radio Node) with an onsite element (Services Node) that acts as a miniature radio network controller, has said that it expects to announce a range of operator deployments this year. Ronny Haraldsvik, CMO, said that the company is "engaged in many more trials" for its E-RAN solutions that the company says enables operators to move from solutions that provide "only" coverage and capacity to a "services network". "In the next coming months you will hear from several operators announcing their deployments," he added. To date, the only publicly announced operator customer has been Vodafone, with whom Spidercloud has a strategic partnership. "People know about Vodafone, they know we've been working together. Vodafone has made us a much better company," Haraldsvik said, "made us more ready to do bigger deployments of hardened systems." There are enterprise-class femto and pico cell solutions available from the likes of ip.access, but SpiderCloud thinks it sits in a sweet spot for a couple of reasons. First, it can provide coverage and capacity within large buildings and campuses for the roughly equivalent cost of an enterprise-grade WiFi deployment. Secondly, the system gives operators an in-building presence which means operators have a control point from which they can deliver services without having to deliver and control services from within their own core network. Addressing coverage indoors, Haraldsvik pointed to recent research by the Signals Research Group that showed that up to 88% of spectrum already owned by operators is under-utlised within enteprise campuses and buildings. "You can't push macro in, and you can't do it with cheap WiFi access points or femtocells." "Operators are coming to us because they have already tested other femto and pico cell solutions and they recognise that there's too much RF engineering involved if they want to go beyond five to seven small cells. Anything that is beyond a small enterprise you now have a challenge, and the current approach to small cells hasn't worked," Haraldsvik concluded. en-us "Scaleable multi-access small cell system" (Image from SpiderCloud Wireless) Ericsson makes case for NLOS backhaul for small cells One of the main challenges in small cell networks is backhaul. Where there is no available fibre it has been assumed that operators will need to bring in line of site wireless technologies (such as P2MP, P2P in V Band and E Band) because NLOS "must" operate below 6GHz and in doing so it cannot provide the capacities required because there isn't enough spectrum there. The problem is, line of sight is not easy either, as small cells will probably be sited low down, with not much visibility to hub or macro sites, where aggregation points might be situated. That takes us back to the view that NLOS would still be of great benefit to small cells, if it could provide the required capacities. Companies like <a href="">FastBack Networks</a>, <a href="">Cambridge Communication Systems</a> and <a href="">Tarana Wireless</a> developing systems that combine NLOS and LOS operation in different ways and work at higher spectrum bands. But not many have proposed NLOS backhaul as an answer on its own to high capacity small cell backhaul solutions, because the general problem with NLOS wireless systems is that they must operate below 6GHz, where there is not enough spectrum available to support high throughputs. To illustrate this view, take this quote from Esteban Monturus, Backhaul Market Analyst at Rethink-Maravedis, who told ThinkSmallCell's David Chambers the following as he <a href="">ran through the options for small cell backhaul</a>: <i>"Non-Line-Of-Sight (NLoS). The main challenge here is availability of spectrum, which must be below 6GHz. Some vendors in the industry such as Fastback Networks are promising high capacity also in NLoS conditions, where throughput has traditionally decreased considerably compared to LoS. If capacity is insufficient, then operators can't ensure the quality of experience. So I will be very interested to see what real-world performance these new vendors can achieve and learn how they have surmounted the capacity constraints in sub-6GHz spectrum. Advanced antenna techniques are certainly among the main tools to achieve this."</i>" The other option for NLOS is not to develop technologies that increase capacity below 6GHz, but to provide NLOS backhaul at higher frequencies. And that is exactly what Ericsson announced at the recent Mobile World Congress. Ericsson said that it has developed techniques that allow it to backhaul traffic from small cells without a line of sight connection, but that it can do so at dedicated bands above 20GHz. Indeed, far from suffering performance degredation as a result of being deployed at these higher bands, throughput actually increases, Ericsson claims. Ola Gustafsson, Head of Product Line Microwave and Mobile Backhaul, Ericsson, <a href="">said in a press release</a> <i>"Conventional NLOS products work in the sub-6GHz band using OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) technology, for multipath handling. The problem is that the available spectrum below 6GHz is very limited and would be insufficient for small-cell backhaul. Ericsson has now proved, with extensive research, that MINI-LINK products operating in the 23-60GHz bands offer higher throughput and increased stability compared with sub-6 systems also under NLOS conditions. This expands the possibilities to deploy MINI-LINK as the backhaul solution for small cells, thereby enabling increased network performance."</i> Ericsson's proposal is that over short hops, diffraction and reflections caused by the environment can actually be used to overcome obstructions between the macro layer nodes that are often positioned on top of high buildings, and the small cells positioned at street level. With this approach, throughput will be very high and stable, which is important for mobile backhaul. en-us Diffraction, reflection and penetration for NLOS. (Image: Ericsson) Mobily drives four times traffic growth with managed WiFi offload Saudi Arabian operator Mobily has managed a fourfold growth in data traffic in a year, using a WiFi offload policy driven by AccuRoam technology from Accuris Networks. The AccuRoam platform provides SIM-based authentication to WLAN access points, and can also be used to extend charging and policy based controls to devices connected over WiFi. Mobily has seen total traffic across its wireless broadband network grow from 163TB a day in 2011 to 750TB a day in 2012. It decided in 2012 to adopt a more structured approach to WiFi offload, and chose Accuris to provide it with a platform that would authenticate users on hotspots without having to enter log-in details. In the first week of deployment, the operator sAaw 65,000 unique connected users consume 410GB of data at hotspots The operator is using AccuRoam gateway technology from Accuris to manage SIM-based authentication to its hotspots, as well as to extend charging and policy based controls to devices connected over WiFi. Aidan Dillon, CTO, Accuris Networks, said that the implementation had played a part in Mobily increasing profits 11% year on year for the fourth quarter 2012, despite that growth in traffic. "We enabled Mobily's carrier grade WiFi network to be integrated with its authentication, charging and policy centres, so it can manage its mobile broadband policy across different networks." Dillon said. "Carriers should be able to manage that connectivity in the best possible way, so if a particular location or time is congested, subscribers can be best-connected." For Dillon, the biggest take-away from Mobily's offload strategy is how quickly usage grew. "People will use it, it's not something that needs to be explained or marketed too much. They are happy to use it, and understand it. The biggest element is that growth happens very quickly," he said. en-us Accuris WiFi integration Oracle buys Tekelec and signals intentions Oracle has <a href="">bought Tekelec for an undisclosed sum</a>. Although Tekelec cost the private equity investors led by Siris Capital $780 million in January 2012, it is not known what return those investors have made. The Mobile Network has not heard back from Siris yet despite a request for comment, and Oracle did not disclose terms of the deal. Sources at Tekelec also referred The Mobile Network only to <a href="">publicly available material</a>. So why has Oracle bought Tekelec? Oracle said that with Tekelec and Acme Packet products, it "expects to deliver the communications industry's most complete portfolio spanning Customer Relationship Management, Business and Operational Support Systems, Service Delivery Platforms, Network and Service Control, and end-user applications." Tekelec gives it network and service control technologies to address these increased network workloads as well as, through its policy products, the ability to monetise cloud, over-the-top, and personalised services. When Oracle bought Acme Packet earlier this year and said it wanted to work to build up a comprehensive telco network applications play, thoughts quickly turned to who it would buy next? What would Oracle need to add to enable it to complete its presence? Acme Packet may cost Oracle aroud $2 billion but it doesn't give Oracle a complete network applications presence - despite Acme's "IMS in a box" play and its number one position in SBCs (Session Border Controllers): the elements provide traffic control between different domains. One critical element in building "out of the box", IT-based network applications is providing solutions that can manage the impact on the control plane and the growth in signalling traffic that operators will see with real time events in the network. That is why charging, policy-enabled subscriber services and subscriber data management are becoming tightly coupled, along with signalling. Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis told The Mobile Network, "In the short-to-medium, there are synergies with Oracle's BSS/OSS and CRM products, and also linking subscriber management (which is very database-intensive) to control of the network in terms of policy and resources." A further strategic driver is that Oracle is keeping a keen eye on the SDN and NFV plans of operators, and expects to be able to take advantage of virtualised instances of network functions. "I'm expecting those network elements such as signalling routers and various forms of gateways to be near the top of the list to be "virtualised"," Bubley added. For further evidence of this longer term goal, <a href="">these recent quotes from an interview conducted by Oracle</a> with The Mobile Network at Mobile World Congress shows the ambition the company has. Note the emphasis on scaleable signalling architecture, and how Oracle's exec talks of scaling the user plane and control plane independently of each other, and at the same time consolidate onto the same platform. <i>"We are looking at opportunities where they have a new platform to plug into the network: anywhere where a pre-integrated box could be a benefit, which could be service deployment on an IMS core for VoLTE, IP messaging. That includes things like the entire EPC into 4G networks, IMS services, IMS apps, the entire data plane and control plane offerings in the network are all areas that ONAP fits in. VoLTE, MMTel, RCS types of services, all those are the right kind of use cases and workloads that ONAP could fit in. We're looking into the packet core, signalling gateways, PDGs; all an ideal fit for bringing those capabilities onto ONAP. "If you look at the whole evolution of IP architecture, you have to find a way to consolidate your signalling, versus distributing the user plane to the edge. How do you enable that, because in all-IP the signalling traffic is not proportional to the user plane traffic, unlike in circuit switched. Because of that you dimension your network to centralise your signalling as one example and move user elements to the edge to provide throughput and latency. So those kinds of capabilities is where we are looking to. Signalling is one part, and is highly critical into providing these new services. When you want to architect that kind of a network, you must find a way to provide fewer nodes from point A to point B because that translates into latency. That's how we look at ONAP, for example, as a fabric where you have the ability to scale the user plane and the control plane independent of each other, and at the same time consolidate onto the same platform."</i> en-us User experience assurance: now Skyfire makes its play Skyfire, the company recently acquired by Opera Software, has said that its Rocket Optimiser platform can be used not just to optimise content for delivery over mobile networks, but as a Quality of Experience Assurance solution. CEO Jeff Glueck claimed that the approach can "save operators tens of millions dollars, and hundreds of truck rolls, and be almost as accurate in estimating areas where user needs relief as RAN probes." Put simply, the Rocket Optimiser platform is used by operators to deliver optimised content streams to users. Often this content is video. DPI or application control elements in the network route sample objects - only those packets likely to be vulnerable to degradation in user experience due to network conditions - through to the Rocket platform. The platform analyses the user experience, whether a video is buffering, stopping, what the start time is, and uses that to estimate the bandwidth conditions the user is experiencing. It then delivers the video at the best bit rate for the phone, screen capability, and network connection of that user. To make that decision, the platform is therefore aware, in near real time, of key parameters that affect the end user experience. Skyfire's contention is that that information can be used by operators not only to deliver better customer experience when looking at a photo or streaming a video or music, but to better understand their own networks. A <a href=" ">solution brief from the company</a> asks, "Traditional legacy RAN probes or inline appliance solutions might detect congestion on the entire cell, but what about if you're the only one unable to stream that YouTube video because of your location or unique situation?" <i>"Skyfire software measures bandwidth conditions in real time for all subscriber sessions on a network, and detects when a user on a poor connection is trying to stream high-quality video that will likely result in a frustrating experience. This measurement can now automatically invoke Skyfire's cloudbased Rocket Optimizer cluster to adapt that video to fit existing capacity - taking into account RF, backhaul and spectrum bottlenecks. The end result is an insurance policy that ensures better QoE for users on crowded towers, inside buildings or at the edge of cells, as well as a solution that can "rescue" users from frustrating stalls, long video start times, and other annoyances."</i> en-us UQ Communications CTO to speak on winning in Japan's 4G market <b>Tuesday, April 30 - Online </b>. <a href="">Register For Webinar</a> A joint venture of Japan's second cellco, KDDI, UQ Communications was one of the world's first 4G carriers, and adopted innovative device and business models for its networks. It is now competing in one of the most advanced mobile broadband nations and facing new challenges in evolving its infrastructure and services. CTO Dr Watanabe will share his views on these topics, including the expansion of Japan's 4G market; the integration of Wi-Fi into its networks; and UQ's distinctive business models. In particular, he will discuss its open network and open device strategies and how these can differentiate its offering. This event is offered by <a href="">Maravedis-Rethink</a> as part of its <a href="">Mobile Operator Strategy Analysis (MOSA)</a> service. In the webinar, Research Director Caroline Gabriel will share selected highlights of the newly published Quarterly Report including findings on network upgrades, TDD spectrum and service model strategies enabled by LTE. Other topics to discuss will include: Carrier investment plans to 2017, including emerging trends such as HetNet and LTE-Advanced The new RAN, core and backhaul architectures for mobile broadband The inclusion of TDD and WiFi spectrum in 4G plans New IP-based revenues streams and charging mechanisms <a href="">Register For Webinar</a> en-us The ThinkingNetworks Revolution As voice, messaging, and access revenues decline, operators are looking for a new revenue wave in mobile data opportunities. To capitalise on the types of monetisation and personalisation that are possible, operators will transform into "digital lifestyle providers" capable of dynamically creating and adjusting services according to subscribers' ever-changing preferences and circumstances. Software-defined ThinkingNetworks will become an architectural and operational foundation on top of which service providers will intelligently orchestrate the interaction between services and network elements. They will self-organise, self-optimise, and self-determine responses to unprecedented and unpredictable events. Read <a href="">The ThinkingNetworks Revolution whitepaper</a> to start your transformation to a digital lifestyle provider. en-us Tekelec outlines the four phases of ThinkingNetworks NGMN to focus on small cells, content delivery, RAN evolution and OSS The <a href="">NGMN</a> announced on 11 March that it will be working on four project areas over the coming year. These projects are intended to define operator requirements for specific scenarios that are then fed into the standards bodies that are forming technical specifications in these areas. As such, they give a good indication as to what items operators would like to see benefit from some cross-industry participation and input. The Mobile Network spoke to Philipp Deibert, Executive Programme Manager, NGMN about the scope of the organisation's work over the coming year. He said that the aim is to focus on areas that the NGMN can have a specific short to medium term impact, working with multiple standards organisations to feed in the resulting NGMN outputs and requirements. "There's a lot you can address from devices to radio access, backhaul and the core but these four projects fulfil the criteria for NGMN projects: we are technically driven with a business perspective and we focus on areas where we can have a short to mid-term impact, over 1-3 years. We're really looking at the technical issues that will have an impact in the coming years in terms of deployment and operation," Diebert said. The four new projects are: <b>Next Generation Converged Operations Requirements</b> This project will build upon Phase One of the <a href="">NGCOR project</a>, which is intended to "reduce complexity and integration costs in the area of network management by achieving standardised interfaces between the Telco infrastructure and the OSS." The final output of this project is expected in the summer of 2013. The project is led by DT, together with Orange, Telia-Sonera, Telecom Italia and China Mobile. Deibert: "For NGMN this area is quite new; we approached this OSS area one and a half years ago. OSS and operation of networks is getting more important, for example in areas such operations on self optimising networks. NGMN has provided use cases and prioritisation for use cases within the NGCOR project. There is also a lot of highly relevant work in the Telemanagement Forum and on the mobile side 3GPP SA5 is doing a lot of standardisation work. NGMN is positioned in the traditional role as a requirement setting organisation, defining requirements and working with other organisations to find the best way forward." <b>Evolution of the Radio Access Network (RAN)</b> The RAN Evolution project will evaluate options and give recommendations for a future radio access network architecture. There will be different workstreams, for example on C-RAN, Backhaul/Fronthaul, multi RAT operation, dynamic spectrum sharing, CoMP. This project is being led by China Mobile which was also the leading company in NGMN's previous project work on Centralised RAN. Work-stream leads are EE, Deutsche Telekom and work-stream co-leads are SKT, Bell, Huawei, Telecom Italia, Alcatel-Lucent, Samsung, Ceragon, Telus. Deibert: "There might be options on how to build the future RAN architecture in terms of where to put intelligence and decision making in the overall RAN, where to put the processing, what makes more sense in terms of efficiency. All the streams will come together and in the end represent a kind of comprehensive NGMN vision of how the RAN architecture should be evolving in the future. We hope to get to a common viewpoint of what makes more sense for different scenarios." en-us RAN evolution and small cells are two key NGMN projects for 2013. (Picture: Keima Wireless) Why a new network element could make OTT comms better for all The popularity of over-the-top (OTT) remains strong without question. Affordability, ongoing innovation and additional feature functionality continue to drive OTT success. On February 15 2013, Skype <a href="">declared</a> that "280 million people choose Skype to connect with their loved ones and colleagues every month" and later that month, Viber, first launched in 2010, <a href="">claimed to have reached</a> 160 million users with 750,000 uses per day. Despite the success, OTT telecommunications still fall short in a number of measures. On a daily basis, users face challenges associated with security and traversal across strict firewalls. Also, call quality and call continuity under adverse network conditions remain problematic when running live communications over untrusted, "best effort" networks. For example, when making an OTT call from a local coffee shop hotspot, hotel lobby, or conference center, firewalls will often suppress or kill voice, text, and video sessions. Some well-known mobile and Wi-Fi service providers will restrict UDP connections that carry media and SIP. Others interrupt longstanding TCP connections essential to voice and video over IP (ex. conference calls). In these instances, calls may appear to connect, but audio and video will never follow. When using municipal Wi-Fi access or guest Internet access from another business location, security may be suspect. OTT services can expose users to man-in-the-middle attacks or packet sniffing as they flow through these networks. Recently, T-Mobile <a href="">came under scrutiny</a> by researchers at UC Berkeley for a Wi-Fi voice vulnerability. To date, SIP, Transport Layer Security (TLS), and secure RTP, or the use of proprietary signaling and media technology have combated privacy concerns and data integrity issues. However, for a VoIP administrator trying to diagnose call problems for encrypted calls, encryption likely leaves such issues unresolvable. In turn, the next step for the IT administrator is often to remove encryption for troubleshooting, thereby exposing users to the risks IT was trying to protect against. When walking away from Wi-Fi and moving into a 4G or 3G network, live calls from a mobile OTT app will fail when using most OTT services. For adoption beyond the consumer and into reliable hosted PBX services running over-the-top, OTT services need to move beyond best efforts and into to a world of service guarantees and reliability. Standard Virtual Private Networking (VPN) or tunneling technologies provide some relief to these problems that pervade OTT deployments. Encrypting VoIP and video packets over IPsec tunnels has been a part of session border controllers for some time, and the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) leverages dual IPsec channels for IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) AKA protected voice over long term evolution (VoLTE) traffic. IPsec provides security at the IP network layer and is most often incorporated into network elements, servers, clients, and operating systems (ex. session border controller, dedicated VPN concentrator, or &#64257;rewall). en-us How Cisco's Ubiquisys acquisition could shake up the small cell market Cisco announced on Wednesday that it will be acquiring Ubiqisys for $310 million in a deal due to close before the end of this year. There are several interesting aspects to this deal, which is being seen as a good exit both for original founder Will Franks and the more recently-hired CEO Chris Gilbert, as well as for a bevvy of investors who have financed the company to the tune of $81 million since 2004. Cisco's <a href="">stated reasons for the acquistion</a> are absolutely of a piece with its public strategy for the past 12-18 months: the company wants to play everywhere in the mobile network (apart from in macro base stations in licensed spectrum) to build the "intelligent network" for mobile operators. That intelligent network vision has extended from core routers and switches, through platforms that allow for backhaul traffic management to public-access WiFi products and licensed spectrum small cell products (through its partnership with ip.access). Added to that was its major acquisition of Intucell to boost its SON and automated network intelligence capability. As well as adding its product capability to this Cisco vision, Ubiquisys brings a strong relationship with Intel for its SmartCell and intelligent edge visions - carrying out applications processing at the edge - and also knowledge of SON through implementations such as its ActiveSON. Cisco has said that this distributed SON approach complements the more centralised SON capabilities it acquired through Intucell. However, the deal could also cloud several existing relationships leading to a shake-up of relationships in the market. Ubiquisys has been one of the leading players in defining the small cell market, through residential, entperprise and public access soutions. It did produce its own products, but it mainly sold software that hardware manufacturers, often Asia-Pac players such as Gemtek, Tecom and SerComm, would then use to build completed product. It also worked with NEC and NSN, using these vendors as sales partners where the vendors were winning end to end deals that required a small cell element. Cisco's <a href="">Jared Headley</a> has said that it sees that model continuing, providing both hardware and software to others. But will the likes of NSN and NEC want to work with Cisco rather than with an independent entity like Ubiquisy? NSN remained tight-lipped in a comment to The Mobile Network, although it did point out that it worked with a range of small cell partners. A statement from the company said: <i>We are not commenting about competition and we use many suppliers in our small cell solutions".</i> NEC, which formed its partnership with Ubiquisys in 2007, said in a statement: <i>"Ubiquisys is one of NEC's important small cell partners and we believe this mutually beneficial relationship will continue."</i> One knock-on effect could be the impact on ip.access, which now stands somewhat alone as an independent developer of small cells. As it develops much of its own core technology, management systems and SON capability, ip.access is different to other providers such as Contela or Argela, which build products from a range of suppliers (Mindspeed chip plus Radisys Trillium platform, for example). ip.access may see an opportunity in exploiting that independence, driving home the message that it is an independent provider of end to end small cell solutions. en-us Ubiquisys' G3 femtocell (Copyright: Ubiquisys) Ixia adds Diameter capability as part of platform play Ixia has collaborated with Developing Solutions to add high-performance testing of Diameter signaling to its IxLoad solution. Diameter is a set of signalling protocols used for policy, charging and subscriber management. Ixia wants to develop its ixLoad solution to be able to deliver actionable insight into this LTE signalling traffic. The company said that mobile operators face a major challenge in coping with surging traffic that can overwhelm infrastructures, which causes network outages and critical billing issues. Since these failures most often occur at high scale or under extreme conditions, Ixia said that operators must be able to proactively assess and validate the performance, resilience and scalability of <a href="">LTE network cores, policy and charging systems</a> prior to live deployment. It added that IxLoad delivers insight and visibility into network behaviour; device performance; and the scalability of subscriber, billing and policy management systems using both Diameter and non-Diameter protocols on a single test system. Its press release said: <i>IxLoad EPC solutions now leverage Developing Solutions' dsTest to promote high-performance testing of Diameter-based billing and policy systems. Additionally, customers now benefit from Developing Solutions' SmartAVP technology, which allows flexible testing of mandatory and custom Attribute Value Pairs, and SmartEvents, which enables rapid custom testing of specific implementations and triggers. IxLoad with dsTest features extensive Diameter interface support including multiple interfaces such as S6a, S6d, Gx, Ro/Gy, Rf/Gz, S6b, Rx, Sh, Cx and Sy.</i> The development is an illustration of Ixia's mission is to become a provider of an "intelligent access layer" that enables operators to monitor and optimise their networks, and the applications and services that run over them. CEO Victor Alston told The Mobile Network that the company is moving from being a provider of test solutions, into assessment and then into monitoring and assurance. Ixia said that its platform approach will allow operators to scale their probe-based monitoring systems by providing actionable data into those systems. "We spent 10 years focussing on helping customers build networks out, with equipment manufacturers being 70-75% of the business, helping them with their product development life cycle. "In the last few years we have started to expand the offering. The rationale was that we built great products for testing technologies - take LTE as an example, in the process of building that we also built a lot of IP that can be leveraged after the deployment of LTE as well. So the idea was to start to move the business from test, into assessment and finally into monitoring and optimisation." <b>ASSESSMENT</b> "So in moving into assessment we help mostly carriers, and also enterprises, make sure technologies are deployed properly, and help them make sure services are running with good with QoS, are running properly. "The acquisitions we did recently are about expanding us on this curve of test, assessment, monitoring and optimisation. <a href="">BreakingPoint </a> gives us a security assessment platform, as we build any new technology we can assess that technology, for WiFi, high frequency trading, storage, call centre and for VoLTE and security. That's relevant for carriers buying our test solutions but also very useful for NEPS to make sure they are providing products properly for those carriers." <b>MONITORING</b> "The <a href="">Anue</a> acquisition gave us a beachhead into the monitoring and optimisation space. Anue looks at all the traffic in your network and is able to figure out the needle in the haystack so you can figure out what the problems are, how you are dropping packets, and when a call drops what causes it. The operator can then leverage those analytics in order to make decisions and predict behaviour and change how it is operating." Alston said that product launches such as the IxLoad/ Developing Solutions partnership, would support this goal of helping operators predict and react to behaviour in the network, and assure their monetisation architecture. One recent launch was a <a href="">GTP Session Load Balancing</a> capability, which Alston said was "important and relevant". "Inside a production network there are millions of packets going by. If someone wants to figure out why a particular call is being dropped or a set of calls are being dropped, they can leverage this technology. We sift through all the packets, reconstruct a GTP session, which is the building block of 4G, then give that to probes and other analytics tools to figure out why those calls are dropped. That's not just at the packet level but at session and also at the application level, which gives our product a lot more meaning to these carriers. "<a href="">Traffix with F5</a> is another example of that. In mobile networks there are a variety of Diameter based protocols driving authentication and billing - the monetisation infrastructure of the mobile operators. So now that you've put all this infrastructure out there, what are the gateways in place to ensure that monetisation? So you might hear about location, video and voice services. These all patch into the VoLTE fabric, leveraging Diameter based infrastrucure from the likes of F5 and Tekelec. We can make sure the vendors are building those products properly, but also help operators to assess and monitor the roll out of those Diameter based solutions so they can assure their monetisation architecture." en-us Driver, follow that LTE signal: ten short stories from the wireless week <b>1</b> NSN announced an LTE contract with TIM Brasil. The operator, which already supplied TIM with its 2G and 3G kit, managed to score a hat-trick with an LTE supply contract for its SingleRAN radio access technology. LTE service should be in place through 2013, in time for the Confederations Cup and then the football world cup in 2014. "2G and 3G equipment installed by the company is performing so well that it was a natural decision to deploy an LTE network with the same vendor," said Marco di Costanzo, Head of Mobile Network, TIM Brasil. <b>2</b> Staying with NSN, the vendor notched another mark on its LTE scoresheet with a goal in Thailand, this time for a 3G network at 2100MHz for AIS. AIS, which had 4.5 million 3G 900MHz network users at the beginning of January, is targeting a total of eight million 3G subscribers by the end of the year, while its 2100MHz rollout is expected to reach 50% population coverage by mid-year, 80% by the start of 2014 and 97% coverage within three years. This time the "supportive quote" came from Saran Phaloprakarn, vice president of network strategic planning at AIS, who said: "We needed a partner who understands our business." Rival Thai operator DTAC awarded Ericsson its 3G business earlier in the year. <b>3</b> In France, operators are playing LTE coverage wars. From 4 April, Orange will open its 4G network in ten new cities and surrounding areas (Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Chartres, Orleans, Dunkerque, Nancy, Metz, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble and Annecy). In addition, paris is getting more coverage. following the launch of 4G in the Paris Opera area on 28 January, the city's 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th districts will be added to the list. Orange also announced that it would also have LTE in 21 additional "agglomerations", from June this year. <b>4</b> Although there was no official announcement, Bouygues CEO gave an interview to Le Figaro in which he said the operator would have a clutch of cities covered by October using 2.6GHz technology. The operator is also planning on opening 1800LTE as soon as it can, following regulatory approval. <b>5</b> Over the border in Switzerland, Swisscom said that it now has 300,000 LTE customers, with 35 percent of the Swiss population covered for LTE, and a target of 70 percent by the end of 2013. The operator added it would invest around $1.6 billion in its mobile network up to 2017. en-us EE gets in the car No such things as LTE-A, B or C, says 3GPP 3GPP has released a statement insisting that the correct term for specifications defined under Release 10 and beyond is, and will be, LTE-Advanced. The standards-setting body is worried that the shorthand adoption of LTE-A for LTE-Advanced is leading to the creeping use of terms such as LTE-B and LTE-C to describe technologies specified beyond the current R10 and R11 timeframe. The <a href="">3GPP statement</a> said: <i>"3GPP recognises that in the marketplace a number of differing terms related to LTE are appearing. 3GPP reaffirms that the naming for the technology family and its evolution continues to be covered by the term LTE-Advanced, which remains the correct description for specifications currently being defined - from Release 10 onwards, including 3GPP Release 12."</i> en-us LTE is fastest developing mobile system technology ever - GSA The latest update of the GSA Evolution to LTE report claims that 361 "firm" LTE network deployments are planned or in progress in 114 countries, including 163 networks which are commercially launched in 67 countries. (MVNOs are excluded. Multi-band networks are counted as one network.) A further 54 operators in 10 additional countries are engaged in pre-commercial LTE technology pilot trials, tests or studies. Taken together, it means that 415 operators in 124 countries are now investing in LTE. The total number of LTE subscriptions reached 68.33 million in Q4 2012. That level of growth means that LTE is the fastest developing mobile system technology ever and is now mainstream, the GSA concluded. en-us Cumulative LTE launches 2009-2013 (Source: GSA's Evolution to LTE Report) Voda Egypt trials energy efficiency antenna tech from Ericsson Vodafone Egypt said that it achieved a 40% reduction in power consumption in its first field trials of Ericsson's Psi-Coverage* solution. Psi-Coverage is the name Ericsson gives to a technology design that connects three antennas to one base station radio, instead of using one radio unit per antenna. The design would appear to prioritise coverage over capacity, splitting the capacity of the "host" base station across three antennas, although Ericsson said that "innovative" software boosts uplink capacity at the base station. Ericsson positions the Psi-Coverage solution, first launched in the field in August 2012, as best suited to markets that need to achieve low cost expansion of 3G coverage. The solution can "provide high quality coverage without the power usage that is necessary in larger cities" the company said in a statement. Tony Dolton, Chief Technology Officer at Vodafone Egypt, said: "Psi-Coverage proved to be successful during testing, it reduced power consumption substantially and helped in saving OPEX/CAPEX costs." Anders Lindblad, President of Region Middle East and Africa, Ericsson, said: "Psi-Coverage allows operators to reduce carbon footprint while maintaining quality of services to their customers." *The name of the solution is symbolic, as PSI in Greek has the shape of a fork with three teeth, representing the set-up of the base station plus three antennas. en-us How EE is doubling its LTE speeds EE announced this morning that it will double LTE speeds in ten UK cities this summer by refarming 2G spectrum to give its LTE network 20MHz contiguous spectrum at 1800MHz. The operator said that it would be able to provide theoretical peak rates of 130Mbps and average speeds of 20Mbps as a result of refarming spectrum currently used to support 2G spectrum. Tom Bennett, Director of Network Services at EE, told The Mobile Network that the operator is clearing 5MHz on either side of the existing 10MHz block it is using for LTE. That will give it a possible 20MHz of contiguous spectrum for 4G. That is the widest bandwidth achievable for LTE without deploying Carrier Aggregration as. Bennett said that EE can do this because it is integrating its 2G and 4G network into the same physical hardware, "the same tin", as part of its network integration. That means that it can support its existing 2G customer base more efficiently than it could when those customers were being served from two separate, rather than one integrated, sites, Bennett said. EE is using SingleRAN hardware from Huawei for 2G and 4G, and NSN equipment for its 3G and HSPA network. All its devices since launch have been at least Category 3 devices, meaning they can take advantage of the 20MHz spectrum band without modification. <b>Competitive positioning, spectrum bragging</b> EE is able to do this because of the amount of spectrum it holds at 1800MHz. Even after divesting 15MHz to 3UK it has 45MHz available at that band. It also gained good holdings at 1800 and a lesser block at 800MHz in the recent spectrum auction. EE's holdings are 2x5MHz 800MHz; 2x45 1800MHz; 2x20 2.1GHz; 2x35 2.6GHz FDD. Although some at EE's press event questioned whether UK consumers are in fact calling for faster LTE, instead of larger data allowances or cheaper tariffs, CEO Olaf Swantee spent some time outlining the benefits to the economy of fast mobile broadband, and the leading position of EE as a network operator and technology innovator. What we are seeing is EE trying to position itself as the network leader in the UK. Olaf Swantee told the press conference that "the network is at the centre of everything we do, and pointedly added that with EE now holding 36% of all UK spectrum, "there are other players that do not have the spectrum capacity to deliver this capability today nor in the future." Vodafone is the closest challenger to EE in terms of the spread and depth of its spectrum holdings, with 28%. O2 has 15%, 3UK 12%. Mansoor Hanif, Director of Network Consolidation and LTE at Everything Everywhere, said, "If you want the best, come to the best network." Bennett told TMN that his networks team were "as happy as we could possibly be" with the results of the spectrum auction. The operator also said that because of the investments it had made in its transmission (backhaul) network, it is able to support increased speeds across the network. Again, it implicitly questioned whether its competitors would be able to match this backhaul investment. en-us EE targets doubled LTE speeds in 10 UK cities using 20MHz spectrum Het Net integration key to Cisco's radio access ambitions <i>By Frank Rayal</i> Cisco's intent to acquire small cell vendor Ubiquisys is yet another demonstration of the changing landscape of mobile communications and services. But the question is to what extent such an acquisition would provide Cisco with a much coveted play in the radio access network? Cisco has long played in WiFi, a technology that has surpassed its initial objective to provide local area networking to become a complementary service used by mobile network operators to relief congested sites and inject capacity in targeted spots. As WiFi gets more integrated into the mobile network architecture with seamless handover, authentication and a host of other features that blurs the boundaries with licensed spectrum technologies such as HSPA and LTE, Cisco's role will continue to grow, especially as it has a strong core network portfolio. The acquisition of Ubiquisys expands the field for Cisco to play in a complementary (or in other instances, a competitive) space - that of licensed band small cells. These small cells come in different shapes and forms: indoor residential, indoor enterprise, indoor or outdoor public are but a few distinctions. The bulk of current sales and deployments are for the femto category deployed in the home. Many operators made use of femto cells to provide indoor coverage where it is weak. But with mobile traffic generated indoors reaching 65% or more, the case has always been for small cells to take a good portion of that traffic off the macro cellular grid: the projected volume of femto cells according to Informa1 will get close to the 90 million mark by 2016. en-us Cisco Aironet Wireless Access Points (Credit: Cisco Pics) Celcite adds LTE to geo SON product Mobile network optimisation company Celcite has said that its Cops-Geo optimisation platform can now locate LTE users the same way it was locating 2G and 3G users. Cops-GEO uses measurements such as User Equipment Traffic Recording (UETR) and Cell Traffic Recording (CTR) to geo-locate subscribers and traffic, providing a location-aware visualisation of users and usage. This information can then be used to optimise an existing network or plan network upgrades or expansion. Celcite said that the LTE enhancement to COPS-Geo is designed to help mobile network operators improve subscriber experience by efficiently planning and optimising LTE network expansions and benchmarking mobile device performance. en-us Hear EE's Principal Network Architect on EE's small cell and backhaul strategy <b>Tuesday, 14 May, 2013. Webinar.</b> <a href="">REGISTER FOR WEBINAR</a> Sutton will present an overview of EE small cell strategy and review the range of backhaul solutions currently available. The presentation will major on real world trials carried out over the last 12 months by EE. Fixed and wireless backhaul solutions will be presented. This will be followed by a discussion about small cell backhaul architecture and how best to integrate small cells in to the overall network as we evolve from isolated hot-spot deployments to future heterogeneous networks. Attendees will also hear insights on these topics from Maravedis-Rethink's Research Director, Caroline Gabriel, and Backhaul Practice Head, Esteban Monturus, including highlights of Maravedis-Rethink's most recent research and forecasts. <b>Agenda:</b> <b>1</b> Context: Key trends in LTE and small cell deployment - Caroline Gabriel <b>2</b> Small cell backhaul trends - Esteban Monturus <b>3</b> EE small cell strategy - Andy Sutton, Principal Network Architect, EE. <a href="">REGISTER FOR WEBINAR</a> This <a href="">MOSA</a> webinar series is organised in partnership with Avren Events in preparation for the <a href="">Small Cells World Summit</a> held in London June 4-6. en-us Designing seamless networks in subway systems <a href="">Register for webinar</a> As indoor wireless network coverage becomes more abundant throughout the world, users expect anytime anywhere connectivity. This includes technically complex environments such as underground transit systems. Whether making a call while coming down an escalator, catching up on the news on the platform or streaming video in the train, users expect the network to meet their high mobile demands - no matter where they are. Based on real life case studies, this webinar will cover: - The anatomy of a subway system with its various user profiles and network usage - Wireless network requirements and design challenges - Suggested equipment and network integration - The future of indoor networks in subway systems <b>3 available times:</b> May 7 at 1pm GMT May 7 at 2pm EDT May 8 at 2pm SGT <b>Speakers:</b> Dominique Gauthier, CTO, iBwave Scott Pereira, Director Sales Engineering (Americas), iBwave Peter Thalmeir, Director Sales Engineering (EMEA), iBwave <a href="">Register for webinar</a> en-us Et Tu? How operators can 'do' OTT <i>By Thorsten Trapp</i> The rise of OTT has been spectacular - in the ten years since the launch of Skype it has gone from nowhere to being a major alternative communications channel. Indeed, according to research released by <a href="">GigaOm</a> in January, 2013 is the year when mobile IP messaging volumes will overtake SMS for the first time. This impressive growth means that operators can no longer ignore the OTT opportunity; instead of blocking it, operators should grab the opportunity that OTT has to offer. The launch this March by Telefonica of its Tu Go service in the UK was something of a ground breaker - it was one of the most complete OTT services created by an operator to date. It offers full OTT functionality integrated into the user's core mobile account, by letting users route calls made to their standard mobile number to non-SIM, IP-based devices via an app. <b>This obviously has huge implications at a business level, but what are the technical implications for other operators looking to take this route?</b> There are several OTT scenarios that operators can consider, from an OTT-lite packet-switched version, through to the full blown IP integration of Tu Go. At the simple level, an OTT style service could be implemented using the <b>operator's IMS system</b>, connected with the GSMA's RCSe/Joyn standard. This would enable users to call other members of the same network via an OTT-style app, but calls would be routed via the packet switched network and potentially zero rated on their bill. This iteration obviously doesn't represent 'real' OTT as the calls and messages never move to IP but, to the end user, the result (free calls, presence data etc) is the same. A more complex option, and the one adopted by Telefonica, is to go down a more <b>fully fledged OTT route</b>. To do this, an operator would essentially have to change not just the software and infrastructure but the processes at the core of the network's operations. Operators are currently SIM-card focused and this is the basis of all subscriber identification and billing. Therefore, to move calls and messages to pure-IP devices requires a virtualisation of mobile numbers away from the SIM and into an IP space. Calls and messages can then be transcoded between IP and packet switched as required and routed to the required destination as specified by the user via a proprietary app. This option gives subscribers access to 'real' (if walled garden) OTT, but can be costly and complex. en-us Ten in the net: ten stories from the mobile network this week <b>1. You're the (tower) tops:</b> Commscope claimed that it had, along with Ooredoo, developed "new approach to building wireless networks". The operator formerly known as QTel and Commscope have co-designed a pre-assembled tower-top for base station remote radios. Commmscope said that pre-assembly of of the tower tops reduces the installation time by approximately half, leading to safer working conditions for installation staff and reduced network downtime for customers. In addition, by installing the radio equipment on tower tops instead of large air-conditioned shelters, Ooredoo said it expects to halve electricity costs. The tower top solution will become Ooredoo's standard cell site design across its markets in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, as the company upgrades or replaces 15,000 of its base stations over the coming years. Paul Salmon, Group Chief Technology Officer, Ooredoo, said, "Working with CommScope to develop a new tower top solution that is assembled in a factory will enable us to deliver a distinctly different approach to building and operating a wireless network. We believe this is a first for our industry, and it is a source of considerable pride that it was designed and developed within the region to serve our customers." <b>2. Good week for Samsung</b>, which has been hammering on the door of European operators' network departments for the past two years. The company, which has previously claimed success lay just round the corner, scored an LTE RAN and core network deal with Hutchison 3G Ireland. The company had, in August 2012, <a href="">already announced a deal</a> with the Hutchison-owned Three UK. <b>3.Network sharing good:</b> Telefonica O2 Germany is considering the benefits it could gain from sharing bits of network with E-Plus. Although a full merger seems off the table, exploratory work into "potential network synergies" between the two companies may yet results in a network sharing deal,<a href="">Bloomberg reported</a>." (EXTRA: Hutch Italy and TIM are <a href="\2013\04\11\&CoName=TELECOM+ITALIA+S+P+A&FormType=6-K&RcvdDate=4%2F11%2F2013&pdf=)">making eyes at each other</a>). <b>4. Network merger bad:</b> Two networks <a href=">owned by the same company</a> cannot merge because it would reduce competition. Work that one out. <b>5. SON and LTE product upgrade:</b> <a href="">Celcite</a> said that its Cops-Geo optimisation platform can now locate LTE users. A Celcite statement said that the introduction of complex heterogeneous networks (HetNets), involving the integration of small cells alongside the UMTS and LTE macrocell ecosystem, has created a need for more rigorous subscriber location-based planning and optimisation of networks. COPS-Geo's UETR Call Browser enables an operator to track, drill down and troubleshoot subscriber call flows, including drops, blocks, and handover failures. It also provides network optimisation reports and analyses on poorly performing cells, as well as performing statistical analysis on various measurements and KPIs. Further, IMEI/IMSI reports and analyses enable performance drill-down on specific subscribers and specific mobile devices. en-us CommScope and Ooredoos pre-assembled tower top 4G hype leading to LTE security shortcuts Many mobile operators are deploying LTE networks without deploying the full IPSec security architecture specified by 3GPP to ensure all communications and signalling links remain encrypted across the network. In 3G there is native encryption of the path all the way through from the handset to the base station to the RNC. LTE flattens that architecture, so that RNC functionality sits in the eNodeB, meaning that native encryption terminates at the base station. That means the backhaul interfaces, the S1-U and S1-MME interconnection from the eNodeB to the serving gateway and Mobility Management Entity (MME) respectively, as well as the X2 interconnections between eNodeBs, are unprotected. 3GPP dealt with this issue by prescribing IPsec, with instantiation of IPSec tunnels from the eNodeB back to the EPC (Evolved Packet Core) and the termination of those tunnels in a Security Gateway (SEG). However, with a full IPSec rollout costing tens of millions of dollars, as well as time to design and integrate, many operators are preferring instead to deploy now and think about security later, according to Richard Peachey, Technical Managing Consultant at <a href="">Praesidum</a> , the consulting arm of revenue assurance software provider WeDo Technologies. Peachey said that although many of the international Group operators are mandating IPSec, many national operators and Tier 2 players are deciding against the cost of installing security architecture to support LTE rollouts. T-Mobile for instance, has made it public that it mandates full IPSec implementation in its LTE network in Germany. Other group operators are thought to have mandated IPSec for the signalling link, but not for the user data itself. However, many more operators are deploying LTE without installing the 3GPP-defined architecture in support. Peachey identified operators in the Middle East as some of those likely to be by-passing IPSec. Patrick Donegan, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading, said, "A lot of operators are still rolling out LTE without IPsec, either because they think they don't need it, think it's too costly, or they lack the confidence that they can minimise any impact on network performance." Donegan added that other operators were going down the IPSec path. "We are seeing the adoption rate of IPsec with LTE increasing, particularly in Europe", he said. en-us Tekelec makes case for on-device policy Tekelec, the signalling and policy management company that is being acquired by Oracle, has been hammering its Policy Everywhere message for the past few months. If you were wondering what that term means, then the vendor has outlined eight use cases for policy on the device. Policy servers sit in the core network and, at a basic level, manage things like whether users have access to certain services or apply data volume and speed limits, and so on. Tekelec's Policy Everywhere proposes a network where some of that sort of decision making intelligence can go, via on-device clients, to the device itself. The main driver of that is <a href=""> Tekelec's MPG</a> (Mobile Policy Gateway) software. Here are the eight use cases that Tekelec thinks could be enabled by this Policy Everywhere approach. They're all designed to either save money or make money for the operator, by introducing new efficiences or by letting operators deliver services that take advantage of the network capabilities they have. Tekelec's terminology for this is that it is enabling operators to become "digital lifestyle service providers". <b>1</b> Network Congestion Management <b>2</b> Application Firewalling <b>3</b> Application Traffic Scheduling and Management <b>4</b> Service Continuity <b>5</b> Battery Life Preservation <b>6</b> Chargeable Services and Mobile Payments <b>7</b> Targeted Mobile Advertising <b>8</b> Subscriber Self-Care. You can <a href="">read more about each of them here</a>. en-us Brazil pushes LTE tech forward at 450MHz: Aricent powers trial eNodeB One of the companies developing technology for assessment is <a href="">Aricent</a>, who announced today that <a href="">CPqD</a>, an R&D institution in Brazil developing an LTE system at 450MHz, is starting field trials of an LTE eNodeB powered by Aricent's eNodeB software framework. Aricent said that CPqD is conducting the field trial for one of the largest operators in Brazil. Operators in Brazil were not too keen on 450MHz spectrum in last summers auction, leading the Brazilian regulator to invoke a rule that operators that secured 26GHz spectrum must also roll out LTE at 450MHz for rural areas. The Brazilian regulatory rules defined that by December 31, 2015, all rural areas up to 30 km from the headquarters of all Brazilian municipalities must have LTE coverage in the 450 MHz band with voice and data services. Claro, for example, will have to deploy 450MHz band services in rural areas of all states in the north region, plus in rural parts of Bahia and Maranhao states, as well as in greater Sao Paulo. TIM Brasil must cover rural parts of Parana, Santa Catarina, Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Sant while Oi has regional licences in Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Goias and the Federal District. CPqD launched its LTe test lab in March 2013, including its first LTE wireless solution developed for the frequency comprising of antennas, RF devices, a compact base station, LTE terminals with interfaces for Wi-Fi networks, and a network management system. CPqD said transmission speeds for the 450MHz LTE solution have reached 25Mbps for download and 12.5Mbps for upload. The Aricent-CPqD LTE eNodeB solution comprises layer 2 and layer 3 eNodeB software from Aricent. "Field trials are one of the most critical phases in a product lifecycle to determine the viability and usability of the solution," said Pratyush Dasgupta vice president and head of wireless practice, at Aricent. "We are committed to providing all the support necessary to ensure that the LTE solution performs exceptionally well when deployed commercially." "LTE has a tremendous growth potential in Brazil and is the most important focus area for CPqD" said Fabricio Lira Figueiredo, from CPqD. "We are delighted in continuing our partnership with Aricent in this space to ensure that we provide the best possible solution to our customers." CPqD's industrial partner is WxBR, to whom it is transferring its technolgy. "LTE is the most advanced broadband wireless technology and we are the pioneer in providing a complete LTE solution for 450 MHz band." said Samuel Lauretti, president of WxBR. Other ecosystem players providing LTe450MHz support includ<a href="">Altair SemiConductor</a>, which announced chipsets to support the band in November 2012. en-us Point-to-Multipoint microwave market to grow five times by 2017 Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) around the world are already experiencing exponential mobile data growth across different applications on their networks. This surge in demand is focusing Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) on the right planning and solution choices to add capacity to their existing mobile infrastructure. Mobile Broadband is also an efficient alternative to fixed broadband connectivity, especially in markets where access to ADSL or other forms of fixed broadband are either prohibitively expensive or not available. From the MNO perspective providing Mobile Broadband to both mobile and fixed customers seems like two bites at the cherry, but it doesn't come without challenges. Faced with the time consuming installation of fibre and its higher cost within urban environments, MNOs have had to open their perspective to a wider variety of network design solutions. This is noticeably evident in the developed mobile broadband markets of Europe and Asia Pacific, where carrier competition and ever increasing customer demand for bandwidth are making fast expansion of network capacity a key strategic driver. <b>What is the current situation in the emerging markets, and especially in Africa?</b> The MNO's there have followed a similar path in transitioning from 2G to 3G infrastructure and are either anticipating a transition to LTE deployment shortly or have already made the transition. Deployment of LTE in Africa has already begun in Angola, Namibia, Mauritius, South Africa, Ethiopia and Tanzania. However, spectrum licensing delays - similar to those seen in Europe and other parts of the world - are holding back full-scale deployment across the continent and are delaying the first commercial deployments in important markets like Nigeria. Due to the lack of fixed line infrastructure across the African continent, what little access to broadband there is comes at a high usage cost. In many cases, Africans accessing the Internet via a mobile device have no alternative access to the web. MNOs in Africa are capitalising on the demand for mobile Internet in the continent, as well as the socio-economic, business and revenue opportunities. During March 2013, sized the <a href="">wireless PtMP equipment revenues market </a> in collaboration with operators and vendors, concluding that it will top US$500 million by 2017, representing five-fold growth since 2011. ExelixisNet believes that the overall PtMP wireless backhaul market growth will experience substantial growth along with the small cells and LTE evolution expected during 2014, fueling the need for more capacity. However, continuous demand and growth will mainly derive from emerging markets in Africa and the Middle East; specifically South Africa and Nigeria (Figure shows the African forecasted growth between 2012-2017). The two leading vendors, <a href="">Cambridge Broadband Networks</a> and <a href="">Intracom Telecom</a>, have quite large projects in progress to cover the demand of access and backhaul in Africa, mainly South Africa and Nigeria. <a href="">Bluwan</a> is an upcoming vendor developing aggressively - mainly in the 12 and the 42GHz band (new for PtMP) - adding a tremendous amount of capacity beyond 200Mbps, which is what a typical LTE macro cell will require for peak demand backhaul. However, the leading competitors do have plans to add additional capacity, reaching Gbit level at macro-level, in the near future; not only for cellular coverage but also for enterprise access projects. Vertical markets could bring new opportunities for PtMP, such as <a href="">Cambridge Broadband Networks</a> and <a href="">Redline Communications</a> has been serving for the past few years. <b>PtMP microwave solutions seem to be gaining attraction but high capacity and performance could remain the barriers to enter.</b> Today, PtMP microwave solutions operate in the traditional 10.5GHz, 26GHz and 28GHz bands, whilst 32GHz and 42GHz are also emerging without yet becoming mainstream. However, all the major PtMP players have already developed solutions for those bands, as some modest growth is expected in the near future. That depends mainly on national regulatory authorities and their decisions to make those bands available for PtMP deployment. For example some European and Middle East countries such as the UAE and Egypt are currently considering the 42MHz band. 32GHz is also a good alternative as a harmonised block of spectrum can be used, allowing several services to be developed more easily. ExelixisNet's study also concluded that the licensed 26GHz frequency band will see greater demand in the next five years as it will continue to be mainly used to backhaul 3G high-speed packet access (HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) networks in the developing regions. The PtMP market is highly volatile on a quarter to quarter basis, due to the number of links that can be ordered in a particular quarter, and the fact it might take a whole quarter to close a deal. This quarter on quarter volatility tends to be flattened out on a year on year basis. Overall CBNL, who based on ExelixisNet estimates has already a 50% global market share, mainly from Africa, manages to maintain substantial growth, which is very critical as it specialises only in one technology, where Intracom Telecom or even <a href="">RADWIN</a> could offer both PtP and PtMP, adding a great advantage to their products' portfolio. en-us CBNL's VectaStar Metro, a backhaul solution for small cell networks Management World <a href="">Management World 2013</a> The digital storm is ripping through the industry, slashing profit margins and putting new pressures on available capital. New opportunities abound but to take advantage of them, you must rapidly change the way you run your business. Whether you're focused on capturing your slice of the growing cloud and M2M markets through business and IT agility, innovation and partnering; expanding your market share through exploiting data analytics and delivering a great customer experience ; or continuously improving your operational effectiveness, now is the time to think differently. <b>Management World 2013 Forums:</b> Big Data Analytics; Customer Experience Management; Enabling Enterprise Cloud; M2M & Digital Services; Agile IT; Revenue Management; Security & Privacy; Cable <a href="">Register today</a> en-us Ten in the net: ten stories from the mobile network this week Ten in the Net: Friday 19th April <b> 1. CONTRACT: Ericsson and Orange</b> Ericsson confirmed its position as sole LTE supplier to Orange in south-west and north-east France as well as the Greater Paris region. Ericsson is installing its RBS 6000 multi-standard 2G/3G/4G radio base stations to support LTE and to upgrade existing 2G and 3G base stations at more than 15,000 sites in south-west and north-east France and the Paris. The vendor has set up a dedicated organization to manage these transformation and deployment programs, and is working on them with a number of partner companies. Orange told The Mobile Network: <i>" Orange is working with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Cisco for the deployment of its LTE network in France. "Orange worked with Alcatel to open its first LTE sites in the Marseilles area during the first half of 2012. The deployment then continued with Alcatel in Nantes and Lyon, and with Ericsson in Lille and the Opera district of Paris. "For the 10 additional agglomerations (built-up areas comprising cities and surrounding towns) in which our 4G network will be launched in April: "Alcatel will be our partner for Annecy, Grenoble, Chartres, Orleans and Clermont-Ferrand; "Ericsson will be our partner for Paris (1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th districts), Bordeaux, Nancy, La Rochelle, Dunkerque and Metz. Cisco is our technical partner for adapting our backbone network for 4G in all the above-mentioned towns."</i> <b>2. PRODUCT: Tekelec</b> Tekelec puts Diameter elements in the Cloud, and adds Voice over LTE services The latest version of <a href="">Tekelec's</a> Diameter Signaling Router (DSR), available this quarter, introduces virtualisation and adds new emergency Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services, scalability and routing functions. The virtualisation of elements such as the OA&M functions and message processing means that operators can move network elements to servers or blades as part of a move to more cost-efficient cloud architectures, Tekelec said. Additionally, "moving New Diameter Network elements such as the Diameter Signaling Router to the cloud gives operators architectural agility to handle signaling and data traffic surges," said Houck Reed, vice president of product management and marketing, Tekelec. "Virtualisation is one of the first steps to creating software-defined ThinkingNetworks, giving operators the flexibility and scalability to deliver a superior customer experience." The new DSR release also introduced a mechanism to communicate the priority of Diameter signaling messages for emergency VoLTE calls among multiple DSRs in a large network. Tekelec said that by repurposing the DSR's message throttling and overload mechanisms in a VoLTE environment, operators could maintain end-to-end priority of emergency calls. <b>3. CONTRACT: NSN and M1</b> M1 has commissioned Nokia Siemens Networks to strengthen its voice core network and expand its 3G network by implementing its Liquid Core and radio networks, and refarming the GSM 900 MHz band. NSN will provide its Single RAN Flexi Multiradio Base Stations, coupled with its Multicontroller RNC and Liquid Radio software. As part of the Liquid Core portfolio, the company will also provide its ATCA-based open Mobile Switching Center Server (MSS) and open Media Gateway (MGW) to support the operator's voice core network as it moves to an all-IP network. In addition, Nokia Siemens Networks will provide its Subscriber Data Management Platform including New Technology Home Location Register and One-NDS subscriber data management system for a centralised database repository. <b>4. PRODUCT/PARTNERSHIP: Sandvine and Openwave Mobility</b> <a href="">Openwave Mobility</a> said that it is collaborating on a joint solution with <a href="">Sandvine</a> to enable the introduction of new Layer 7 services including targeted video optimization and subscriber self-care. Sandvine is combining its Policy Traffic Switch with Openwave Mobility's Integra4, value-added Services (VAS) platform to assemble a solution whereby data traffic can be classified at line-rate and appropriate Layer 7 application traffic can be steered to Integra4 to apply services. These services can include video optimization, parental controls or even dynamic content insertion for engaging users with inline promotions. Don Bowman, CTO, Sandvine, said, "By redirecting only relevant video traffic, the Sandvine-Openwave partnership provides operators with a scalable solution that reduces latency and increase quality of experience for video subscribers worldwide." The joint Sandvine-Openwave Mobility solution demonstrates tight integration of the control and data planes, allowing operators to create (in the cloud/on the fly) and deploy new service management capabilities, including web and video content filtering and optimization, and real-time subscriber engagement for offering innovative data plans. <b>5. PRODUCT/POSITIONING Intel outlines NFV support</b> Intel publicised three reference designs, the Open Networking Platform Switch Reference Design and Server Reference Design, The Intel Data Plane Development Kit Accelerated Open vSwitch, and its Open Network Platform Server Reference Design that it claims will enable the IT and telecom industries to accelerate hardware and software development for software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV). Intel <a href="">said that</a> using standard x86 servers and programmable switches to deploy and manage virtualised networking infrastructure with software-defined networking will radically lower costs and enable telecom networks to deploy new services. "SDN and NFV are critical elements of Intel's vision to transform the expensive, complex networks of today to a virtualised, programmable, standards-based architecture running commercial off-the-shelf hardware," said Rose Schooler, vice president of Intel Architecture Group and general manager of Intel'sCommunications and Storage Infrastructure Group. en-us FREE PASSES to GSMA Mobile Asia Expo 2013 <a href="">GSMA Mobile Asia Expo 2013</a> "Following on the incredible success of the inaugural Mobile Asia Expo last year, we are putting forth a bigger and more exciting Expo in 2013. Mark your calendars now to join us 26-28 June 2013 in Shanghai, China, for Asia's best mobile industry event. <b>Theme for 2013: Connecting the Future</b> Mobile is connecting the world in a dramatic and breath-taking fashion. It bridges generations, builds communities, ignites ideas and tears down the barriers which separate us. Mobile Asia Expo will accelerate this effect by showcasing the mobile trends and solutions that will transform our lives today and tomorrow." <a href="">Join us in Connecting the Future!</a> <b>100 FREE PASSES</b> The GSMA is offering 100 free passes to entrants who register using the special code: SCOLLQJ929 Just click on <a href="">this link</a>, to register, and enter the code when prompted. en-us Backhaul is the problem! The issue of backhaul for small cells is not one of technology, which is the focus of the <a href="">Small Cell Forum whitepaper</a>. There are many different technologies available. This in itself is a problem, in my opinion, for the simple reason that confusion in the market slows down investment. Operators are confused as to which approach they should adopt. Anyone thinks that major investments will happen when there's market confusion? Moreover, the toolkit approach is not a simple one to adopt because it requires different processes which only increases the cost and complexity of small cell deployments. But the <b>real problem of small cell backhaul is that of cost</b>. To date, no solution has a clear cut advantage on cost basis. Sure, wireless solutions compare positively against a fiber business case especially in an area where subterranean fiber is mandated by law and municipalities block or delay trenching. Yet despite this advantage, fibre has incomparable capacity and once it's installed, it's there 'for good' and this opens the door for many other potential applications. Backhaul is a major expense in small cell networks. In a typical macrocell site, wireless backhaul amounts to about 10-20% of the costs. <b>In small cell deployments, the cost of backhaul can easily exceed 50% of the total</b> . For instance, consider what it takes to make a base station: a baseband engine or a processor, memory, RF devices, power modules, and mechanicals. Wireless backhaul solutions consist of similar components. Furthermore, with low power small cells, the cost of the radio subsystem, which is a major cost driver in high-power base stations, becomes comparable to that of the backhaul solution. Ditto for the form factor. <b>In all, there is not, as of yet, a technology breakthrough to allow a much lower cost point of backhaul for small cells than that for macrocells.</b> Looking at operational expenses, the cost problem does not get any easier. A major cost driver in small cell deployments that often gets overlooked is the pole attachment fee. Most often, this fee is charged on the basis of a mounted box or occupied distance on a pole, in which case the pole attachment fee applies equally the same to the small cell and the backhaul module. The financial case for integrating backhaul with the small cell is very strong, although this option is not without its own downside. Moreover, it's arguably more expensive to plan, deploy, and maintain backhaul solutions on poles and building sidewalls than it is to plan, deploy, and maintain the small cells themselves. This is a natural byproduct of the fact that small cells in their majority have omni-directional service pattern while backhaul systems (of all types including NLOS, LOS, PMP, PTP) have directional antennas that require pointing and orientation. The operator needs to ensure that the backhaul module collocated with the small cell remains in alignment with its serving hub during the entire operational lifetime of the site. <b>This means higher installation, support, and maintenance for backhaul.</b> en-us Small cell backhaul costs are a problem, says Frank Rayal (Image from O2: Exhibition Road, London) Wireline to dominate metrocell backhaul spending, as wireless vendors fight it out Esteband Monturus, author of a new report from Maravedis-Rethink - <a href="">Wireless Backhaul From an Intermodal Perspective</a> - has said that investment in metrocell backhaul will be dominated by fixed line technologies. As converged service providers look to monetise their deployed fibre and cable networks, it will be these technologies that will make up the bulk of metrocell backhaul investments, the analyst said. That said, investment in wireless backhaul solutions will also increase, as the overall market rises. Indeed, the increase in metrocell backhaul investment will "more than compensate" for a predicted decline in macrocell backhaul investment from 2017, according to Maravedis-Rethink. The two biggest beneficiaries of wireless backhaul for the metrocell space will be Point to Multipoint (PmP) and millimeter wave radio solutions, Monturus said. "Millimeter wave and PmP microwave technologies, which served niche markets in the past, will reap 57% and 22% of the total wireless metrocell backhaul revenue in the 2013-2018 timeframe, while the NLOS backhaul market will be the smallest segment," said Monturus. That could mean an opportunity from start-up and emerging PmP players such as <a href="">Cambridge Broadband Networks</a> and <a href="">BluWan</a>, or from a clutch of small cell-focussed vendors of millimeter wave radios, such as <a href="">Bridgewave</a>, <a href="">Siklu</a> and <a href="">Sub10 Systems</a>. <a href="">Ericsson</a> has a range of technologies within its toolkit, too, and has publicly announced products at both 60Ghz (MiniLink PT3060) and E-Band (PT6020). Its recent work in establishing a use case for <a href="">NLOS at higher frequencies</a> further emphasise that it will not only be start-ups that seek to address the small cell/ metrocell backhaul space. However, at least some of these challenger vendors are likely to find their route to market through arrangements with the traditional NEPs - either through sales partnerships, technical integration or full scale acquisition. Alcatel-Lucent, for example, has partnership arrangements with vendor suppliers such as Sub10 Systems as part of its integrated service approach to metrocell deployments. NSN sold off its microwave products business to <a href="">Dragonwave</a>, and now acts as a partner with DragonWave, with DragonWave seeking to exploit that relationship to gain traction for its Avenue products. en-us Liberator V1000 Gigabit PtP links from Sub10 Systems Quortus adds LTE support to edge core software <a href="">Quortus</a> has added LTE EPC support to its SoftCore software mobile core product. SoftCore, as its name suggests, is a software iteration of core network functionality. Quortus' pitch is that whereas operators previously looking to augment their core networks would have to use proprietary hardware they can now opt to load Quortus' technology on to commodity hardware without negatively impacting performance. Potential use cases for this include Tier 2 operators and the possibility of a hosted core model for smaller operators and MVNOs. However, the deployment of core network functionality at the edge of networks may also support metrocell and small cell rollouts By keeping a lot of the decision making and signal flows away from centralised core elements, backhaul costs can be lowered and signalling flows can be reduced, as cell handover, traffic signalling and circuit switch fall back requests can be managed at the edge instead of traversing to the core. There's also a services element to this edge based intelligence. Core functionality could be used to provide enterprise services such as mobile PBX-type serivces, as well as supporting h caching of applications that benefit from localised information - such as mapping. "With LTE deployments gathering pace, data volumes are set to ramp up and place significant strain on the mobile network core," said Andy Odgers, CEO Quortus. "The answer lies in creating an altogether smarter network with distributed core intelligence rather than centralised in the traditional core. SoftCore solves this problem by putting full core functionality in a compact software application that allows core network deployments to be done anywhere at a fraction of the cost." SoftCore's Evolved Packet Core includes the Mobility Management Entity (for eNodeB mobility control), the Home Subscriber Server (for local user management) and the Packet Gateway (through which IP packet data is placed directly on to the LAN/WAN). en-us Birdstep to launch ANDSF and data analytics products at CTIA WiFi watchers will be interested to know that <a href="">Birdstep</a> is officially launching an ANDSF (Access Network Discovery and Selection Function) solution at CTIA Wireless on 21 May. The EasyANDSF Policy Server solution is already in trials with "a leading North Amerian operator" according to Birdstep. Although Birdstep didn't name the operator in question, in June 2012 Birdstep announced that it was providing is device connection software - EasySmart - to Sprint to provide traffic management for the operator. The company will also launch EasyAnalytics at CTIA, a solution that will allow operators to analyse data flows and usage across WiFi and cellular access, and modify subscriber policy in the EasyANDSF policy server based on changing conditions of the network or usage characteristics. That would enable oprators to provide a "differentiated offload" capability, the operator said. The company is on something of a roll on the back of its Sprint deal with Q1 revenues rising to more than 53% of 2012 levels. The commercial rollout of Sprint's data offload project with EasySmart resulted in Birdstep's highest activation rate per quarter to date, the company said. (Phase two of this project is now approved and commercially deployed.) Q1 revenues rose to more than 53% of 2012 levels. Birdstep focuses on four areas; intelligent data onload and offload between cellu&#8208;lar and Wi&#8208;Fi, intelligent marketing capabilities, secure mobile communications and smart data analytics. It said that operators, especially in Europe, becoming increasingly interested in how they can ensure an optimal customer experience oce data has been offloaded. "Our aim now is to help operators strike the optimum balance between data delivery costs and the customer experience. They will achieve this by making decisions about which applications and services they keep on the cellular network and which to offload to their Wi&#8208;Fi network," the company said. Although it's been codified for a while, ANDSF made something of a mark at MWC 2013, with <a href="">demonstrations of VoLTE/Voice over WiFi handover</a> from Telefonica enabled by an Ericsson ANDSF server, and of "policy on the device" capabilities from <a href="">Tekelec</a>. en-us Small Cells World Summit <b> London, June 4th & 6th</b> The <a href="">Small Cells World Summit</a> is the largest small cells event in the telecoms industry with over 40+ exhibitors and 550 delegates bringing the entire small cell ecosystem together under one roof. Discussion will focus on the latest deployment news and technical advancements in small cells, and the implications of LTE and data-hungry users on modern wireless networks. The programme includes leading operator case studies, from residential and enterprise deployments, to the role of small cells in large and medium-sized enterprises, making <a href="">SCWS</a> the ultimate meeting point for executives and engineers around the globe. PLUS new for this year, the event is co-located with the Small Cell Backhaul Summit, providing the full picture of what backhaul solutions are available to deploy. SCWS is run by Avren Events, in exclusive partnership with the Small Cell Forum. en-us LTE World Summit <a href="">LTE WOrld Summit</a> will address key issues in the market-place including Service Innovation, LTE Roaming & The event will cover Spectrum Management, Small Cells & HetNets, Handling the Mobile Data Explosion, Mobile Backhaul, Monetising LTE, Voice & Device Developments, LTE-Advanced & the Future of LTE and Network Optimisation. Bringing together over 3,000 attendees, 125 exhibitors and 250 speakers, LTE World Summit 2013 is THE place to gain first-hand information about what's going on in the global LTE market and establish strong links in the industry. <a href="">Find out more.</a> en-us Yota CTO to speak on real world LTE experience <a href="">Register for webinar</a> Yurganov will share his views on the technical and commercial aspects of Yota's business and how an operator can differentiate its model by taking the lead in the latest technologies. He will focus on Yota's practical experiences in testing and deploying new features in a commercial LTE network, and how these will impact on the cellco's key differentiator, quality of experience. Topics will include new LTE capabilities such as HetNet, LTE-Advanced and eMBMS. In focusing on quality of service, important areas will include video optimization, congestion management and voice over LTE. These insights will be complemented by key findings from Maravedis-Rethink's MOSA (Mobile Operator Strategy Analysis) team. The service tracks the top 100 4G operator's wireless infrastructure strategies. In the webinar, Research Director Caroline Gabriel will share selected highlights of the June Quarterly Report, which will include exclusive data in areas such as LTE-Advanced deployments and HetNet roll-outs worldwide. Other topics to discuss will include: - Carrier investment plans to 2018, including small cells, distributed RAN and backhaul - The new core and backhaul architectures for mobile broadband - Key developments in LTE spectrum <a href="">Register for webinar</a> en-us Metaswitch puts open source IMS core in the cloud, says let's get this NFV thing started already <a href="">Metaswitch Networks</a> announced this week that it was open sourcing its core IMS code, to enable operators and others to build and deliver cloud-based voice and data applications more efficiently and at massive scale. The open source initiative, named <a href="">Project Clearwater</a>, is designed to enable the core functions of an IMS to run in a cloud environment. Phil Harvey, Director of Corporate Communications at Metaswitch, said that the fact that Clearwater is designed for the cloud is its most distinctive aspect. "The open source part is to an extent the secondary headline. The real interesting thing is that this is about designing from the ground up to get IMS core functionality into the cloud. Once you really think in that way you can realise the sorts of economics which are not possible using proprietary hardware. When you add in open source licensing that becomes an even more compelling offer," Harvey said. "Clearwater creates a massively scaleable IMS environment and you can only do that in the cloud. If we take the IMS core and use the same architecture as before we'd be missing the point. Telcos used to have the highest scale systems in the world and now Google and Amazon and Facebook do. So what we wanted to do was emulate their philosophical approach to programming, APIs and experimenting with code. And another component that's interesting is the idea that instead of reinventing everything you're doing, reuse as much code as possible. Our team looked at all different open source code out there and incorporated something like 50+ different pieces of sofware into Project Clearwater." Clearwater is not a complete service environment - it is an IMS core, providing SIP-based call control for voice and video communications and for SIP-based messaging applications. When deployed as an IMS core, Metaswitch said that Clearwater incorporates Proxy CSCF (Call Session Control Function), Interrogating CSCF and Serving CSCF, together with Breakout Gateway Control Function. It also includes a WebRTC gateway, and natively supports interworking between WebRTC clients and standard SIP-based clients, using SIP over WebSocket signaling. To build services and applications, operators could deploy Clearwater as an IMS core in conjunction with other elements such as Media Resource Functions, Media Relays, as well as other service resources such as more advanced Telephony Application Servers. "For us, we have made something where the economics works for carriers by taking the cost of deployment way down. But it requires some amount of effort to deploy - it's not a completely packaged product. As an open source product carriers will need to take development in hand and tune it to their network. But the whole process is closer to where they need to be to offer IMS based services than if they are going down other routes. "One thing I do want to make clear is that this is an alternative, not a replacement. We're not trying to go in and have people ripping out their IMS core and replacing it. But for carriers and non-carriers that have thought about things like VoLTE, hosted business services, class 5 switch replacement, IMS has been a stumbling block in the way of those services." en-us NSN adds features to its iSON software suite Nokia Siemens Networks has announced some additions to its iSON network optimisation suite. The company has added: <b>Automated WCDMA Site Creation</b> content pack, extending the LTE version launched in February 2013. The content pack gives operators visibility of the automated configuration of 3G sites, with regular status updates for engineering personnel. NSN said that means that the time needed for base station configuration can be reduced from hours to minutes. <b>Mobility Management for LTE</b> content pack, providing support for configuration and follow-up of SON operations related to LTE mobility management through a single interface. The new content pack reduces the set-up time for SON operational processes from 30 minutes to 5 minutes, NSN says. <b>Element Outage Resolution</b> content pack to control the automatic resolution of network failures in LTE, WCDMA and GSM networks. The self-healing capability detects base station outages and dormant cells and triggers common resolutions, such as restarting an element to re-establish connections. "Automation is important to simplify network operations, and these extended functions now make the deployment and use of automation easier than ever. The enhancements give operators visibility on the impact of automated processes on network performance - and provide clear evidence that all network changes are working as expected," said Peter Patomella, head of the operations support systems (OSS) business, Nokia Siemens Networks. <a href=" ">Read more on industry approaches to SON</a> en-us Operators could achieve huge net energy consumption reduction by 2020 The <a href="">GreenTouch</a> consortium of over 50 companies from across the mobile network ecosystem was formed three years with the ambitious goal of achieving a one thousand times increase in communications networks energy efficiency. In an update release today, the group has claimed that its research has shown that net energy consumption can be reduced by 90% by 2020, while still taking into account traffic growth. Members of the group have been investigating mobile technologies such as small cell deployment, infrastructure sharing, discontinuous transmission (during periods without traffic). In the core network the focus has been on dynamic allocation of resources according to traffic fluctuations, and there has also been work on power models for hardware and network equipment. In wireline networks <a href="">Bit interleaved passive optical networking</a> (Bi-PON) was highlighted. Overall, GreenTouch said mobile access networks could benefit from a 1043x improvement in energy efficiency (the total traffic delivered to a user divided by total energy per user), wireline access by 449x improvement and core networks from a 95x improvement. Future releases from GreenTouch will move onto assessing the energy efficiency potential of mass small cell deployments, smart algorithms for turning small cells on and off, separation of control and data planes and <a href="">large scale antenna systems</a>. In the core, further gains could be made through optimised content placement and caching. Demonstrations of these key technologies have already taken place, or are expected to take place in 2014 and 2015, Thierry E. Klein, Chairman, Technical Committee of GreenTouch, said. en-us The network meets IT at Management World in Nice Here, in no particular order of priority is what we have so far: <b>Tekelec:</b> Tekelec has added a new rules engine to its <a href="">Policy Server (PCRF)</a>. Enhancements include: Dynamic quotas. The Policy Server's new rules engine allots dynamic quotas, which provide more flexibility within subscribers' existing plans. Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services. By allocating bandwidth based on the devices requesting it, operators can zero-rate voice traffic over LTE networks, manage voice sessions on IMS networks and implement quality of service controls for VoLTE calls. Wi-Fi services. The Policy Server recognises when devices are on Wi-Fi networks, which allows operators to differentiate charging of services based on network access type. Analytics. The system feeds records of certain policy actions to enterprise analytics solutions to uncover network knowledge such locations of congestion and rogue applications. "Service providers are entering an era of new opportunities to transform the delivery of mobile data services and partner with advertisers, businesses and Wi-Fi network providers," said Houck Reed, vice president of product management and marketing at Tekelec. "Tekelec's Policy Server provides the underlying technology to usher in new flexible offers and partnerships, and give service providers ThinkingNetworks that align network resources with subscriber needs and revenue drivers." <a href="">READ FULL RELEASE</a> <b>Empirix</b> <a href=""> Empirix announced</a> Empirix Roaming and Inter-carrier Assurance Analytics, solutions that combine service assurance and network analytics to provide performance and business intelligence insights on inter-carrier traffic. Empirix said that with Intercarrier traffic playing an increasingly critical role in network operation, mobile network operators need to know that outbound roamers being steered to specific networks are receiving the quality being requested. Additionally, carriers need to ensure a quality experience for inbound roamers, especially those from high-volume partners. "Gaining visibility into roaming and call routing across multiple networks and environments can be difficult," said Franco Messori, Chief Strategy Officer of Empirix. "With Empirix Roaming and Inter-carrier Assurance Analytics, operators benefit from new insight into quality as they pass calls, data and roamers to partner networks to assure performance and capitalise on new revenue opportunities." The solutions include features such as Roaming Analytics, Inter-carrier Performance Analysis, Predictive Analytics, Data Collection, Correlation & Mediation en-us Carrier WiFi gets added support from Ericsson, Birdstep and NSN Ericsson has announced enhancements to its WiFi controllers, adding 3GPP standards that will enable mobile operators to manage policy-based services out to devices connected to WiFi access points. The company is <a href="">launching a Wi-Fi controller blade</a> for its Evo Controller. The WIC 8100 controller supports up to 10,000 access points and 500,000 concurrent subscribers, Ericsson said, allowing operators to consolidate multiple Wi-Fi networks from a centralised location. The product supports industry standard features including: Access Network Discovery and Selection Function (ANDSF), IP session mobility (also referred to as IP address preservation) and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint (based on the Wi-Fi Alliance Hotspot 2.0 Specification). Ericsson said that by combining features such as ANDSF with its own SON technology and network load balancing, it has introduced <b>"real-time traffic steering"</b>, allowing operators to determine network conditions and connect the user to the best connection. Connectivity management provider <a href="">BirdStep</a is another company to have <a href=""> recently announced ANDSF-based products</a>, including advanced analytics support to feed operator decision making and policy. en-us Smart Data: Uniting Wi-Fi With 4G To Create Revenue Mobile service providers will increasingly seek to combine Wi-Fi and 4G cellular networks to optimise their customer's experience, to minimise infrastructure costs and to enable new services and sources of revenue. In order to do so, however, they need to have real-time visibility over of network and device conditions, together with intelligent analytics that can be used for "vertical" departmental applications such as marketing, customer support and service planning. At <a href="">Birdstep</a> we have developed two products, <b>SmartANDSF</b> and <b>EasyAnalytics</b>, which meet these objectives. Together they optimise routing of data between Wi-Fi and cellular to suit a range of business and policy objectives, including response to congestion over the 4G network, right down to tuning a specific application for a single customer. As well as being able to report and respond to each individual customer's quality of service, we also enable content level decisions to be made in real-time; for example to trigger ads or a promotion and in turn to create a new revenue stream. SmartANDSF is built around the 3GPP's ANDSF (Access Network Discovery and Selection Function), a standard of fast-growing importance for heterogeneous network operation that enables 4G client devices to locate Wi-Fi or other non-cellular access networks. Combined with SIM-based authentication technologies, ANDSF is a key ingredient for creating large-scale heterogeneous networks. en-us Nokia Siemens Networks and Intel get edgy on intelligence Nokia Siemens Networks and Intel have put their names to an MoU on a set of common objectives around the development of NSN's Liquid Applications. They have also confirmed that NSN's Radio Applications Cloud Server uses Intel's Cloud Forest platform. Liquid Applications is NSN's name for the delivery of applications and content directly from the base station. In NSN's case, this vision is built upon its Radio Applications Cloud Server (RACS) - a server placed at or alongside the base station to carry out local processing and delivery of apps. RACS integrates Intel's Crystal Forest, its platform developed for the communications infrastructure market powered by Xeon processors. TMN <a href="">noted at the time that Liquid Applications was a good fit</a> for Intel's ambitions in the service provider communications space. This collaboration is confirmation of that alignment, and says the two companies will work together to "explore new business models" for operators and partners. As TMN also noted at the time of the Liquid Apps announcement, leading operators through this process is likely to be critical. Identifying apps that would benefit from that local element will be one aspect, as will determining how all parties benefit. <b>A joint statement from NSN and Intel said:</b> "Nokia Siemens Networks and Intel will collaborate in the creation of a mobile edge computing ecosystem, focusing on over-the-top (OTT) content providers, independent software vendors (ISV) and application service providers (ASP). The parties will also explore new business models between mobile operators and other ecosystem players, facilitating engagements with the purpose of delivering a superior and profitable customer experience." "Nokia Siemens Networks and Intel are working closely together to merge key IT advancements and telecommunication applications in a way that yields a state-of-the-art mobile edge computing solution. The RACS includes Intel architecture that is widely used by application service providers and enterprise cloud implementations globally," said Steve Price, general manager of Intel's Communications Infrastructure Division. "Operators can now extend the applications and services cloud all the way out to the base station and thus offer an enhanced and unmatched mobile broadband experience." en-us Ranjic Suri launches Liquid Apps at MWC2013 LTE-A and Small Cell Deployment Strategies <a href="">Download "LTE-A and Small Cell Deployment Strategies".</a> The Mobile Network has teamed up with Radisys to produce a series of eBooks. Each will be available to download, for free, here at TMN. The first in the series, <i> <b>LTE-A and Small Cell Deployment Strategies</b> </i> features an in-depth, expert article on how operators can phase deployment in LTE-A and a bespoke infographic illustrating the market development of small cells and LTE-A. If you want to understand the relationship between LTE-A and small cells, and how LTE-A features enable the het net, then this eBook is a great place to start. <a href="">Download "LTE-A and Small Cell Deployment Strategies".</a> en-us Sample of infographic from LTE-A and Small Cell Deployment Strategies Ericsson's Mobility Report: why network performance matters, and how to measure it In amongst a lot of detail <a href="">lot of detail</a> the company highlighted its <b>Apps Coverage</b> concept. Essentially this looks at network performance not in terms of geographic coverage but in terms of how many sessions achieved performance that was sufficient to support certain apps. Presenting the <a href="">June 2013 data</a> the company presented network performance in terms of the applications that you can carry out with that level of performance: so with 100kps at cell edge you can send texts and make voice calls, at 1Mbps in the mid-cell you are in browsing, IM and audio steaming in terms of your app coverage, and at 10Mbps close to the site your App Coverage is full video streaming. Ericsson's contention, by aggregating together a huge number of speed tests from Ookla, is that at the moment 78% of Ookla's Speedtest measurements in the USA and Western Europe showed downlink speeds in the mid-tier of App Coverage. European users were seeing 17% high level app coverage, and US users 31%. That means there is still quite poor coverage in terms of support for apps requiring higher bandwidths. Patrick Cerwall, Head of Strategic Marketing and Intelligence, Networks, Ericsson, said that thinking about network performance in terms of app coverage could enable operators to plan networks in a way that takes account of all the factors that could account for performance, including backhaul, content networks and core capabilities. In fact, if you take the cell edge issue that Ericsson used to demonstrate its conceptual view of app coverage, this is one of the issues being addressed within LTE-Advanced developments. Solutions such as relay nodes and the greater co-ordination of small cells within feeder macro cells are intended to smooth out the peaks and troughs of performance within a macro cell. That could mean that operators could achieve a greater "Apps Coverage" without necessarily visibily extending their geographic coverage. Another aspect worth considering is Ericssons <b>Minutes of Network Use</b> measure. Although Ericsson was not shy in bringing to readers' attention the dominance of video in traffic volume terms, it also highlighted the fact that certain apps consume more of a network's signalling resources by being very chatty in signalling. en-us Virgin Media Business names vendors in small cell backhaul trial The trial is taking place in Leeds, where VMB has a concession from the council for access to street poles to provide mobile broadband and WiFi access. The companies providing equipment for the trial are <a href="">Intracom</a> and <a href="">CCS</a> , <a href="">Siklu</a> and <a href="">Sub10 Systems</a> . Kevin Baughan, Director of Wireless, Virgin Media Business, said that the trial is not about vendor selection but is instead intended to test and prove microwave and millimetre wave architectures for small cell backhaul. "We have two millimetre wave and two microwave vendors. We want to validate the architecture to push the whole industry forward," he said. VMB did something similar last year when it trialed small cell outdoor systems at 2.6GHz, even though it had no intention of operating its own equipment in licensed spectrum. The cable operator's aim is to act as a host of infrastructure upon which operators will build small cell networks. It will provide its fibre on a wholesale basis as backhaul to the operators' core networks, if required, as well as grant access to the poles and locations for which it owns rights. So how would a shared small cell infrastructure work? Baughan said that operators would do their own radio and cell planning, as well as planning their own "mesh" or node-to-node backhaul. Then operators would request the best fit locations from VMB and come up with the most optimal locations. When it comes to choosing access points, and the cell backhaul technology and vendors, that will be a decision for the operators themselves. en-us Small Cells World Summit round-up This week Avren Events' Small Cells World Summit, held in association with the Small Cell Forum, confirmed a growing maturity in the market with attendance up 50% and a steady flow of senior networks personnel from operators across the USA, Europe and Asia Pacific, in particular. In fact, the word summit is probably a misnomer, as this market is nowhere near its peak. A few companies also took the opportunity to launch small cell specific products or announce partnerships. Here's a few stories from the event. <b>Qualcomm</b>: <a href="">Qualcomm Atheros</a> announced its lowest power small chip, the 28nm FSM99xx. Based on technology brought in a year ago with its acquisition of DesignArt, the chipset allows WiFi to be attached as a peripheral to the chip, and integrates Qualcomm's SON technology. An interesting quote from Stuart Strickland, Director, Product Strategy Networking Business Unit, Qualcomm Atheros, to me was his line, "Not many people in Qualcomm get out of bed for a 100,000 unit sale". What Strickland was saying was that although outdoor small cell deployments are beginning to have some large numbers put against them, for Qualcomm, markets need to be in the millions to get the economics to work. "The margins are interesting but not part of our overall growth model. We're talking about millions rather than tens of thousands." That is why the company is pushing its Neighbourhood Small Cell idea, which is a concept of residential femtocells that are also public access, as with FON WiFi hotspots for instance. A residential market offers much greater volume. Another interesting point was the Strickland felt that operators are less concerned about SON for public access small cells than they are interference management with the macro network. Another interesting quote: some of the technologies Qualcomm integrates, like SON, can be seen as a way of "priming the pump" rather than integral to Qualcomm's future. "Even now there is tension between UltraSON and what the partners of our customers want to develop," Strickland said, meaning that Qualcomm's customers' customers have their own SON developments ongoing. "In the end we are a silicon and IP licensing company. So the other things we offer allows us to be an enabler of that core business." <b>Cisco:</b> Cisco's message is that with WiFi and licensed spectrum small cells, centralised SON from Intucell and Policy smarts from BroadHop, as long as subscriber gateways from Cariden, it has a wrap-around package for small cell deployments. The company announced that it had integrated Ubiquisys' small cells into its access point portfolio, giving the products the name Universal Small Cells. "When we looked at overall what needed to be done in the small cells space, our sense was that in order to stitch together an end-to-end solution, including the ability to provide apps and services, we needed some heavy lifting," Partho Mishra, VP and GM, Small Cell Technology Group, Cisco, told the Conference. Additionally, the company announced it was forming a <a href="">small cells backhaul partnership</a> with a clutch of providers across different backhaul technologies. Cisco is working with Blinq, Fastback, Radwin, Dragonwave, NEC, and Siklu. Mishra said, "The idea is that with we are providing an interoperable end-to-end solution from an architecture standpoint addressing not just interoperability but problems of link management and optimisation. Working with these companies we've developed a lot of network management capabilities to deal with problems." Mishra introduced the term Universal MPLS Network Management to explain the thinking behind the vendor's backhaul partnership programme. <b>Altobridge</b> TMN readers will know this company's software enables byte-level caching at the network edge. An Intel partner, Altobridge this year was demonstrating caching on the mobile device itself, using the Motorola Razr I - one of the few smartphones based on an Intel platform. The company, which also enables caching in the core and at the base station called the tiered caching approach <a href="">Hierarchical Network Caching</a>. You will be familiar with the concept of a desktop device caching content. Until now, CTO Richard Lord, said, nobody has attempted this on a mobile, although he thinks they should be - users often return to and access the same content, he claimed. TMN was shown a demo where the phone downloaded a PDF from a website over the air. Subsequent hits on the website download button "delivered" the PDF from a cache in the phone, with trace data showing that the data downloaded over the air was virtually eliminated. The application, for Altobridge, could be very user friendly in reducing data usage - keeping a user within volume limits. Operators see a reduction in delivery of that content across their network. Does it require a great amount of on-device storage? Altobridge has its software set up to store a certain number of records which are progressively deleted once they fall out of use or out of data. What's the small cell link? Well, with small cells sited in areas of high demand, and with backhaul optimisation a key consideration, a smarter approach to content delivery could help with the economics of small cell deployments. en-us EE says Vodafone complacent on LTE rollout EE's Director of RAN Development, Hanif Mansoor, has accused Vodafone and O2 of being perceived as "arrogant" by network services suppliers, and has cast doubt on how the operators' network sharing operation Project Beacon is working out. He also said that top level management at Vodafone appeared to have been "complacent" about how easy an LTE roll out would be. Hanif's comments perhaps stemmed from a grievance that Vodafone has not portrayed EE's own rollout in the best light, with CEO Vittorio Colao reported to have claimed during the company's results briefing on 21 May 2013 that Vodafone's LTE at 800Mhz would be "true LTE". "One thing I would comment on, is that they have been a bit unfair on us. It seemed to me they were so confident that their's would be "true LTE", and their's would have better indoor, which I found very strange because for me that's a little bit of complacency if they think that's all it takes. "Maybe because we went so fast, maybe people at a high level misunderstood that it was easy. I think that <a href="">the recent injection of capital</a> and resetting of plans means that they've somehow misjudged, because we didn't shift any of our plans, ever. That's what I find strange, they say 'true LTE', for me what I call LTE is the one you can touch, feel and buy in the shop. It's no good saying the future's going to be true when you can't even buy it. I'd be embarrassed saying what I haven't launched is 'true' and what someone else has launched isn't true.' Colao's comments were in part explained by Vodafone's 2x10MHz holdings at 800MHz, something that the operator thinks will allow it to develop better and more widespread indoor coverage. But Hanif disputed that an operator with 2x10Mhz would have a significant advantage over one with 2x5MHz, as EE has. "I think it's not a handicap at all, we always made it clear to our bosses that 2x5MHz is enough, because you need that to get indoor in remote areas, and if you need a long reach in outlying areas then it's useful. 5MHz or 10MHz - it's not going to give you an advantage because that doesn't give you much bandwidth. In those [remote] areas you're going to be more limited by transmission than anything else," Hanif said. en-us New issue of TMN Quarterly The inventively titled <a href=""><b>Issue 2</b></a>, so-named because it is the second issue of <b>TMN Quarterly</b> of 2013, contains market features and infographics on <b>Small Cells</b>, as well as features on <b>Network Test Disruption</b>, <b>Network Sharing</b>, <b>Brazil</b> and Kuwaiti and regional operator <b>Zain</b>. The print issue of <a href=""><b>Issue 2</b></a> also contained a special fold-out section called <a href="">Mapping the Small Cells Network</a>. We've extracted that as a stand-alone section, for your viewing pleasure. If you fancy receiving real-life, print copies of these wonderful-looking pages, then <a href="">please register to do so</a>. Issue 3 will be released in September, and Issue 4 in early December. If you would like to find out more about these upcoming issues, please <a href="">get in touch</a>. We're open to good feature ideas, and had great fun compiling our maps and infographics as well, so let us know if there's anything you'd like to see us tackle on that front. en-us What exactly is Carrier Grade WiFi? In the short time I spent at the <a href="">WiFi Global Congress</a> in London this week, one of the clear messages was that what we call Carrier Wifi is about a lot more than mobile data offload. Yes, there are some advantages in "moving" data off the cellular network in certain locations, at certain types of day, for certain types of traffic. But the more important point operators were keen to make, both on and off stage, is that giving customers access to "Carrier WiFi" is much more about having a strategic services platform than it is merely shifting data packets at less cost. So... "strategic services platform" sounds like a piece of meaningless business speak, but what it means is using WiFi location and customer analytics to do some of the following: deliver ads, deliver marketing offers, interact with customers, optimise a shopping mall layout, deliver managed WAN services, expose your [operator] brand. O2's WiFI boss Gavin Franks called this a B2B2C model, or BSquaredC, using the power of two brands (the retailer and the operator) around a customer, so that retail and business customers of an operator can use analytics and customer data to provide offers, or target their own products better. O2 also sees WiFi as a good way to get its brand out in front of non-O2 customers, and to use the WiFi zone as a way to introduce services such as O2 Wallet and Priority Moments. With only 50% of users of O2 WiFi being O2 customers, you can see the logic. Cisco's Partho Mishra spoke of the analytics capabilities his company can bring to support a move from WiFi as cost reduction to WiFi as revenue generator. An example: Hyper-local services tied to an awareness of the customer context. Boingo Wireless is one WiFi service provider that is providing such analytics - powered by its acquisition last year of Cloud Nine - to its venue owners, according to its VP of Corporate Communications, Christian Gunning. The question is, then, if Carrier WiFi is strategically important (ie. operators are going to rely on it for significant brand and revenue extension), and it looks like it's going to be, then will it be important to work out how Carrier WiFi differs from normal WiFi - so that operators have some assurance around that strategy.? One thing to think about in terms of what makes WiFi "Carrier WiF" is control - both of quality but also of the service experience. If Operator X is going to put its name to a WiFi zone, then it wants control over how a user authenticates to that WiFi zone. If a user is an existing customer with SIM in their device, it may be that the operator is happy for that user to be automatically authenticated and go straight through to the service. For non-customers, or for people with tablets or laptops with no SIM, there may be a splash landing page that is designed to promote a retail partner or similar. But Franks said that if a customer is using an app rather than a browser, O2 makes sure the session goes through without steering the customer to a landing page. In any event, authentication may not be "seamless" or automatic, but the terms are set by the carrier with its brand on that hotspot. The second area of control that a carrier will seek to have is over quality - simply put speed to service and speed of service (throughput). Here, the parameters might about the capability and capacity of the access point itself, that access point's configuration within a wider network (interference management), or backhaul provision, but also elements such as not accepting users when a site is loaded, or conducting some element of traffic control or management. One thing that is of note is that all of the carrier/operator speakers at the event talked of their preference to have this control. O2 said that it decided to bring things in-house after a year or two of less than satisfactory experiences using the wholesale model. Virgin Media said one reason they are not going down the open/double SSID route, like a BTFon, is that it wants to have control of the environment around its WiFi zones. The Cloud, which is part of bSkyB and has that company as its biggest, albeit internal, wholesale customer, said that the importance of controlling the user experience that would support Sky's mobile apps and Sky Go was one of the reasons it has invested in a high quality network, and has indeed spent the last couple of years upping the quality of the network. All of these operators prefer to have that element of control. In the City of London, for example, where The Cloud has the franchise to supply a WiFi zone and can have 200 people requesting access to an access point at one time, one of its metrics is that it will not let a user authenticate onto an access point unless that user will receive a service level three times better than the existing cellular service. "One of the ways to ensure a good user experience is to stop people having a bad one in the first place," the service provider's Sam Sisiaho, head of Edge Technologies, told the conference. But this begs a question: does carrier grade WiFi actually mean 3x better than carrier grade cellular? <b>Definitions</b> The Wireless Broadband Alliance is actually taking the business of delineating Carrier WiFi head on, by trying to produce a definition. Ton Brand, Senior Director of Marketing and Industry Development, said that in general, with public WiFi still being mostly "best effort", the WBA is going to define for operators what carrier grade WiFi is made up of. That could include elements such as how or whether to integrate policy control, location based services, or "most importantly" the QoS requirements that operators have. At the end of that the definitions would be passed on to the WiFi Alliance (essentially the vendors) and 3GPP (standards) to do a "gap analysis" on its definition. "We need to get to grip with what we think carrier grade WiFi is," Brand said. It won't be quick, though, with Brand saying the definition will be at least six months in the making, and forming "a very large part of the work of the WBA in the second part of 2013". Finally, it's worth remembering that not all carriers are alike, meaning that they will likely carry with them different expectations, and therefore definitions, of carrier WiFi. Boingo Wireless' Christian Gunning told me that among Boingo's customers there are spectrum-limited smaller carriers using it for cost mitigation and congestion management, and there are others (AT&T) looking for an international roaming partner that can mirror the service experience their outbound customers are used to in their domestic market. en-us Backhaul vendors target cost and performance management Two companies have made launches today aimed at enabling service providers to achieve better performance control in their mobile backhaul networks. <a href="">Accedian Networks</a> is unveiling its SDN and SON-friendly "SkyLIGHT" performance assurance architecture. The aim of SkyLIGHT is to enable the more dynamic and flexible assurance and optimisation of links across the mobile backhaul network. SkyLIGHT sees Accedian introduce a new API capability it is calling Network State+, that will deliver data (collected by its Performance Assurance platform from software agents and aggregation-layer nodes) up into SDN controllers and SON engines. Patrick Ostiguy, CEO, said that the aim of SkyLIGHT is to create an architecture that will allow for the real time optimisation of backhaul networks that serve multi-vendor heterogeneous networks across a variety of physical access types. Currently, Ostiguy said, elements such as RNCs and MSCs that are responsible for controlling services down to the access layer are trying to "cascade" services through a variety of links, all with different quality characteristics. That can mean, in effect, poor visibility into the performance conditions across the network, leaving links either underutilised or congested. "What we are proposing is to say: what if the actual router now has visibility of the performance of the backhaul that is in front of it, in real time, before trying to send traffic downstream, and in real time modulate and shape that traffic to fit these varying types as they modulate over time. That would create the ability to fill pipes better, run them hot, and make much more out of the current wireless backhaul infrastructure." "What we are doing is, in a standards-based fashion, extending ownership of performance assurance to multi vendor base stations within a solution architecture." Ostiguy said the SkyLIGHT architecture is built on three elements 1. A software agent in the access point, that could be a miniature or virtual agent, that "instruments" the network, providing real time performance data. 2. A performance assurance node, typically sitting at the "head end", the RNC or MSC, that collects the aggregated data collected by the miniature modules. 3. A software platform that acts as a bridge to higher layer SON and SDN controllers, tooled with Accedian's Network State+ API. Ostiguy added, "We're seeing operators deploy SON for their multi-vendor access networks and we're sure they'd like to do this for backhaul, which often sits in the same box as the access point. In terms of managing RF budgets, backhaul link budgets, interference and so forth and it's totally important for them to apply that same thing to backhaul - hence the concept of Mobile Backhaul SON. "Backhaul SON for us is something that needs to have that Network State+ level of information: very accurate one way latency, jitter, packet loss, bandwidth availability, packet reordering. It's a much richer set of transport layer metrics that are not currently available in vanilla SDN types of implementations." Ostiguy said SkyLIGHT would also enable and benefit from the move to virtualise network functions - particularly of network management applications. "Operators are tired of buying a different appliance for every EMS and OSS they deploy and the virtualisation of these network management applications means this conversion happening from two sides and meeting in the middle, and that's where we are aiming to work with SkyLIGHT." <b>Telco Systems</b> <a href="">Telco Systems</a> is also advancing its presence in the mobile backhaul space with the announcement of a 10 Gigabit Ethernet product for aggregation layer of mobile network. The company has today announced the T-Metro 8001 10GE MPLS/Ethernet switch. Irit Gillath, VP Product Line Management, of Telco Systems said that the 20 port unit offers twice the capacity (200GE) in a device a third of the size of any competitive product, at 50% less power consumption. The device offers license free (meaning operators can choose and deploy as preferred) MPLS/Ethernet in a 1RU chassis. en-us Accedian Networks' SkyLIGHT architecture First 15: your round up of the week's mobile network news <b>LTE: "HELL WITHOUT IT"</b> 1. Ericsson: there were two bits of LTE contract news from the big E. The first a release celebrating its selection by MTS to supply LTE gear in the Siberian, Ural, Volga, and Southern Federal Districts of Russia. That all adds up to a 10,000 unit order from its RBS6000 series, along with the core network hardware. The second Ericsson party was happening in Switzerland where the vendor's Diameter signalling kit will be handling LTE roaming interconnect on behalf of Swisscom. Swisscom and Ericsson are surely right in thinking that LTE is going to drive a large increase in Diameter events on the network. Roaming's a crucial use case, which is probably why Swisscom has taken the plunge here. If you're unsure about what Diameter control is and what its role is, <a href="">read more here</a>. 2. Although these LTE deals may seem to be coming along with increasing regularity, market-watcher <b>Infonetics</b> added a little cold water to the mix, by saying that even the large amounts of money flowing out of operators as they deploy LTE has not been enough not enough to lift the mobile infrastructure market in Q1 2013. That said, Stephane Teral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research, pointed out that, "Life without LTE would be hell!" Infonetics found that in 1Q13, the worldwide 2G/3G/4G mobile infrastructure market totaled $9.8 billion, down 2% year-over-year. LTE revenue was $2.7 billion in 1Q13, an increase of 108% year-over-year. Big spenders included the Brazilian operators, and other members of the BRIC grouping (As per Russia's MTS, above). 3. One company that needs no telling that LTE isn't saving everyone's bacon is <b>Alcatel-Lucent</b>, which this week released details of its renewed strategy. The company called the strategy <i>The Shift Plan</i>. Essentially, the company will invest its R&D in IP Networking, cloud technologies and Ultra-Broadband Access and go for growth in those areas. LTE assets are also marked down as an investment priority, although legacy wireless businesses are going to be "managed for cash". Much of the rest is going to be shipped out. Reaction was broadly based on the "well they had to do something" viewpoint, with many pointing out that NSN is considerably further down the line in the game of, "identify the areas that actually make most profit, or might in the future, and concentrate on them." Although Al-Lu said it expected to make at least a billion Euros by selling off unwanted business units, there were those asking who would want the bits Al-Lu doesn't? For instance, Ron Kline, principal network infrastructure analyst, at Ovum, put out a comment stating, "Exiting from legacy technologies markets is likely to prove to be difficult and finding a buyer for its Submarine Network Solutions division is likely to face regulatory hurdles." Here's the rest of Kline's rundown of how Al-Lu's disposals might go: <i>"Ovum's quarterly market share research shows Alcatel-Lucent's IP and WDM products have performed pretty well for the company but rapidly declining revenues in SDH/SONET and DCS have led to lower margins and declining market share. Alcatel-Lucent is the third-ranked vendor in the switching and routing market with $2.1bn in revenues over the last 4 quarters up which was 2.3% year-over-year. Over the same time frame the company's revenues in broadband access fell 2% to just over $1bn. The overall broadband access market is decline and much of the current growth is in China. Alcatel-Lucent's optical networking equipment revenues dipped 28% over the last year despite strong 15% growth in converged packet optical (CPO) equipment and may pose the biggest challenge for the company. Given the extent of the installed base of legacy products and the relevant customers, accelerating an exit could prove difficult. Alcatel-Lucent faced a similar dilemma when it rationalised its products back in 2006 after the merger however customer protests made the company reverse its decision."</i> <b>OPTIMISATION</b> 4. Sticking with LTE for the moment, <b>Tektronix Communications</b>, still hot on pushing its new Telecoms Intelligence Provider concept, which sees it leveraging its network-level tools and capabilities to become a trusted partner of mobile operators' technology, service and product launches, announced the launch of a Professional Services Technology Consulting offering, designed to provide carriers with world-class optimisation solutions for the rollout of LTE networks. The vendor pointed out that LTE brings with it complex architecture challenges such as circuit switch fall back (CSFB), success rate and setup time and inter-radio access technology issues for data services, as well as management of multiple network equipment vendors. So the launch of the LTE-focussed consultancy will lean heavily on Tektronix's optimisation capabilities to allow operators to gain insight into performance across the network as they meet these LTE-specific challenges. <a href="">More here</a>. 5. Also emphasising the "get LTE optimisation right or suffer" motif was Actix, who noted that there was "No safety net for operators launching LTE services." The speed of LTE adoption leaves little wriggle room for error, Actix said. There are a lot of LTE-ready handsets out there, and LTE activation will quickly lead to high adoption. One crucial issue is identifying the key locations where traffic will spike - typically 5% of sites account for 50% of traffic, Actix said. That requires accurate RAN level data, which of course Actix is in the business of providing. <a href="">More Here</a>. <b>DOING GOOD</b> 6. The Vodafone Foundation has undertaken to deploy a network in a refugee camp in South Sudan. A team from the Vodafone Foundation will travel from Kenya to set up the Instant Network - a mobile phone network which fits in to three suitcases, weighs less than 100kg and can be transported on commercial flights - in the Yida camp in Unity State. The Instant Network has been already to provide communications during severe droughts in Kaikor, Northern Kenya and in Davao Oriental in the Philippines following Typhoon Bopha. In both cases, the equipment was set up within 40 minutes. The Vodafone Foundation Instant Network deployment in South Sudan will operate in partnership with Vodafone Group's mobile network partner Zain Group and will include the distribution of handsets and the provision of free airtime to aid workers across the 3,000-acre refugee camp for a period of six months. Separately, Vodafone Group's subsidiary in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Vodacom Congo, has today announced a commitment to support 17,000 refugees at the Mugunga Camp in North Kivu Province, Goma. Vodacom Congo has launched a text message donation service called Alerte Rouge in which funds will be raised to meet basic emergency needs such as the purchase of food, tents, blankets and mosquito nets. A team from the Vodafone Foundation is currently in the DRC exploring deploying the Instant Network in the Mugunga camp in the near-term and will assess the potential for setting up education programmes based on mobile devices. <b>USER TEST</b> 7. Subscribers to our <a href="">TMN Quarterly</a> magazine will know that operators are in the midst of seeing themselves challenged on one of their core strengths, monitoring of the user experience. Now test company Keynote has extended its "real user" monitoring services by opening new mobile monitoring locations in Italy, Spain, South Africa and Turkey, adding access to a variety of new operator networks. The new locations are being deployed with Keynote Mobile Web Perspective 7 that enables monitoring on 4G wireless networks, making it possible for content providers to measure, improve and trend the true end-user experience for their mobile content. "We are in the middle of a Web to mobile transition which requires investments to provide the best quality mobile experience," explained Thomas Gronbach, European director of marketing for Keynote. "Keynote is taking the lead to expand on its quality infrastructure for enterprises by adding real monitoring and mobile testing devices in Europe. Leading companies in Europe realise that mobile quality assurance helps their business. With these investments, Keynote continues to ready itself for mobile enterprise business across Europe." Today, the Keynote testing and monitoring network comprises over 7,000 measurement computers and mobile devices in over 275 global locations. The company also operators the DeviceAnywhere test system, which gives developers access over the internet to a wide range of connected devices. 8. Also providing insight into customer usage and experience was <b>Citrix</b>, or Citrix ByteMobile if you prefer. The company, which regularly releases chunks of data extracted from its optimisation and content delivery kit, concentrated its findings this quarter on subscriber behaviour and app preference. It found that mobile audio now represents 12% of data volume in the USA. Just four apps (Media Player, Safari, App Store and Facebook) generated 82% of all mobile data volume on iOS devices. Mobile search transactions have risen 25% in just over a year. There's <a href="">plenty more here</a>. <b>SMALL CELLS AND WIFI</b> 9. Free Mobile said it would be making femtocells available for its Freebox Revolution subscribers. The Free femtocell integrates with itsFreebox router, and will be open for use by all other users of the Freebox service. In principle, that extends Free's mobile network beyond the reach of its macro layer. It mirrors public access WiFi technology such as FON in the regard - and comes with the same unplanned nature. The concept is reminiscent of Qualcomm's Neighbourhood Femtocell concept, so there are some big industry backers behind the idea. 10. Also backing a small cell business model, this time <b>small cells as a service</b>, was research house SNS Research, who reckoned the market could be worth $15 billion by 2020. Companies with announced plans in this space include Cloudberry and Colt Telecom. 11. If open access small cells don't do it for you, how about <b>curated WiFi</b>? <a href="">Devicescape</a> announced another customer win for its Curated Virtual Network (CVN) of over 12 million high-quality Wi-Fi hotspots and intelligent network selection software - C Spire Wireless. The Devicescape Curator Service allows users to gain automatic access to the company's CVN of public Wi-Fi hotspots, which are rated in real-time to ensure they meet C Spire's requirements for a carrier-grade quality experience. Devicescape's Curator Client, working together with the Curator Service Platform in the cloud, identifies the best available connection at any given time and connects to it, resulting in simplified connectivity and increased overall Wi-Fi usage. 12. Finally, in small cell news, the <b>Small Cell Forum</b> announced that last week it had bundled 16 companies together to test interoperability between 3GPP small cells and Evolved Packet Core (EPC) equipment from different vendors. Tests were conducted between small cells and EPCs, security gateways, macro eNodeB and as an option HeNB gateways to verify the S1 interface implementations. In a multi-vendor HetNet environment mobility scenarios such as hand-out with the macro network using S1 and X2 interface were tested. VoLTE (IMS) calls were also tested. This is a reasonably crucial enabler for the bulk of those operating in the small cell space that will not be able to bring an end to end small cell play to market. Inter-vendor interoperability, but crucially inter-cell co-ordination enabled by the X2 interface, is a very important item for the majority of those targeting this market. <b>TELCO NETWORK SECURITY</b> 13. With big vendors such as NSN, Juniper and others beginning to beat the <a href="">network/telco security drum</a> increasingly loudly (again driven by LTE rollouts), F5 joined the fray with the announcement of a "service provider firewall" for operators' SGi and Gi interfaces. The S/Gi firewall sits at the Gi interface of a 3G network and the SGi interface of a 4G network, on the perimeter between a service provider's mobile network and the Internet. This placement is designedl to protect both subscribers and networks from targeted attacks - such as DDoS threats from a variety of sources (Internet-to-mobile, Internet-to-infrastructure, mobile-to-mobile, etc.) F5 said many of the market's current offerings lack the scale-ability and performance necessary to keep up with subscribers' increased demands for applications and content, and added the level of performance offered by F5 enables service providers to accommodate more subscribers and support growing data use without sacrificing device or network performance. <b>POLICY ACQUISITION</b> 14. <a href="">Openet</a> announced it had acquired Forkstream, a spin out from University College Dublin, to add the company's client-side technology to its policy capabilities. Forkstream's technology interacts with the network core via Openet Interaction Gateway, enabling operators to manage network access policies using their Policy Controls Rules Function (PCRF). "Integrating Forkstream into the Openet PCC ecosystem enables our customers to overcome many challenges related to seamlessly integrating multiple access networks with cellular services," said Openet CTO Joe Hogan. "They developed an elegant solution to ensure cross-network session continuity and flow management, which is key to a quality user experience." 15. Finally, a graphic. This, from <b>Skyfire</b>, that presents some information about the growth and usage of video on mobile networks. You have to remember that Skyfire is trying to sell its cloud-based optimisation platforms. But there's an interesting establishing point in there: just because video is a massive deal for mobile operators, that doesn't mean that mobile operators are a massive priority for video content providers. That means that operators can't rely on the content providers to do their own mobile optimisation at source, operators will have to do it for themselves. en-us Six of the best in the network <b>1. SK Telecom launches LTE-A</b> SK Telecom <a href="">said it had launched services</a> across a network enhanced with LTE-A features that is available for smartphone users. It said applied Carrier Aggregation (CA) and Coordinated Multi Point (CoMP), and plans to apply Enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (eICIC) in 2014. SKT's CA combines two 10 MHz components carriers (1.8GHz and 800MHz spectrum bands) to form an effective bandwidth of 20 MHz spectrum bands. SKT said that although 13 operators, including Verizon, AT&T, NTT Docomo and Telenor, have announced plans to launch LTE-A, and among them Sprint, Telstra, 3 Italia and Yota said that they will do so within this year, it is the first carrier to launch an LTE-A network with LTE-A compatible phones. SK Telecom's LTE-A covers the entire Seoul, central areas of 42 cities in Gyeonggi-do and Chungcheong-do, and 103 university areas. Furthermore, the company will gradually expand its LTE-A coverage to 84 cities across the nation. <b>2. NSN, Claro, first LTE network in Chile</b> The headline tells you just about all you need to know. Claro has launched the first LTE network in Chile, using single RAN Flexi Multiradio gear from sole-supplier <a href="">NSN</a>. <b>3. Vodafone and Wind Hellas:</b> The two Greek operators have <a href="announced an active 2G and 3G network sharing deal">plans</a> to form a new company to run the network, with a 15 year agreement awaiting approval from authorities. <b>4. TD-LTE small cell for the Chinese market</b> Aricent Group <a href="">has partnered with</a> Fujian Sunnada Communication to develop a TDD LTE small cell solution customised for the Chinese market. Aricent is a provider of software platforms upon which other developers can build product. <b>5. Skyfire/Opera Software wins Telenor group deal</b> Skyfire <a href="">was selected</a> as part of Alcatel-Lucent's winning optimisation bid across all 11 Telenor countries. The deal with Telenor is the "biggest video optimisation deal in the industry since Byte Mobile won Sprint", according to VP EMEA, John Rintoul. Skyfire's cloud-based concept "gets away from speeds and feeds on the Gi," Rintoul said, instead dealing with traffic that is "intelligently steered to be dealt with when needed". <b>6. All your messaging infrastructure in one place</b> Acision <a href="">launched Fusion</a>, a single converged solution for deploying Value Add Services (VAS). For the first time, Acision Fusion will enable MMS interworking, so RCS users can share pictures and videos to those not RCS enabled. Acision Fusion also provides Common Business Logic across all messaging services for a range of functions including real-time charging, service triggering, message routing, volumetric message rate control, service access and monitoring. Acision Fusion provides a converged solution to deliver a full set of messaging services, including SMS, MMS, voice messaging and Rich Communication Suite (RCS) services. en-us Bye-bye Siemens News comes in that Nokia has done the deal to take sole ownership of NSN. Nobody is quite sure what comes next - the company to be run as an autonomous entity within Nokia, or be sold or spun off. Whatever the decision, Nokia having sole control of the business will streamline decision making. One thing we do know is that the Siemens name will be going. This marks the departure from the telco/carrier networking scene of the Siemens name. Siemens & Halske Telegraph Construction Company was founded in 1847 to commercialise an innovation in telegraph technology. From those beginnings, by the late 20th century information and communications division of Siemens was always one of the largest in the conglomerate that spanned electricity generation, industrial systems and railway engineering. Although Siemens Communications became better known for its enterprise and PBX products than its carrier business, 3G meant things were about to change. From 2003 to 2005 Siemens COM won its fair share of W-CDMA (3G) contracts in partnership with NEC - including a clutch of Hutchison 3G contracts in Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland and the UK, Cingular Wireless in the USA and Vodacom in South Africa. In 2004, mobile networks sales made up 27% of all Siemens Communications revenues, with fixed networks 19% and enterprise networks 19%. It's worth noting that mobile devices still made up 28% of all the division's sales. By 2005, the NEC-Siemens partnership claimed to have more commercial NodeBs deployed than any other vendor. The company also had a similar partnership deal in TD-SCDMA with Huawei, to address the Chinese 3G market. It had moved from sixth to third place in the mobile networks market by 2005, and was actively targetting second place based on proposed Asian market expansion. The company was also one of the first to market with an HSPA-enabled NodeB. Indeed, the range of Siemens' efforts is fairly startling to look back on. Although the device business had been sold to BenQ by this point, the company was also active in WiMax, microwave backhaul, policy, charging and core elements, HSPA modules, NFC, Push to Talk - just about the whole range of wireless networking. It took lease of a cruise ship, painted Siemens up the side in 60 foot lettering and parked this monster off the shore of Cannes for 3GSM World Congress. So when, a year later in June 2006, it was announced that its telco networks business (fixed and mobile) was to be merged with Nokia Networks to form NSN, this was by no means a marriage of unequals with, as some might assume, Nokia the vastly superior partner. Indeed the merger marked the coming together of the strong number two and number three players in the market - combining what would be a united effort to target Ericsson's leadership. It was, however, a merger that was soon marred by a background of scandal, as evidence of a major bribery scandal emerged in late 2006, and senior executives stood charged of having operated (or ignored the operation of) a slush fund of EUR1.3 billion for use to win major overseas deals. NSN's official launch took place in February 2007, with the company inaugurated in April. It also took place just as the rise of Huawei was making itself known in the wireless networking market - indeed the need for consolidation in the market a direct result this new competitor's arrival and consolidation at the carrier level. More recent years saw NSN cut back its manufacturing operations in Germany, as part of an overall cost-cutting and operational strategy that has seen the company focus on its mobile broadband asserts and offload many aspects such as microwave, billing and OSS, fixed and enterprise assets. It still retains a presence in Munich, and says that will remain. Yet, despite that outpost, today's announcement that Nokia will take full control means that the Siemens name, after nearly 170 years, leaves the telco network stage. Businesses rise and fall in our industry. For a while, this was one of the biggest out there. <i>This article formed part of TMN's weekly "Week Ahead" email, sent today, 1 July 2013. You can sign up for future emails <a href="">here</a>.</i> en-us Siemens: battered and bruised Small Cell Networks: Lessons Learned With AT&T <a href="">REGISTER FOR WEBINAR</a>, <b>Tuesday, 10 September, 11am EDT.</b> <a href=""><b>Small Cell Networks: Lessons Learned</b></a> will be presented by Maravedis-Rethink and feature guest speaker Jim Parker, Senior Manager of the Antenna Solutions Group at AT&T, one of the world's most advanced deployers of small cells. Parker's team is responsible for in-building solutions including small cells, DAS and others, and is a vital element of AT&T's ambitious plan to roll out 40,000 small cells over two years. The first phase of that roll-out is currently taking place, and the webinar will feature some of the earliest insights into the progress of the programme, and the lessons learned so far. With operators round the world formulating their strategies for small cell deployments over the coming years, AT&T's experiences will be eagerly watched. The webinar will offer an opportunity to hear about the achievements and challenges so far, and to gain insights into AT&T's future plans in this important area of 3G and 4G roll-out. Topics will include technology platforms for small cells; neutral hosting; the challenges of the indoor environment; and interworking with other technologies such as Wi-Fi, with an eye to the future HetNet. These insights will be complemented by key findings from Maravedis-Rethink's <a href="">MOSA</a> (Mobile Operator Strategy Analysis) and RAN Service analysts. Research Director Caroline Gabriel will share selected highlights from the latest MOSA Quarterly Report and RAN forecasts, including exclusive data in areas such as enterprise wireless and LTE-Advanced. en-us Free White Paper: Automated, Distributed Service Activation Testing As service providers' Carrier Ethernet & IP networks have evolved, so have the performance requirements demanded of them. These networks are used for a wide range of Quality of Service (QoS) critical applications, from mobile backhaul and business services to financial trading and data center connectivity. Each service presents unique performance requirements, such as high availability, minimum Committed Information Rate (CIR), packet loss and latency. Ensuring consistent QoS and meeting specific Service Level Agreements (SLAs) requires validating performance at each stage of the service lifecycle, from the moment it is turned up, to ongoing monitoring and optimisation. <b>To download the full white paper for free simply fill in the short form below.</b> <meta name="twitter:card" content="summary"> <meta name="twitter:site" content="@tmnmag"> <meta name="twitter:title" content="Free White Paper"> <meta name="twitter:description" content="Automated, Distributed Service Activation Testing from @Accedian Networks"> <meta name="twitter:creator" content="@shr_ldn"> <meta name="twitter:image:src" content=""> <meta name="twitter:domain" content=""> <meta name="twitter:app:name:iphone" content=""> <meta name="twitter:app:name:ipad" content=""> <meta name="twitter:app:name:googleplay" content=""> <meta name="twitter:app:url:iphone" content=""> <meta name="twitter:app:url:ipad" content=""> <meta name="twitter:app:url:googleplay" content=""> <meta name="twitter:app:id:iphone" content=""> <meta name="twitter:app:id:ipad" content=""> <meta name="twitter:app:id:googleplay" content=""> en-us How close to the edge can you go? Quortus says right to it <a href="">Quortus</a>, which markets a standalone EPC (Evolved Packet Core) in software, has taken its software core capability right to the edge of the network by integrating its solution onto a small cell SoC platform from <a href="">Cavium</a>. What this means is that a small cell built on Cavium's OCTEON Fusion processor that has Quortus' software EPC embedded will have the capability to provide full service and network functionality. A release from the two companies put it like this: <i>By embedding Quortus' EPC on the OCTEON Fusion processor, the entire functionality of a mobile network can be held on the same chip; this means that a single small cell can become a highly portable mobile network. Furthermore, placing the radio and core layer on the same chip reduces the complexity of interaction between both layers, enabling the implementation of advanced functionality such as meshing, macro mobility and satellite backhaul optimisation features in a more efficient way.</i> That could allow for a small cell to be deployed in a stand alone manner, perhaps for public safety, emergency coverage or disaster relief, authenticating and providing service to users and SIMs without the need (or with a greatly reduced need) for satellite backhaul or IP connectivity to centralised core elements. Small cell solutions are often used in disaster scenarios to provide areas of connectivity - for instance Vodafone's Network in a Box solution was provided to the UN after 2012's typhoon in the Philippines. In that instance, a satellite backhaul connection carried connections back to Smart's core, allowing existing Smart subscribers to be authenticated to the central core. This meant they could make and receive calls to relatives, and receive money transfers. An edge core capability that authenticates a user where necessary over satellite backhaul could in theory provide more of a complete network in rural and remote areas, handling hand-overs and mobility management, with an HSS function providing subscriber management. Quortus calls its public safety and military applications "tactical solutions" and says this Cavium integration would be ideally suited to Goverment or public safety applications. Other uses for Quortus' technology include providing a private network capability for large enterprises, for example using local call handling to provide PBX functionality to mobile phones, and providing rural or remote connectivity or capacity. Although this is a use-case specific implementation of software from Quortus and Cavium, Cavium is not the only processor company that has looked to embed increased software functionality at chip level into small cells. As long ago as early 2012, prior to Ubiquisys' acquisition by Cisco, Intel and Ubiquisys were showing a small design that integrated Intel's Atom processor to build an "intelligent" small cell, demoing edge-based applications from the likes of Edge Datacomms. A year later the company was demonstrating Quortus' enterprise integration features on its Smart Cell. Intel is also building up a portfolio of partners who use its platforms to carry out edge-based operations - such as caching, data optimisation, security, or hosting of localised services - either embedded within the individual small cells themselves or on nodes that control bunches of small cells. So we can expect to see more approaches that enable operators to take advantage of small cells to site functions and services closer to the edge - including in a virtualised manner on common hardware elements. We are seeing something of that ilk with Nokia's Liquid Apps strategy - which started as a macro-based product and which the company is also now positioning as a viable platform to provide services to its small cell FlexiZones. These approaches use a controller or "anchor" node to act as a localised point of presence to clusters of small cells, or if integrated into a small cell rely on the talents of a system integrator to bring the elements together. But integrating both LTE RAN and EPC onto a single chip design, as Cavium and Quortus have done in this instance, seems to be a first. Andy Odgers, CEO Quortus, says, "There are some ground rules, you can't push authentication down to the edge where the small cell is effectively CPE, there are some legal intercept matters, but generically speaking you are trying to save on satellite back-haul, so to offload or aggregate signalling, be that iuH or S1, or do voice and data offload, call handover without the troubling core - these are all thing that don't impact authentication or security." "But the benefits of doing the things we've talked about - meshing vehicles, voice data offload, satellite optimisation... that's what we do. The feedback we get is that people are always fascinated about what can put on the chip and the applications for that." A complete "network in a box" approach has limited use cases, for sure, but the distribution of intelligence across the network, even to the device, is a current topic of consideration for network planners looking at small cell and Cloud RAN architectures, and is one of the topics the Small Cell Forum will look at within its Release 5 programme. The availability of software that can take advantage of processing platforms with the required power to enable localised and virtualised functions may be part of that discussion. SIGN UP FOR OUR WEBINAR: <a href="">EXPERIENCE CONTINUITY - A KEY ENABLER FOR CONNECTED CARS?</a> <a href=""><img alt="" height="29" src="" width="162" /></a> en-us Nokia joins Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent in Telefonica's LTE network Telefonica, which in September 2013 signed Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson to carry out the first stages of its LTE radio access network rollout, has added another RAN vendor to its roster. The company has signed a three year upgrade deal with Nokia for the company to deploy its Single RAN Advanced architecture in Andalusia, Galicia, Castilla Leon and Levante over a period of three years. Single RAN Advanced is based on the Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station, and the contract will also see Nokia deliver its Multicontroller Platform for the 3G RNC. Joaquin Mata at Telefonica said in a press release quote that the network upgrade was "one of the greatest of the kind ever carried out in Spain." In September 2013 Ericsson said it would be deploying 1000 nodes in Barcelona and Madrid as Telefonica launched LTE services. Alcatel-Lucent said it was carded to set down over 8,000 base stations - a number it said was 60% of Telefonica's total deployment, as it too was named as a launch vendor by Telefonica. Nokia's contract comes a few months after launch, as Telefonica seeks to upgrade further regions in Spain. en-us A spring forward for LTE with Vodafone's Project Spring? Vodafone's Q1 results, for the months April, May and June 2014, are out, and we at TMN have pulled out its network information with the aim of seeing how the company's doubling of capex for the quarter has impacted LTE service coverage. The operator said it had invested GBP1.9 billion of its GBP19 billion Project Spring war chest in the quarter, which is twice the amount it spent in the same period 2013. Some of that went into India and South Africa, but much went into accelerating its LTE deployments in Europe. 4,700 sites were deployed in the quarter across Europe, and an additional 2,300 2G/3G sites, the operator said. As you can see from the table above, this acceleration was most notable in Spain, Italy and to a lesser extent in the UK. In fact although there has been a lot of investment in the quarter across Europe, in Germany the stated population coverage is exactly the same as a quarter previous. It's a similar story in the UK and elsewhere where the needle doesn't seem to have moved much in coverage terms in the quarter. Is it possible the investment is going into deepening capacity in areas where coverage already exists? Another option is that the operator already made some significant coverage gains in Q1 2014 - and indeed the operator did say earlier this year it had brought forward its coverage targets in the first quarter of 2014. Overall, Vodafone said its European coverage is now at a total 52%, up from 46% at the end of March. The company had 30% population coverage at the end of September 2013. The coverage target for 2016 is 91%. What does that mean in terms of traffic and customer growth? Well, data growth for quarter was up 53% versus the same quarter 2013 - in other words Vodafone carried half as much data in the quarter as it did last year. Customers? As you can see in the table above there's still plenty of headroom for growth. Vodafone's overall customer base in Germany, its most mature LTE market by far, is 31 million, with 1.5 million of those being LTE customers. In the UK, the company has just under a million LTE subs from a base of over 19 million. In Spain it's a similar story, with 1 million of 13 million customers on the LTE. en-us The joy of six network stories this week <b>1. Operators are all over SDN</b> Informa Telecoms & Media launched its white paper <a href="">Mobile SDN - the Future is Virtual</a>. The analyst house surveyed a few operators and came to the conclusion that "momentum is building rapidly for mobile software-defined-network (SDN)", which was no doubt a relief to the white paper's sponsor and SDN pusher Juniper Networks. Why are operators keen on SDNs? 1. To make networks more scalable and flexible 2. In the longer term, enable new revenue and business-model opportunities by bringing new apps and services to market quicker and at lower cost. Informa's white paper identifies three distinct areas in mobile operators' architecture where mobile SDN is materialising: separation of the control and data planes; virtualisation of network components; and service exposure via APIs. The survey found that 93% of operator respondents expect SDN to be implemented in mobile within five years, and half expect it to be implemented in the next one to two years. LTE and LTE-Advanced deployments are expected to be the biggest drivers of mobile SDN adoption, and adoption is expected to be led by developed markets in North America (primarily the US) and Asia Pacific (South Korea and Japan). <b>2. Ericsson in Estonia</b> Ericsson is claiming it delivered an 800MHz LTE network to EMT in Estonia in just two weeks. Combined with a fast award of spectrum, the Telia Sonera subsidiary is now up and running six months ahead of its own schedule, a press release from Ericsson trumpeted. EMT has had an LTE network at 1800MHz since 2010. Ericsson provided radio network equipment, the upgrade and expansion of Packet Core to Evolved Packet Core, rollout, integration and deployment services. <b>3. Astellia monitoring LTE at Bouygues</b> Bouygues Telecom is using people and technology from its existing network optimisation partner <a href="">Astellia</a> during its LTE network trial phase. Astellia's Nova monitoring solution allows Bouygues Telecom to analyse network performance, handset behavior and mobile applications usage and how they interact with each other. As part of this partnership, some Astellia staff have been integrated within Bouygues Telecom's technical teams. Jean-Christophe Reversat, Network Operations Director at Bouygues Telecom, signed off on the following quote: "With Astellia at our side, we are sure to satisfy our most demanding customers. All adjustments made optimise the performance of our 4G network and help provide a unique user experience." <b>4. MTS + NSN = LTE</b> Nokia Siemens Networks (now to be <a href="">fully owned by Nokia</a>)said it would be laying down some FDD LTE in the Moscow and Central Russia regions during the third quarter of 2013. The operator has 2600 MHz and 800 MHz frequency bands and has made NSN sole supplier of radio access and core network equipment over a three year contract. MTS launched a TDD LTE network in 2012. <b>5. 10MHHz + 10MHz = 20MHz for EE</b> EE publicly announced the start of its trailed double speed LTE, officially switching on 20MHz of spectrum dedicated to LTE in twelve UK cities. Alongside that, it introduced its <a href="">shared data plans</a> and pay as you go for LTE. and other services, as it said it would. There was some bragging from EE, which is getting its retaliation in first while it can. Ovum's Emeka Obiodu, principal analyst, pointed out that the double headline speed thing is less important than the fact it gives "EE a base from which to offer LTE packages tiered on speed and usage which are far [more] acceptable to customers. That is going to be the interesting thing to watch out for and if its rivals do not have the capability to do that, EE could have quite a solid marketing message." <b>6. Moar data</b> Strategy Analytics reported that Handset Data Traffic (ie, just data to and from mobile handsets) would grow over 300% by 2017 to 21 Exabytes. Video and web traffic will drive the rise, naturally, with compound annual traffic growth of 42% and 30% respectively Here are some more data points for your next slide deck. David MacQueen, Executive Director, Apps and Media at Strategy Analytics, noted, "Data traffic has been almost doubling annually. As developed markets mature we expect a slowdown in traffic growth to a 32% compound annual growth rate from 2012 onward, but this nonetheless sees carriers forced to find novel ways to handle huge volumes of traffic which will rise from five exabytes of data per year to over 21 exabytes per annum by 2017." Full report available <a href="">here</a>: en-us HTML5: making apps disappear but driving the need for Content Intelligence <i>By Cam Cullen</i> Imagine you are a policeman, and your job is to give tickets to speeding cars and to manage the traffic flow to ensure steady progress for all cars. But the twist in the tale is that 95% of the cars on the road look the same (colour, shape, size), some even have the capability to change their look to appear like other cars if they believe that they have been detected speeding. Even worse, an increasing percentage of the cars are now "encrypting" their make and model so that a casual glance, or even a pretty detailed look will not be useful for telling different cars apart. How would you carry out your duties as a police officer? This is what is actually happening on networks today. A solution could claim to have "Deep Packet Inspection" technology, and correctly report that 90-95% of traffic on broadband networks was HTTP-based. Not a very useful bit of "business intelligence", but on most networks, this would be a fairly accurate assessment of network utilisation. Going back to our analogy where virtually all cars look identical or appear to be identical, keeping your highways safe and flowing smoothly would be a much more challenging job because you could not pick out cars as easily as you can in the real world. What would you do? It is highly likely you would invest in smarter technology that would get better and better at discriminating between cars. You would try to understand how different cars handled, how driving patterns evolved, notice subtle differences in the cars decorations (headlight shape, door handles, engine noise, etc.). You would also want to determine better ways to ensure that you could detect the make and model of the car as well. <b>Disappearing apps</b> The rapid spread of <b>HTML5</b> may soon become a dirty word to those working in service provider IT, because many have traditionally relied on application signatures to gain visibility into network traffic. With the arrival of HTML5, that will all change. Many apps and plugins that are required today for activities like VoIP, or OTT video will simply run on an HTML5-based web browser - essentially disappearing from signature databases almost overnight. Recent announcements by a number of major players in the Internet point heavily in this direction. Netflix recently announced it is looking to ditch its Silverlight-based video player for an HTML5 version that would work pretty much anywhere. At Mobile World Congress Mozilla launched Firefox OS, built entirely on HTML5 and other open web standards like Linux and JavaScript. It has the support of a number of mobile device manufacturers and operators, and sees possibilities to offer an option to the current duopoly of Apple and Google for both handset manufacturers as well as consumers. Then there is WebRTC (real time communications), whose mission is to enable rich, high quality, RTC applications to be developed in the browser via simple Javascript APIs and HTML5. WebRTC APIs are already available for Google Chrome's Stable and Firefox Nightly versions. <b>Detecting intent</b> Our analogy does not sound quite so far fetched anymore does it? Broadband traffic is converging on "web", and network operators need more intelligent solutions to help them understand what is driving their network usage. Deep Packet Inspection solutions must continue to improve their capabilities, investing in more sophisticated methods and techniques to detect the core application or even "intent" of a network conversation, helping to ensure a quality broadband experience for subscribers. There have been a number of initiatives (Software Defined Networking and Self Organising Networks are two of the better known) that are trying to simplify how broadband networks look at traffic, bringing applications and other factors like content and destination into the equation to ensure consistent and predictable network quality. Deep Packet Inspection technology must also evolve to be more sophisticated. For example, there are many different ways to look at network traffic. In our analogy, if we knew where the cars were going to, that would help us manage traffic flow much more efficiently. Cars headed home might have a different urgency than those headed to work, or those going to a restaurant (Stay out of the way of hungry drivers!). By better understanding the destination, we could ensure that traffic that needed speed was given speed, and even create HOV lanes for public transportation and carpoolers (which happens even today). BUT - you still need police to ensure that people are not cheating in the HOV lanes (Knew I would get back to that eventually!). en-us Traffic management: what if all cars looked identical? TMN Quarterly, Issue 3, 2013: Features <b>TMN Q Issue 3: Editorial Update</b> Call for submissions... TMN Quarterly, Issue 3 will be published in September 2013. As well as our regular items, these are the features that will be published in the issue. We welcome offers of contribution, data points, comment and opinion. Deadline for submissions is 14 August. To contribute, <a href="">get in touch with editor Keith Dyer</a>. FEATURES: <b>1. All network data big and small</b> Outline: The never-ending story of Big Data, but with a network focus. Operators are being offered a vision of responsive, intelligent networks that automatically optimise resources, and control traffic flows. But there are different sources of data, different ways to get at it, and different ways to analyse it. So what data can operators collect, where do they collect it (stat counters, probes, trace files, DPI, OSS etc) and what do they do with it? <i>What TMN needs: Views and opinions on how operators can best extract and make use of their network data. Experiences and case studies also welcome.</i> <b>2. Advanced Antennas</b> Outline: Although advanced antenna technology is just one of the tools in the operator toolbox as they look to expand capacities upon existing infrastructure, it could be an important one. This feature will look at the latest products coming to market, and being developed in readiness to come to market. <i>What TMN needs: We'd like to hear from companies that are playing any role in developing smart antenna technology, advanced antennas, or the component parts of them.</i> <b>3. R&D hot from the labs</b> Outline: What are the latest current and proposed projects in the operator, vendor R&D departments, and in academia. How is innovation at the R&D likely to impact upon the network in the coming years? <i>What TMN needs: News and information on interesting projects and research directions. Areas of interest: radio access advances; network function virtualisation; cloud architectures; energy efficiency.</i> <b>4. France</b> Outline: Continuing our national series, this article will precis the state of play of France's mobile networks. Look out for LTE tracking, small cells, WiFI and more. <i>What TMN needs: Any market data, stats info on recent network deployments and innovations, and on usage data.</i> en-us Virgin adds Telefonica to list of backhaul clients Virgin Media Business, which already provides wholesale backhaul connectivity to Vodafone and to EE and Three UK's network services provider MBNL, has signed a ten year deal with Telefonica to support the operator's impending LTE launch. Under the 10 year deal with Telefonica UK, Virgin Media Business will connect base stations to its fibre network via a Gigabit Ethernet service. Virgin Media Business deploys Sync-E (Synchronous Ethernet G.8262) based technology from Transmode. Sync-E is a standard that provides synchronisation across an Ethernet network. Adrian Di Meo, Chief Technology Officer, Telefonica UK, said in a press release statement: "Over the past five years we've seen huge growth in demand for mobile data as the number of consumers using smartphones and tablets has increased. With our 4G network launching this summer, data growth will only continue to rise and this new fibre agreement with Virgin Media Business will give us the rock solid foundation we need and help us deliver a great network experience for our customers." George Wareing, director of mobile and broadcast, Virgin Media Business said: "Over the last two years we've secured mobile backhaul contracts with all four of the UK's major mobile network operators. It's a sign that the backhaul market is moving extremely quickly and thanks to the speed and resilience of our fibre network, we've been able to make the most of that opportunity. By working closely in partnership with mobile operators we've been able to develop and deploy innovative and unique technologies that enable Sync-E as standard." en-us Network octet: this week's mobile network news round-up <b>1.</b> <a href="">Root Metrics</a> continues to be busy producing reports on a city by city basis on operators' mobile network performance. At the start of the week it told us that EE was winning the rankings in three cities in the English Midlands (Coventry, Birmingham, Nottingham) although the other networks have all improved their performance since Autumn 2012. In fact, Root Metrics reckons EE's fastest available service is in Birmingham, with average 16.2Mbps download speeds on the network. Later in the week, it told us that EE was also topping the tables in Belfast, although overall right now Belfast boys and girls were not getting the speeds their capital counterparts are in London and Edinburgh. In Belfast, average download speeds were 10.8Mbps, with Londoners supposedly benefiting from 13.6Mbps as an average on the EE network. Vodafone had the best call performance (fewest dropped or blocked calls) in Belfast. <b>2.</b> These leads are likely to narrow, if not be overtaken, when the other operators get their LTE networks up and running. One operator taking steps to prepare is Telefonica (O2) which announced it has <a href="">signed a deal with Virgin Media Business</a> for its Sync-E based mobile backhaul service. That means that VMB now has Vodafone, MBNL (EE and Three) and O2 as customers. VMB is keen to be a player if and when these operators want to densify their networks with small cells - its presence on a macro basis surely gives it a fighting chance. <b>3.</b> <a href="">Orange</a> made a move to act as a sort of integrator of municipal authorities' Smart Cities plans. The operator held an event to outline its strategy, with Nathalie Leboucher, Head of Orange Smart Cities saying that network operators are the best placed to bring together a "fragmented ecoystem" in partnerships. Orange sees five areas it can play a unifying part: in public transport, smart grids, traffic management, services provision (leisure, libraries etc) and in smart buildings. "We believe that networks, the ability to exploit data and to propose dematerialized and mobile services are key to the transformation of cities. That is why we wish to place our expertise as an operator and integrator at the service of local authorities and all cities' stakeholders. The smart city is a rich, but very fragmented ecosystem and that is why cities need to be able to rely on a single player capable of developing partnerships to provide them with a global solution. It is what we are mindful of with our Smart Cities program," Leboucher said. <b>4.</b> Infonetics and VoLTE. The prolific analyst <a href="">forecast</a> that it expected to see 12 commercial VoLTE networks and 8 million VoLTE subscribers by the end of the year. 75% of those would be in Asia, a number greatly boosted by the fact that SK Telecom claims already to have approaching four million subscribers. Overall, the analyst reckons VoLTE subscriber growth will show a CAGR of 145% to 2017. <b>5.</b> Infonetics and SDN/NFV Infonetics had also been busy in the <a href="">SDN and NFV space</a>, this time asking operators for their own thoughts on the topics in its SDN and NFV Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey. Headline results were that virtually all major operators are either evaluating SDNs now or plan to do so within the next three years. Why? Well, as has been said before, operators are buying the service agility and operational efficiency aspects of SDN. In terms of virtualisation, participants rated CDNs, IP multimedia subsystems (IMS), and virtual routers/security gateways as the top applications for NFV <b>6.</b> Speaking of virtualisation, <a href="">Amdocs</a> claimed a first in demonstrating the industry's first, fully virtualised real-time charging. Tested in what Amdocs called a "production-like environment" at its labs, the solution demonstrated five millisecond latency and sub-second failover (switching between servers) running Amdocs Convergent Charging using VMware vSphere. "The industry is evolving towards network function virtualisation as a way to help service providers decouple software workloads from hardware to considerably improve cost-efficiencies and business agility," said Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president of product and solutions marketing at Amdocs, echoing Infonetics' report nicely. <b>7.</b> Ofcom said to the UK operators they can use any licensed band they like for LTE - including the 900MHz bands held by Vodafone and O2. The kicker for these guys is that there is less support for 900MHz LTE in the ecosystem than for 800, 1800 and 2600MHz, and also of course that they (especially O2) have refarmed 900MHz for 3G, so would have a lot of clearing to do. Not least, the operators have a chunk of investment in 800MHz to monetise first. So, file this one under interesting as a signal from the regulator, but unlikely to have impact even in the medium term. <b>8.</b> Macedonia became the latest European country to see 800MHz and 1800MHz bands allocated to operators for LTE services. Telekom Austria subsidiary Vip was one beneficiary, gaining 2x10MHz at 800MHz and 2x15MHz at 1800. It will have to reach 70% population coverage within six years. T-Mobile Macedonia and One (Telekom Slovenia) were the other winners, with only three operators bidding for three blocks. en-us Not so secret seven: Friday round-up <b>1. NSN going 2G in Iraq</b> The Finnish vendor announced a deal in Southern Iraq with Korek Telecom for a 2G network expansion project. Nokia Siemens Networks will provide radio, microwave (is that good news for backhaul partner DragonWave?) and core network elements, providing the Flexi Multiradio Base Station, to support Korek Telecom's 2G and 3G networks and its Liquid Core based Evolved Packet Core (EPC) platform, including Flexi Network Server (NS) and Flexi Network Gateway (NG). All of that will be stitched together with the vendor's NetAct network management system. <b>2. Liquid Applications </b> NSN put some more meat on the bones of its Liquid Applications strategy, announcing that it has signed up CDNetworks on a set of common objectives around Liquid Applications and operator Content Delivery Networks (CDN). A prss release said the two companies are committed to: "taking the next concrete steps to transform the delivery of content from the base station." CDNetworks joins Intel and IBM as announced partners in the Liquid Applications stable. The intent of the collaboration is to further enhance Liquid Applications for content acceleration and content personalization, making use of such capabilities as location and referral, as well as awareness of user behavior and real-time network conditions. "Mobile operators can enhance the user experience of their subscribers and enjoy cost savings with CDNetworks' mobile CDN technology. Collaborating with Nokia Siemens Networks, CDNetworks hopes to further advance its innovative mobile acceleration technology that will benefit operators and enterprise customers alike," Jongchan Kim, head of Technology at CDNetworks, in quotes assigned to him in a press release that I have just copied and pasted here. <b>3. AIRCOM launches ASSET 8.1 and CONNECT 8.1</b> <a href="">Aircom International</a> announced updates to its network design tools, with the aim of boosting its capabilities around small cell and WiFi design. Its ASSET 8.1 product now has support for WiFi as well as also for small cells design. With Aircom's MYRIAD model and Capesso AI,the vendor reckons this release "marks a new phase in the ASSET line, putting it firmly at the forefront of small cell and het net design projects." Small cell backhaul was the driver for updates to CONNECT 8.1, with the latest version including a Coverage Predictions feature, which is aimed at non-line-of-sight (NLOS) as well as point-to-multipoint (PTMP) links. Just to reiterate the message, Calum Byers, COO at Aircom International, signed off on the following quote: "The new features focus predominantly on enhancing the small cell design capabilities of the solutions, which combined with the existing breadth of capabilities in ASSET and CONNECT make these releases a significant evolution of our design and performance management portfolio." Those updates as provided by Aircom: <i>ASSET V8.1 key features: Support for integrated Small Cells design; New Wi-Fi design module; Multi carrier-HSDPA support; Advanced multi-port antenna modelling; Distributed coverage arrays processing CONNECT V8.1 key features: Support for NLOS and PTMP Coverage analysis, in support for Small Cells design; Improved Outbound Interference Analysis; Multi-threaded interference calculations; Optimum Antenna spacing calculations; Enhancements to the XML Data Editor- support for all link types and passive repeaters</i> <b>4. Selects Dialogic for Spanish texting interconnect </b> Value added services provider still sees text as a very important channel and therefore wanted to get better SMS connectivity to mobile operators. This week it announced that it has chosen the <a href="">Dialogic</a> DSI SS7G41 Signaling Server for SMS to enable it to do that. Apparently wiithin three months of deploying the Dialogic signaling server, closed nearly 200 operator peering agreements. "Dialogic helped us reach more destinations, close more peering agreements and improve the quality of services we deliver to customers," said Sisco Sapena, CEO of Andrew Goldberg, senior vice president of marketing and strategy for Dialogic, speaking to a press release copy-writer, said, "While many value-added service (VAS) providers are ramping up to offer video chatting, photo messaging and media-rich data, their customers still demand texting services. Carriers face a worldwide problem when message delivery fails or traffic exchange misses the mark. With Dialogic's solutions and training, VAS providers can deliver unparalleled excellence for end users at every level." <b>5. Commscope's Turnkey FTT Antenna package</b> <a href="">Commscope</a> announced a packaged service for installing those Remote Radio Units that are taking off around the world. The service, which Commscope calls Fibre to the Antenna (FTTA), is part of the company's aim to ease and standardise installation up towers. "The top of an antenna tower is one of the more challenging places to work, especially when you are adding active components while protecting existing systems," said Stan Catey, senior vice president and general manager, Cable Products, CommScope, and a man who has probably not been up a tower himself for a while now but clearly has some strong memories of doing so. For rather more detail on RRU installation, see this : <a href="">informative and clear blog post</a> <b>6. Telstra Outlines LTE Expansion</b> Australia's Telstra announced that it will be hitting another 200 towns with LTE in the next six months. CTO Brendon Riley said taht would give Telstra 85% population by the end of the year. "Last August, we committed to extending our 4G coverage to 66 per cent of Australians by June 30. Having met that target, we are now committing to have superfast services in place for 85 per cent of the population by the end of the year by upgrading another 1500 base stations before Christmas," Riley said. That would mean that LTE has been deployed at a total of 3,500 base stations. <b>7. Noc noc, who's there? Huawei, that's who</b> Huawei, which has been hitting back hard against national security allegations in the USA, has fewer problems in other parts of the world. This week it announced it has won a contract from Zain's Saudi Arabian subsidiary to provide a single vendor solution for its Network Operations Center (NOC), which is responsible for monitoring its network traffic. As part of the agreement, Huawei will take over responsibility for the management and operation of the Zain NOC, converging all existing services and technologies and monitoring network traffic. This includes 24/7 monitoring of the performance of all services to enhance subscriber quality. The agreement is for three years. Zain SA has the managed services bug and recently signed a 3-year contract with Ericsson for managed field-services. en-us How to sell to operators? It's not just who you know (although that helps) <b>How to successfully sell to telecoms operators</b> <i>By Paul Nolan</i> The telecoms industry is in a well-documented state of flux. Consolidation, competition and cooperation conspire to create new commercial and technological challenges. Vendors are facing some of the toughest trading conditions ever. It has never been so difficult to 'sell' to operators. It's not just uncontrollable macro-economic factors that are frustrating vendor sales and marketing efforts. The manner in which operators buy has changed. Increasing complexity, consensus buying, third party consultants and the professionalisation of purchasing are all critical, disruptive trends. However, many vendors are not changing how they market and sell in response to new operator buying habits. In fact, many vendor sales and marketing efforts are dated and disconnected. Vendors are wasting valuable time, effort and money - but don't know it, or perhaps worse still, do know it but don't know how to change. To address the challenge, we undertook a comprehensive analysis of operator procurement processes, interviewing both operators and their advisors as well as examining market influence studies and media research. The goal was to reveal the communications platforms that drive vendor inclusion in operator procurement, the influencing factors when shortlisting, and the critical factors in vendor selection. <b>What are the most influential platforms that drive RFX inclusion?</b> The analysis shows that the most reliable way for vendors to be included in an RFX is to have an existing relationship (direct or via a partner) with that operator. Operators, perhaps unsurprisingly, demonstrated a clear comfort in dealing with those vendors already known to them. A number of operators and consultants also described an informal process of advice gathering and reference checking between operators. The vast importance of peer relationships stresses the importance of industry networking to build and develop important connections. This has given rise to a number of exclusive initiation-only events targeted at business leaders with the power to make purchasing decisions. Outside of existing supplier and peer relationships, professional analysts are also critical in building influence - both internal business analysts and external industry analysts. Internal analysts have become the eyes and ears of the business units they serve, reading, filtering and sharing knowledge gained through trade media, analyst and vendor research. Industry analysts have also become essential aides for vendors selling to operators - both through report compilation and consultancy services they deliver to operators to help build RFPs and perform due diligence. Despite rumours to the contrary, industry events are still valued by operator executives when it comes to technology decision making. Media articles are also listed as an important part of the armoury, especially given their influence over the other communications platforms such as internal analysts and tradeshows. <b>What factors influence operators' shortlisting of potential suppliers?</b> Operator executives were asked to rate in importance a series of factors that could influence whether or not vendors were invited to take part in RFXs. Yet again, having a previous relationship and familiarity with the supplier was rated the highest influencing factor. The reputation and market profile of a vendor was the second most influential factor on RFX selection and shortlisting. Anecdotal conversation suggests that the manner in which this reputation and profile is 'realised' is through channels such as media prominence, positioning in analyst reports, award wins and presence on the speaker circuit. <b>What factors influence which vendor is finally selected?</b> Price rears its head at decision time - but not as one might expect. Operators (and consultants back this up) are more concerned about value than price. They want to understand costs saved, revenues generated, business models advanced or protected, or opportunities created as a result of a particular vendor's solution. They want to understand how vendor X enables something bigger, and addresses a real business challenge they face as an operator. Price alone is one of the least influential factors. The ability of a vendor to prove its capability to deliver is critical. Operators are unwilling to take 'chances' on untried and untested vendors and technologies, they are trying to mitigate risks as much as possible. They value references, case studies and third party backing at this stage of the process. Finally, demonstrating practical vision through a roadmap for future solutions and post-sales support is a critical hygiene factor. Substance - demonstrating value, delivery and understanding are more important at this stage in an RFX process. <b>How can vendors better engage with telecoms operators?</b> At a high level, the research reveals that successfully selling to operators depends on the interplay of three primary factors: influence channels, content and messaging: 1. Influence channels: direct, in-person communications platforms, supported by strong indirect platforms, are the most effective for securing involvement in operator procurement exercises 2. Content: a combination of relevant insight and/or new perspectives as well as thought leadership and cost/benefit analysis are critical in demonstrating vendor understanding of operator challenges, and being shortlisted 3. Messaging: demonstrating the vendor's relevance and uniqueness in a manner that makes it 'real' for operators, especially when it comes to decision time Inertia - the failure to learn these lessons and change current approaches - will limit the success of vendor sales and marketing teams. To combat this inertia, vendors must reset their expectations of how operators buy. They must rethink their approaches to lead generation and sales support and reconnect with their audiences in a more meaningful, powerful way. To succeed, sales and marketing teams must expect and demand more of each other. Accessing and influencing the operator procurement process is intensely challenging for vendors today - but it can be done extremely effectively. It demands a symbiotic relationship between sales and marketing functions and the integration of various communications to deliver the campaigns that will make the difference. Paul Nolan is Head of Telecoms at CCgroup. To access a copy of the white paper <a href="">Click here</a> en-us <a href="">Click here</a> for full infographic from CCgroup Six mobile network stories from the week <b>1. NTT DoCoMo getting close to 20Mhz/150Mbps launch</b> The Japanese carrier said it was verifying 150Mbps LTE ahead of commercial launch in October. Sounded interesting so we asked for more details. First off the operator told us it was achieving this by using 4 time 20MHz carriers, which sounded a little odd - that's a lot of spectrum right there, wider than the actual band has available. Then we got a reply confirming that actually the 150Mbps is 20MHz of contiguous spectrum at 1.7GHz, using four 5MHz bandwidths, which makes more sense. In any case, NTT DoCoMo's approach will see it providing a theoretical max downlink of 150Mbps LTE across many areas by October, in a move that is similar to EE's "Double Speed" launch this summer - and reflective of other operators that have 20MHz to play with. <b>2. Infonetics says brighter days ahead for networking and "datacoms" vendors</b> This week's bit of market thinkery from Infonetics took on the entire telco and datacom vendor market. The prolific analyst said in its <a href="">Telecom and Datacom Network Equipment and Software</a> report that the market only "held steady" in 2012, following good growth in 2010 and 2011. However, things are set to pick up a bit, with 4.9% CAGR until 2017. That five year period would see service providers and enterprises spend $1 trillion on equipment and software. Jeff Wilson put the impending growth down to "network transformation" projects. Michael Howard, co-author of the report, wrote: "Asia Pacific took the lead in telecom and datacom equipment spending in 2012, and we expect the region to continue leading at least for the next 5 years, contributing more than a third of global spending through 2017." So who is winning the lion's share of this trillion dollar market? Well, no surprises that the top names are Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent. <b>3 Big data SON, no customer name</b> Optimisation and telco data churner <a href="">Actix</a> released details of a customer use case in Asia where it is processing every single call from the operator's 20 million subscribers and providing a geo-location for each call. That means it is analysing and geo-locating 150 million call and data sessions and billions of messages every day. Why? Well, the operator is using the analysis to troubleshoot and resolve issues within its RAN, and also to plan and optimise its network. Actix can't name the operator, but if you know an Asian carrier with 20 million subscribers and an enlightened approach to customer experience and network optimisation, you can form your own ideas. Neil Coleman, Director of Global Marketing, Actix, wrote in his press release: "Understanding subscriber experience is a pivotal challenge for the operator. Geo-located real-time subscriber data is no longer a specialised activity for just network optimisation; only through accurate interpretation of data, delivered on a national scale, can true insight be gained by the operator to ensure coverage and capacity are provided where they are needed most, delivering the most effective subscriber experience." <b>4. Lollaksi says to MVNOs: start offering cloud-based back up to your customers</b> <a href="">Lollaksi</a> is coming to market with a solution that will let MVNOs provide cloud-based back-up and storage services. The services icalled DeMa-X, and it lets operators sync data on Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry and Symbian devices through a single content management platform Its not the first cloud-based, data storage and synch solution to have a crack at the mobile operator market. Funambol and (now Blackberry-owned) NewBay Networks have both offered something similar. Like these companies, Lollaksi believes customers will pay for storage and synch of content and contacts, and also stick around longer if their carrier offers them such a service. "Apple iCloud users now top 300 million users and buying additional storage costs from GBP14 to GBP70 per year. This gives an idea of the kind of revenues that MVNOs should - and could - be taking for themselves," Lollaksi's Laxman Karnam bemoaned. Laxman, we feel your pain. We've been round this block before, but operators find this stuff difficult. Still, your approach to making the network resource element of this as simple as possible is useful, especially to the MVNO market you seem to be targetting. <b>5. Conform conform to OpenFlow</b> The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced its OpenFlow Conformance Program, giving vendors an opportunity to demonstrate compliance with the OpenFlow specification, a standard protocol developed to enable a Software-Defined Networking (SDN) architecture. The ONF said that its Certificate of Conformance would be the highest level of assurance available in the market today to validate compliance with a particular version of the OpenFlow specification. Vendors can earn an ONF Certificate of Conformance for networking hardware, including switches and routers, as well as network software. ONF has selected the Indiana Center for Network Translational Research and Education (InCNTRE) as the first independent lab approved for ONF OpenFlow Conformance testing, and additional labs are currently in the accreditation process. To obtain an ONF Certificate of Conformance, vendors must contact an approved test lab, complete an application form, and work with the lab to define a mutually agreeable schedule for product delivery. So what? Well, conformance around approved test cases and standards is a sign of development and maturity in the industry. SDN-related standards are not nailed down, so an effort to provide this sort of conformance validation from one part of the industry creates momentum, and the perception of momentum, around OpenFlow. More information about the <a href="">ONF OpenFlow Conformance Program</a> <b>6. Location, Location, Analysis</b> <a href="">Ruckus Wireless </a> announced that is has acquired YFind Technologies Private Limited, a provider of indoor positioning and real-time location analytics. Ruckus said it wanted to enable new location-based services by combining its Smart Wi-Fi technology with YFind's range of location based services and analytical capabilities. That would turn Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi networks into location-intelligent infrastructures. Analytics-driven enhanced location services are a hope for many in the carrier WiFi space. O2 WiFi for instance sees traffic offload as minor part of its WiFi strategy, and is building out a range of services based on the location and user analytics it can derive from its carrier wifi properties. <a href="">Cisco's</a> vision for its SP-Wifi is also built upon this vision of enhanced user and network intelligence. Ruckus' acquisution of YFind can be seen absolutely as of a trend with the industry at the moment. en-us Operators risk wasting millions on under-threat EU roaming project By July 2014 operators must comply with the EU Roaming Regulation known as Chapter III (<a href="">REGULATION (EU) No 531/2012</a>) that outlines the creation and operation of Alternative Roaming Providers (ARPs). Operators must offer two standardised wholesale roaming access services to Alternative Roaming Providers (ARPs): Single IMSI and Local Break Out services. Alternative Roaming Providers are the proposed entities that will offer competitive roaming services to EU mobile subscribers. The idea is that ARPs will introduce competition into the roaming services market, thereby lowering prices for consumers. For example, a French national subscriber to Orange who travels frequently to Germany and the UK could make a separate contract with an ARP for all their services when they are travelling - instead of automatically paying Orange's roaming charges. The service must enable the use the user's same number and the same SIM. Additionally, all of a user's domestic services must be supported by the domestic operator when the subscriber is attached to the ARP - that means continuity of voicemail, call forwarding, USSD and messaging support, local break out of data, regulatory control of content and so on. Additionally, when the roamer moves out of the area of control of the ARP to a third country, systems and control must be handed back to the "home" network provider. What that means for operators is that they must change their systems behave, so that they can deal with providing signalling, charging, billing, security and other information between their own infrastructure and the exterior ARP that is providing roaming services. A visited network will request authentication from the home network, data and voicemail addresses, monitor and control balances and so on. Support for these interfaces is to be provided through gateways or service broker platforms. One company TMN talked to said that depending on the scale and volume required, the technical changes could run into the millions per operator. OpenCloud's Jonathan Bell, VP of Product Marketing, said that although the actual equipment spend is likely to be around the GBP100,000 mark, the level of integration required with billing, charging, and subscriber data elements (such as the HLR) means projects will run into the millions. There are also likely customer care costs as operators support subscribers looking to find information on or fix issues with signing up to ARPs. Operators must make the changes or face fines. Yet there is a danger - or a likelihood depending on your view - that this is investment that is more than likely to be wasted, as the proposed ARP market is unlikely to ever happen on a large scale. en-us Tellabs outlines capex savings of SDN in the backhaul Earlier this year Tellabs released a report compiled on its behalf by Strategy Analytics that suggested that operators were facing a $9 billion shortfall in mobile backhaul investment. If operators were to Today, Strategy Analytics has come back to the table and said that if SDN technologies were applied to backhaul, operators could effectively save themselves $5 billion of those capex investments. <a href="">Tellabs has the report available here, plus blog posts and other items, including a video with the report analyst Sue Rudd. </a> The outline of the report is that by allocating resources dynamically, adopting a centrally controlled architecture, operators could save themselves about half the capex required if they were to achieve the same results by investing in dedicated resources. The paper outlines five use cases in the mobile backhaul where SDN could bring those capex advantages: Metro Aggregation/Load Redistribution, Local Breakout/Internet IXP, Wi-Fi Offload/Video Redirect, Cloud RAN, Small Cells. What we are seeing then, is a vendor arguing the case for lower capital investment, whilst hoping to position itself as well-equipped to help the operator make those savings. TMN asked Tellabs' Stuart Bennington, Director of Global Portfolio Strategy, if what we are seeing with SDN is a smaller pie, but a chance for vendors to change how the pie is served. "That," he said, "is an astute observation. The question is whether you view that as a risk to the business or embrace it. The realistic thing to do is to map your portfolio to meet the requirements that operators have as they transition their networks to ones that are very optimised to content and applications." <b>So what will vendors compete with, in this SDN world? </b> "With SDN is that this market becomes about software, so companies with a background in innovating in software in specific areas will have an advantage," Bennington said. "It's a great equaliser when you are competing in the arena of ideas rather than economies of scale on hardware." For Tellabs, that means it can leverage its specific knowledge of management techniques for backhaul, and also its multi-layer management capability (from optical up to Layer 3). "Tellabs has a 20 year background in mobile backhaul, we've learnt that the glamourous technologies are not the most attractive to operators. For example, with specific management techniques for mobile backhaul like automatic cell site reparenting, you only appreciate that if you have the heritage in mobile backhaul," Bennington said. Finally, SDN will give companies an opportunity to work with operators on demonstrating that it can enable a creative business model, Bennington said. An example of that is the five use cases highlighted above. That background has given Tellabs the opportunity to undertake to major proof of concept SDN trials, due to start with Tier 1 operators later this year. The trials will use Tellabs' edge and metro routers, and its network management solution to trial aspects such as assigning dynamic priority on an application basis, defragmentation of the network to consolidate connections that are not being optimally used, and multi layer network slicing to create virtual pieces of the network across different layers based on the end user. Tellabs equipment compatible with the OpenFlow control protocol will be used to trial all these SDN capabilities, Bennignton said. But the approach will be phased. For example, Tellabs sees its network manager product evolving into a controller that configures and orchestrates the network, rather than merely acting as an element management tool. And its important too to recognise that Bennington and Tellabs see SDN as being about much more than capex savings - in times there will be greater opex savings from application aware networks, and even the golden goal of enhanced service and revenue opportunities. For now, the desire of operators to achieve cost reduction and operational flexibility through the application of SDN is challenging vendors to assess how they will play, and how much of the new pie they will be sitting down to eat come dinner time. en-us Courtesy of Tellabs Fair Play for Android For a long time operators have argued that selling the iPhone is expensive, with less margin and fewer hardware guarantees than Android phones. Moreover, some are also frustrated that they do not have any influence over the content, apps and branding on the iPhone. For Japanese giant NTTDoCoMo it was enough to <a href=""> stop them selling iPhones altogether</a> as they "want to create a lifestyle system" and have control over the entire user experience. DoCoMo's resistance contrasts with holdouts in other markets that are giving in this year to the demand for iPhones. T-Mobile US Inc's CEO said its April release of the iPhone filled a "huge void" in its line-up and China Mobile Ltd, the world's largest mobile carrier by number of subscribers, is moving to upgrade its service with 4G technology to allow the 10 million of its customers who already own the iPhone to connect to its network. However, despite its market strength and dominance, Apple has gone further to upset many operators by reducing demand for ARPU-generating SMS and MMS services, with the introduction of the popular iMessage app that apple users can use for free across any IP network. <b>Winning Hearts And Minds With Wifi Freedom </b> It is somewhat ironic, therefore, that Apple provides such a good Wifi service to iPhone users, making sure that iPhones give priority to operator Wifi networks and automatically logging users in. More profitable (for operators) and arguably more loyal Android users do not enjoy the same privilege. Operators can, however, offer their Android users the same WiFi freedom and benefits with the WIQ app created by <a href="">Birdstep</a>. With WIQ user can connect to any Wifi network and get more speed, data and value out of their subscription. Not only does this app mimic the automatic nature of the iPhone but it also serves older phones with the same functionality, extending value for users and the operator alike. <b>Telia: Providing That "Little Extra"</b> Telia in Sweden provides most users with free Wifi with Telia Homerun as part of their subscription. The Wifi data offered by Telia is not limited in speed or volume and can provide users with that "little extra" - especially in cities where many users on the cell network in the same place could make the network suggested. However, many users are not aware of this and even those who are find it difficult to access from their Android phones. <b>WIQ</b> , however, changes all that. Any Telia user can now log into Google Play and <a href="">download WIQ</a> and even if not on the Telia network, users can immediately and effortlessly enjoy smart Wifi and save their batteries wherever they are. While it's a challenge to treat all smartphone users alike, across so many different device types, it is definitely time for operators to give back to the Android community with the Wifi freedom they deserve. en-us Ericsson CTO says industry must come together to define 5G <b>1. On what 5G means, and how to get there. </b> <i>"Everyone needs to come together and say, 'What is 5G and why do we need it?'"</i> We are normally the sort of player that talks about the industry, not so much that we have developed a high frequency radio that can transmit a lot of Bits. We have done that, but it's not a press release for us. Most important for us is to come out strongly and say we are in the definition phase for 5G. There's no use to come out and talk about individual radios and so on, that is not the point. 5G needs everyone to come together and say "What is 5G and why do we need it?" I mean operators have to be convinced that this makes sense, so we say that Ericsson's view is that 5G is what is needed to build a networked society with all the sort of super high-requirment apps and things we believe the networked society will have. For a while everyone has been hyping all the things that can be done: everyone exceeding everyone else with visions of remote medical operations, and cars and traffic management and smart cities and whatever. All these kinds of ideas are really good but we are coming into the implementation phase of how do we do all this: build a network to enable this. Yes the first things are radio coverage and bandwidth but the extra things are the protocols and security of those networks, how safe are these things, can we trust the networks and so on. This is a licensed network industry; frequency licenses have been given to the industry by nations, and originally they were there for voice and we built a grid for voice. Now, because we are seeing 100% year on year growth of data in the network, regulators are much more in a role to connect industry with users rather than regulate to keep costs down on voice services. And as that is happening we need to see networks as facilitators and enablers of a new society. So if we are going to build sustainable, green cities then the network needs to be extremely safe, very trusted, put the right Bits through at the right moment, and therefore we need 5G to be the evolution of technology to really make this work. And that will require new protocols, for instance, we can see we will need a lot of enhancements to were we are today with LTE technology. <i>"This is how our industry innovation is different to IT"</i> Being able to round the industry up around that is very important. This is how our industry innovation is different to IT where it is more proprietary per company. Through these projects we work on research, take patents that we license to each other using FRAND and eventually everybody can build tech that fits together and is inter-operable from day one - in order to build really relevant networks for the world. (That has been the approach for network interoperability, but it kills services innovation - TMN) No, for services it doesn't work. Service innovation has to happen on top of networks. In Ericsson we are really rounding up the role to make networks more relevant; if we don't many of these services will never happen. <b>2. How many network providers can make a business out of enabling this new networked society?</b> We see already that most working markets have 3-4 operators today. There are markets with more, Hong Kong for example. In Europe we are a little bit behind, waiting for consolidation to be stronger in Europe. That's a general view of the market - not an Ericsson view. Over-competition is partly also preventing in Europe the introduction of new business models in terms of being able to charge more for data, less for voice. We're stagnating a little bit in some, I stress only in some, of the European markets. Some of them are evolving. It's important to understand this is a data centric business and the busines models have to reflect that. Operators need to open up and let innovation come from cloud players, from the cloud. Take the connected car, all the stuff that will benefit from a connection in the car, engine management, navigation, entertainment, eventually remote controlling the entire vehicle, all those things will not come from operators, it will be the car manufacturer that has the cloud. So each industry is here to take the benefit of these kinds of technologies, and our industry will not have a clue about what they will be doing but they will be doing it over our network. <b>3. So how will those network providers differentiate themselves, as enablers of cloud-based innovation?</b> We are seeing operators talking about differentiating by providing better performance. For example Telstra, they are marketing themselves in terms of performance. The reason for that is that this is now about data, and so we have gone back to talking about the network. Even now over 40% of all traffic on networks globally is video, and our prediction is that 60% of all traffic will be video within five years. Operators know that people using video already are comparing between operators and they are differentiating through that. If you go back a couple of years ago, no-one was differentiating on performance, everyone was talking about their services and so on. For Ericsson that is very good news because what we do is build networks. <b>4. Talking about this networked society - 5G if you like - world, what levers can the operators look to pull to achieve that network differentiation?</b> That's where we are coming to and we can really see the difference between operators. They [operators] are getting more and more different. Some operators are getting to those discussions, what the OSS/BSS systems can do, how they will evolve them to support that, how that links to SDN technology, reprogramming of the network, service chaining, how video services can be provided better, the service chaining discussion talking about caching into the network where it is controlled from a central point of view on service, subscription, user... That's the dialogue we're having with a handful of operators and they are reaping the benefits. But it's not all operator conversations we have, there are many that are not. en-us A model of one of Ericsson's proposed new multi-million dollar ICT centres Refreshing networks: the move towards the next G Today's subscribers have heightened expectations and will continue to demand a positive customer experience from their mobile operator. The more innovative and personalised the technology or service, the better the quality of service required. By planning, optimising and managing networks, operators can ensure a high-level of performance in a scalable environment for the long-term. There are several technologies and physical cell site developments that can assist an operator in ensuring they retain subscribers as the wireless industry evolves. Historically, each generation of mobile networks has been assigned a new frequency band and wider spectral bandwidth per frequency channel. However, following the 4G rollout, there is now little room for new frequency bands or larger channel bandwidths. Because of this spectrum scarcity, we see <b>spectrum agility</b> as playing a major role in future network evolution. That is, networks that can intelligently adapt to take advantage of free or lightly used spectrum, such as that currently reserved for military transmissions. This is often labelled a <b>"Self Optimising Network" (SON)</b>. A software layer would control network hardware to actively switch transmission frequencies to the least crowded spectrum available. This would allow operators to ensure that subscribers receive the fastest possible upload / download speeds, even in crowded urban environments. <b>MIMO</b> (multiple-input, multiple-output) will be a crucial tool in increasing spectral efficiency for cell sites in LTE networks and beyond. MIMO improves capacity and other aspects of network performance by using multiple antennas at both the cell site and the user's handset. One dual-polar array is commonly used as a base station antenna to provide two-way transmit and receive signals. Operators are currently examining the benefits of adding a second dual-polar array to enable four-way transmit and receive, or eight-way in the still longer term. MIMO offers significant increases in data throughput and link range without additional bandwidth or increased transmission power. Two different streams of information are transmitted over the same radio channel using two separate antennas, or two different polarisations of the same antenna, to achieve an array gain that improves the spectral efficiency (more bits per second per hertz of bandwidth). The same technique can be used to improve link reliability by transmitting the same steam of information through two antennas, creating a diversity path to combat fading or other types of interference. First generation network architecture kept base station equipment in shelters, where they could be held in a protected environment. One major technology enhancement has been the development of <b>Remote Radio Head (RRH) technology</b>. This allows the radio head to be separate from the base band and provides significant flexibility in deployment. The RRH can be mounted in any number of ways, however mounting close to the actual base station antenna reduces some losses in the system and can potentially improve signal strength. The trade off here is that the antenna is always the highest point of the site, so a closely mounted RRH inherently creates some new risks given the harsh environment and expense of site maintenance and repair at the tower top level. One trend in the industry is the integration of the RRH and Base Station Antenna into one physical implementation. This proximity reduces loss, yielding greater efficiency as well as power, space and wind load savings. However, despite the potential gains of deploying more flexible, integrated solutions, their maintenance requirements are often more complex. This can increase the likelihood of longer network downtime in the event of a hardware failure. For example, if a radio in an <b>integrated antenna</b> fails, an operator must decouple the whole assembly from the tower to effect repairs. On a traditional tower, the operator could simply remove and repair the radio, while leaving the antenna untouched. Site acquisition has been a major problem for operators since the earliest days of mobile networks. This is likely to continue, given the limited space available in urban situations and on cell towers. 'Small cells' has become an often used and often misunderstood term in the industry. The rationale behind small cells is simple. Clearly network capacity demand will out strip current architectural limitations and require new approaches. Simply adding more cells reaches a point of saturation so new ideas are required. Therefore, we expect to see a continuing trend towards the components in cell sites being made smaller and more integrated, so that more revenue-generating equipment can be deployed. One thing we can be certain of is that the future holds more complexity for mobile networks and more crowded airspace, meaning that robust, expertly engineered infrastructure will be crucial to the success of the next 'G' and beyond. <i>Phil Sorksy is VP of Wireless Sales, Europe, <a href="">CommScope</a>.</i> en-us Amdocs and Actix speak on each other, and on acquisition plans Yesterday, telco software provider Amdocs announced that it had bought Actix, a provider of network optimisation solutions, for $120 million. Amdocs is best known perhaps for its BSS (billing, CRM, etc) solutions, but it also sits on some network facing software, such as planning and network design and of course it has policy and control elements through its past acquistion of Bridgewater Systems. So why go to the market for a network optimisation player and provider of centralised SON software such as Actix? In the <a href="">press release</a>, Amdocs made note of the following: <i>Amdocs will be expanding its CES (Customer Experience Systems) portfolio with geo-located network data that will drive a variety of optimization use cases. The acquisition will position Amdocs as the first vendor to offer customer experience-driven network optimisation based on a holistic view of the customer experience across all networks, BSS and OSS (business and operational support systems). </i> So what does that actually mean in terms of what Amdocs will do with Actix's software? TMN asked Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president of product and solutions marketing for Amdocs, three questions. <b>1. Why the deal? What does Amdocs want from Actix and how do you see it fitting into the business?</b> RP: This acquisition enables Amdocs to expand our Customer Experience Systems (CES) product portfolio so service providers can combine real-time network and customer insight to offer a differentiated customer experience. We're striving to integrate the knowledge held in our OSS, BSS and policy solutions with customer insight gained from the network to deliver a holistic customer view. Actix brings the capability to extract this network insight with the industry's first and most widely deployed multi-vendor, multi-technology mobile analytics and optimisation platform which delivers geo-located network intelligence. This means Service Providers will be able to take more proactive and intelligent actions to deliver an optimal customer experience, whilst best utilising their network resources. They will be able to differentiate with geo-located network-driven customer experiences like never before. <b>2. How do you see this impacting on Actix's product development and on its customer relationships?</b> For the next few months we expect the Actix roadmap to remain the same and the Actix team will be focussed on growing their existing business and the exciting roadmap items they already have planned. With minimal development in the next few months we can offer new solutions for network rollout using Actix to identify locations, Amdocs automated rollout solutions to rapidly and efficiently roll out or split cells etc, and Actix to assure quality in network acceptance. We see Actix assets as a strategic addition to the Amdocs product portfolio which we intend to continue to offer, as well as invest in as future product. We will develop sophisticated customer experience use cases such as proactive customer care, congestion policies for target customer groups and location based campaigns, but this is part of post merger integration planning to determine timing. In terms of the acquisition impact on Actix customers, Amdocs and Actix share multiple customers and we firmly believe this acquisition will further strengthen these relationships, provide cross-sell opportunities, while allowing us to combine our capabilities to better address their biggest business challenges. <b>3. Given Amdocs has now taken the route of in-housing Actix's solutions – what will be different in terms of your solutions vs integrating or interfacing with third party network data sources.</b> RP: The reason Amdocs decided to acquire Actix, rather than partnering, is that Actix does significantly more than just collect and analyse data from the RAN. They provide powerful analytics, visualisation, have the ability to modify the radio experience and are designed to take information from BSS, OSS, and other network sources such as probes. This means we can and will build solutions and IPR that can measure, view and modify the customer experience on the network taking into account a broad range of customer experience inputs. The acquisition also enables Amdocs to offer independent vendor-agnostic solutions for the management and optimization of all networks including 2G, 3G, LTE and small cells. This means service providers can identify key locations for new cells, automate the rollout, carry out network acceptance and monitor the result. Being network agnostic provides an objective view ensuring maximum ROI for the Service Provider. en-us Amdocs and Actix are seeking to bring network data closer to operators' customer and service strategies Video processing heading for the cloud Mobile operators are being offered cloud-based, high density and high efficiency video and media processing capability through a partnership formed by platform provider <a href="">Kontron</a> and video specialists Vantrix and Vanguard Video. The SymCloud Media platform features Intel Core i7 processors, enabling processing of H.265/HEVC encoding simultaneously with transcoding from Vantrix using the graphic engine. Kontron's Sven Freudenfeld said deploying video processing in the cloud, using OpenStack cloud management techniques, would be a more optimised use of resources for operators that are facing increasingly high media handling demands. Devices with high screen (1080p) resolutions and support for top end codecs such as HEVC will be increasingly common, he added. Added to that, integrated WiFi coverage will mean devices will be be able to support high codecs over WiFi, as well as LTE connections. The platform will offer up to 144 live transcoded 1080p videos per 2RU using only 750 Watts, or 5.2 Watts per channel, he said. "The key items in the SymKloud Media platform are, first, its high efficiency video codec support - so by using the graphic engine we are not touching the CPU. The second portion is its deployment of OpenStack cloud management, allowing the platform to be more optimised and also to scale up and down efficiently. And the third portion is higher channel density with Intel Haswell, where we can achieve both great scale and higher channel density within a 2u platform," Freudenfeld said. "To date the intricacies of HEVC have required much more processor power than H.264," said Irena Terterov, <a href="">Vanguard Video</a> CEO. "However, the harnessing of 4th generation Intel Core technology and Kontron system expertise has shown us the tremendous cost versus performance potential to make HEVC in cloud infrastructure very viable. Clients will possess improved cost controls and power efficiencies, even when faced with wildly fluctuating traffic volumes that require on-demand resources." "While HEVC is in an early evolution phase, it will quickly become the de facto codec as the Ultra HD era catches on, driven by both the production and consumer side of the business," said Jean Mayrand, <a href="">Vantrix</a> CTO. "We are just scratching the surface of what can be accomplished with cloud-based video delivery, media processing, etc. and are working on how to better support providers to provision all of this in today's cloud infrastructure for the best overall channel performance per watt." The platform will be demonstrated at Intel's "TV from Cloud to Home" booth during the <a href="URL">International Broadcasting Convention</a>. en-us Tackling LTE interference without harming performance In the 3G era, three to five different frequency bands provided worldwide coverage for mobile phones. However, as spectrum worldwide is reclaimed from legacy analogue TV, government and military users, 4G services are being deployed across a wide frequency range from 450 MHz to 3.6 GHz, but in an increasingly fragmented and country-specific form. This frequency band fragmentation (4G is already deployed in over 20 frequency bands worldwide) creates some significant technical challenges for handset manufacturers and network operators. One of the key challenges introduced with the greater band fragmentation is a higher risk of interference. The fragmented nature of LTE spectrum allocations has meant that several LTE frequency bands are located in highly congested parts of the spectrum. Certain bands have ended up in very close proximity to previously allocated bands, which has led to high interference risks. Operators with high-risk bands have to meet stringent regulatory performance metrics for interference - usually expressed in terms of Adjacent Channel Leakage Ratio (ACLR) - which may be up to 10x more stringent than the normal 3G/4G interference requirements. These requirements are currently achieved by applying Maximum Power Reduction (MPR) techniques to limit the RF output power from the handset, which results in decreased handset performance, call dropping, and ultimately poor quality user experiences. <b>High interference risks</b> There are several examples where these high interference risk situations occur. At higher frequencies there is a lot of spectrum congestion, particularly in the 2.3-2.7GHz range, with LTE bands 7,40 and 41 being very close to the ISM band used for WiFi and Bluetooth, and bands 7 and 38 adjacent to each other. At lower frequencies a prime example is in the US 700 MHz network, where Verizon's band 13 is directly adjacent to the nationwide public safety broadband network in band 14, which has been licensed with a view to creating an interoperable wireless circuit for first responders such as firefighters, police and paramedics. The close proximity of the two bands, with only a few MHz between them, has meant that interference risks are very high. In all of these examples interference has the potential to severely degrade the quality of communications, or even to cause dropped calls. In the case of bands 13 and 14 this means there is also the potential for a serious threat to public safety as a result of interference risks. Handsets and networks operating in these high-risk LTE bands are therefore required to meet stringent additional regulatory performance requirements for ACLR. The 3GPP specifications support network signalling messages (NS) which inform the handsets that additional interference mitigation is required, and handset vendors must also test their handsets against local specifications from regulatory organisations such as FCC and Ofcom. <b>Current solutions degrade performance</b> Currently the only practical way for handset manufacturers to mitigate the potential interference and achieve necessary ACLR levels in the handset is to apply MPR. This involves 'backing off' the transmitter by constraining the maximum output power from the handset power amplifier (PA) to less than the target 23dBm maximum output power level the standard demands. For example, the NS_07 signalling used in the Band 13/Band 14 interference case allows the PA to be backed off by up to 12 dB, in addition to the 1-2 dB of MPR permitted for high bandwidth transmissions. <i>This could result in a handset transmitting less than a tenth of the permitted power, resulting in LTE coverage significantly worse than a WiFi signal.</i> While MPR enables handsets to meet industry interference requirements, it is often at the expense of handset performance. Limiting output power in the handset diminishes the efficiency of the handsets, reducing battery life. It also results in decreased network coverage as reducing output power results in the network being uplink limited, whilst still posing a slight interference risk. With traditional RF technology the only way of counteracting the problems introduced by MPR is for operators to deploy a larger number of basestations. Clearly this is not an ideal solution. <b>Envelope Tracking vs MPR</b> Envelope Tracking (ET) is a technology that has the potential to provide a solution to these network implementation issues by enabling handsets to meet and exceed industry interference specifications without the need for MPR. ET is a power supply technique that replaces the fixed DC supply voltage to the RF PA with a very high bandwidth dynamic supply voltage, which closely tracks the amplitude, or "envelope" of the transmitted RF signal. Although primarily intended as a technique to improve the efficiency of the RF PA in handsets, ET also improves the RF performance of the transmitter. The nature of ET systems means that the linearity of the PA is controlled digitally, enabling more flexibility in the trade offs between output power, efficiency and linearity. As a result of this greater control, ET-enabled PAs can deliver more output power, higher data rates and fully EVM/ACLR compliant waveforms at full output power. This eliminates the need for MPR with no risk of causing interference and no degradation in handset RF performance. By eliminating the requirement for MPR, ET enables handset manufacturers and operators to increase coverage, data rates, and network capacity - delivering far better RF performance to users without the need for extra basestations. Jeremy Hendy is VP Sales & Marketing, <a href="">Nujira</a>. en-us Nujuria's HAT envelope tracking technology is one proposed solution to interference challenges HOW ROAMING PACKAGE MAY MAKE US ALL ROAM-ANIANS The thrust of what we know is: 1. Incoming call charges while travelling in the EU will be banned from 1 July 2014. Companies have the choice to either: OFFER phone plans that apply everywhere in the European Union ("roam like at home") OR ALLOW their customers to "decouple" and opt for a separate roaming provider who offers cheaper rates. 2. There's also a price cap on making calls. For mobile intra-EU calls, the maximum price would not be more than EUR0.19 per minute (plus VAT). The EC said: "In setting prices, companies could recover objectively justified costs, but arbitrary profits from intra-EU calls would disappear." So, adios roaming (within the EU) as we know it. Of course, the news that Europe wants to do away with surcharges or premium pricing for roaming is not, in fact, news. The elimination of the roaming premium has been a stated goal of the Digital Agenda since the EC started consulting on this stuff towards the end of the last decade. What we are looking for now is exactly how the EC sees this going ahead in a way that is technically and economically feasible. It's fair to say that it has kicked around a few options to date, and we are still unsure quite how it sees things working out. When the EC and Kroes first placed on the Agenda the commitment that roaming surcharges would go by 2015, what then happened was a discussion about how to go about eliminating roaming fees. Operators were absolutely mortified at suggestions that a flat pricing control would be placed on them - so the Commission came up with a "market focussed" approach (now known as the "decoupling" option). It would tell operators that they must allow their customers to choose, if they wanted, another operator other than their domestic operator to provide them with roaming services. Competition would then likely drive the roaming price down to domestic levels. Result: operators face losing the roaming premium with the added integration and technical, legal and regulatory hurdles of supporting an alternative providers' roaming market. BEREC, the association of national regulators, was asked to consult on the feasibility of the creation of this alternative roaming market - and on how it could be structured. (There were lots of technical discussions at this point about local breakout, APNs and the rest of it, including the news that enterprise Blackberry users would not be supported). In fact, arcane technicality aside, BEREC wasn't too keen on the idea from an economic/market standpoint, doubting if the creation of such a market would have the impact the EC would like. But it conceded that it could be technically feasible, and its concerns were not enough to derail Kroes' team from pushing ahead with the idea. Operators were told they had until July 2014 to get their systems in place to enable the operation of this alternative roaming market. They had no choice but to comply, even if many of them <a href="">doubted that they would ever seriously have to have systems in place</a> to support millions of roamers connecting to their networks and being billed by alternative roaming providers. Meanwhile, alongside this creation of a competitive roaming market, leaks and reports suggested that Kroes was keeping alive the prospect of the price-led approach - ie flat out price controls that take "the market" out of it, and largely mandate the "roam like at home" approach. If this went ahead, what was the point of the alternative roaming providers? Well, what we have seen the EC announce is something of a merger of the two. It has said to operators, "If you reduce roaming charges to the same as your domestic tariffs, we will exempt you from the requirement to enable the alternative market. But on the other hand, if you don't, we'll make it so your customers can choose another provider." It's a sort of belt and braces approach, or a choice of two roads that both lead to the same destination (a case of all roads not leading to Roam, if you like). To make the "roam at home" packages easier to structure, the EC proposed that operators will be urged to form and join roaming alliances covering large swathes of the EU. Kroes wrote in a <a href="">blog post </a> that we would see "measures to encourage those deals onto the market as soon as possible". In other words, operators are faced with losing their roaming premium one way or the other, but at least the alliance approach means: 1. They avoid the regulatory, legal, technical and financial hurdles of enabling a competitive roaming market - a market where competition could only be based on ever-lowering prices (so that roaming prices could even in effect be lower than domestic prices) 2. Although roaming tariffs will be the same as domestic tariffs, at least operators will keep hold of those remaining revenues, rather than face losing them to competitors. However, there is still considerable uncertainty about how a no roaming premium blanket approach could work. Let's look at an alliance that structures a price plan so that a consumer can travel to a bunch of countries whilst paying the same as they do for domestic calls. The following becomes apparent. <b>1. Certain operators couldn't afford it.</b> Let's say you are an operator in Romania or any other country where price plans are currently considerably lower than the northern and western countries. Your customer travels to the UK, and you must pay (as part of the alliance you have joined) that visited operator a wholesale price for that call that is more than the retail price you can charge your customer. That's no good for the Romanian operator. Perhaps, then, the visited country's wholesale price needs to come down - to make it economically viable for the Romanian operator to offer "roam like home" to its customers. But to give the Romanian operator any sort of margin, it then destroys value for those "expensive" operators who are being asked to provide minutes at a price that may be less than their cost of production. How will a roaming alliance take account of this cost of production differential? Will roamers from cheaper countries be acting as value destroyers? Perhaps we see now why the alternative roaming provider comes in. Will it be that groups will form alliances of like-priced operators, where contractual interconnect deals will not be so difficult to structure, and then outside of that if you want a roaming deal - well you can go and find an alternative provider. <b>2. Permanent roamers?</b> You are a UK customer, resident 365 days (or near enough) a year in the UK, who buys a Romanian SIM, paying Romanian prices for voice, text and data (cheaper than any UK operator offers). You are then effectively a permanent roamer in your "home" market. Orange Romania cannot charge you a premium - because there can be no surcharge for roaming within the EU. It must offer you "roam like at home". Or if that is not an option, you contract a roaming contract from an alternative provider outside the UK, and roam constantly whilst living in the UK. One intermediate proposal that might lessen the impact of 1 and 2 above, is the idea of a tariff that allows any roamer to roam not at the price of their home market, but of their visited market. Analysys Mason, where James Allen (Head of Regulation) and Tim Harrabin (Senior Advisor) have been considering these matters, calls this approach "roam like a local". As we have seen, though, the EC is committed to "roam like at home", not like a local. Another aspect to consider is that Group operators may be much better placed than their smaller competitors, given their ability to structure cross-group price deals. Are smaller operators to be placed at a competitive disadvantage, bringing only a small number of minutes to an alliance, at unattractive margins? Finally, is there another unintended consequence looming? If operators cannot charge a premium for roaming, perhaps they may feel it's time to up their domestic prices to the level of the roaming price cap. Then would the many (those who are non-roamers) be paying more because they are in effect "subsidising" the few (roamers). How does that play for the agenda of digital inclusion? So what we still need to see from the EC is what those "measures to encourage deals to come on the market" (Kroes' words) actually are. Saying you will do something is indeed, the easy part. We need to see how it has considered the potential knock-on effects on the business models of wholesale pricing within the EU, and what it will do about it. Without such measures, perhaps there will after all come a day when we will all be Roam-anians. en-us ExteNet Systems to present innovative approach to delivering mobile connectivity indoors <a href="">Register for Webinar</a> The implementation of indoor wireless system can be costly and take a long time, and the performance might not meet your objectives due to practical impediments. iDuct is a patented method utilising existing infrastructure within a facility, namely the HVAC duct system, to distribute the RF signals throughout the building. HVAC duct systems are designed to distribute air evenly throughout the facility in a similar manner as the objective of a DAS is for RF. The webinar will discuss the theory and practical implementation of iDuct. This event is a part of iBwave's In Building Talks <a href="">webinar series</a>. Presented by TORMOD LARSEN, Vice-President, Chief Technology Officer, <a href="">ExteNet Systems</a>. en-us News Tuesday: small cells, NFV, TD-LTE, enterprise services and more <b>SpiderCloud gets buy-in from Vodafone Netherlands</b> <a href="">SpiderCloud</a>, the company that provides its E-RAN radio-node-plus-controller architecture for in-building and campus coverage has been selected by Vodafone Netherlands to provide services to its large business customers. The company's E-RAN system consists of a Services Node (SCSN) that is connected to the operator's core network, and in turn controls multi-access small cells installed through a building or site. SpiderCloud says the architecture is the cheapest and quickest way for operators to be able to provide enterprise services to their large business customers, as well as providing high capacity coverage. SpiderCloud has been in testing and trials with the operator, so will be pleased to see it gain buy-in from group entities. "Vodafone is taking a leadership role in solving in-building connectivity problems for business customers in the Netherlands," said Ron Pelley, SpiderCloud's Vice President and Managing Director, EMEA. "With SpiderCloud's scalable small cell system, Vodafone can meet the demands of enterprise customers of all sizes." <b>AirCom lands LTE planning deal from Orange France</b> <a href="">Aircom</a>, one of the last independent optimisation and network software companies left unattached, has announced that existing 3G customer Orange France has been using the company's ASSET network planning solution to plan its LTE network. "Aircom has proven to be a very reliable partner to Orange France. The company's detailed and accurate LTE modelling made it the perfect choice for our LTE planning needs," Fadi Abou Karam, Radio Planning Tools Project Manager at Orange France, said. "The integration of ASSET with our existing software and systems will ensure the benefits we enjoy across our GSM and UMTS networks can be easily applied to our LTE infrastructure." <b>Radisys wins LTE-TDD small cell design deal</b> <a href="">Radisys</a> announced that Chinese developer Z-Com has selected Radisys' TOTALeNodeB small cell software solution for its small cell LTE-TDD (Time Division Duplex) network deployments in China. "We selected Radisys' TOTALeNodeB small cell software because of its expansive features set and clear roadmap for TDD support," said Jim Gao, CEO, Nanjing Z-Com. "Radisys' TDD solution supports integration on next-generation small cell silicon, providing us with a time-to-market advantage." Z-Com will roll out LTE-TDD trial deployments in the first half of 2014 for Chinese mobile operator, CMCC. The initial focus will be on the Enterprise small cell market, supporting 32-64 users. en-us Software Telco Congress - The NFV Event <b>November 20-21, 2013, Santa Clara, USA</b> <a href="">Register for event</a> Virtualisation has taken the IT world by storm but to date the comms market has been mostly unaffected - relying instead on proprietary appliances for numerous functions. A recent industry push to establish network standards virtualisation will potentially shake-up the telecommunications market even more than the move to IP communications. As network hardware begins to be replaced by software, carriers are expected to save money and benefit greatly from new levels of flexibility related to hosting their network in private and virtual private clouds. Moreover, this move to software will open up the market to new players who may not have had the deep pockets needed to develop proprietary hardware and new carriers will be able to quickly scale and compete as they won't have to load up on costly central office equipment to get started. <a href="">Register for event</a> en-us Rising tide of LTE investment floating many boats: LTE vendor analysis Reuters last week reported Huawei's claim to be on target to make <a href="">$2 billion from LTE contracts</a> in 2013, having made half a billion from LTE in Q1. Its most recent win saw it chalk up a major <a href="">($727 million over six years)</a> contract with TDC in Denmark. The vendor is also expecting to benefit from contracts in China, having been named as one of nine suppliers to China Mobile for its TD-LTE network. Not surprisingly, perhaps, InformaTM placed Huawei and Ericsson at the top of the LTE market, saying that the companies <a href="">share between them 74% of the total market</a>. A statement from InformaTM said: <i>"According to Informa's calculations and data provided and validated by vendors, Huawei has accounted for 40% of network contract awards, and Ericsson has accounted for 34%. NSN follows, with 17%, and ALU, ZTE, Samsung and NEC have attracted a total of 9% of allocated contracts between them."</i> Elias Avarantinos of Exelixisnet, which has just produced its own <a href="">report on LTE investments </a>told TMN: <i>"Ericsson will experience a slight decline under intense competition from Huawei pressure that will try to scoop all new LTE deployments with its main target to acquire larger deals. "However it is estimated that Ericsson will maintain its leading position in 2014 due to the large Tier 1 operators contracts, followed most likely by Huawei instead of NSN."</i> Avarantinos also pointed to China as a key battleground. <i>"Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent are the big winners of China Mobile's contract. Overall, Huawei, Alcatel Lucent, Samsung and ZTE are expected to be the protagonists, gaining market share and momentum by the end of 2013. That pace is expected to continue in 2014, with main driver China Mobile. NSN's strong territories, North America, Japan and Korea might stand weak if no new deployments arise and Huawei could surpass, climbing up to the 2nd position. Samsung and ZTE will continue to be the outsiders in 2014, depending mainly on a large number of developing market contracts that are much smaller scale compared to the top three LTE vendors."</i> Huawei itself claimed to have won 196 commercial LTE network contracts and deployed 93 commercial LTE networks worldwide, of the total 200 commercial networks in operation globally (<a href="">GSA Evolution to LTE Report, August 2013</a>). Not that third placed NSN is done with fighting its corner when it comes to the numbers game. The vendor, fresh from <a href="">launching SFR's LTE network</a> just this past weekend, claimed that it now has <a href="">92 LTE references of its own</a>. Alcatel-Lucent, counted as an also ran by many of the analysts, still claims to have five of the top ten global vendors as LTE customers, and a total of 35 commercial contracts. Despite not doing so well in France as it would have hoped, it was recently boosted by <a href="">Telefonica's 8,000 base station contract in Spain</a>. It was also one of only two vendors reckoned by ABIResearch to have <a href="">reported a sequential growth in RAN equipment revenues in 2013</a>. The other vendor to have done so was Huawei. A rising tide may float all boats, however, even if some boats are larger than others. Infrastructure spending on LTE will nearly triple to $24.3 billion in 2013 from $8.7 billion in 2012, according to research firm IHS iSuppli. IHS iSuppli estimated that Chinese LTE spending would peak in 2014, with operators splashing $6.3 billion on LTE equipment - nearly double their 2013 investment. Infonetics <a href="">released a report last week</a> that claimed that vendors recorded $3.3 billion in revenues from LTE in Q2 2013, up 17% on Q1 2013 and up 119% year on year. This round of LTE investment might even make 2013 the <b>peak year for macrocell infrastructure spending</b>, Infonetics calculated. en-us Ericsson aims for small cell mid-market with The element, that it is naming the <a href="">Radio Dot</a>, is an antenna that looks a bit like a smoke alarm and is connected to connected and powered via LAN cables to indoor radio units that link to a base station. Conceptually, the Radio Dot System seems to sit somewhere between a femtocell and a full blown DAS. As a remote antenna sitting connected to a "home" base station, it's like a very scaled down version of the Cloud RAN integrated antenna architecture that vendors are developing for dense urban environments. The antenna also supports "traffic steering" capabilities that will enable it to be integrated with both macro deployments and carrier Wifi elements, Ericsson said. Indeed, Ericsson's marketing is positioning Radio Dot as an answer to a gap in the market between very small cell solutions, and large DAS deployments. An <a href="">infographic</a> from the company claims, "Currently there is no mainstream technology that offers a complete and optimised solution" to this market segment. Perhaps a closer companion to Radio Dot might be <a href=",-NFV,-TD-LTE,-enterprise-services-and-more.html">SpiderCloud's E-RAN</a> system, which also deploys remote radio nodes that are powered off the LAN, although in this instance SpiderCloud adds a local controller node that interfaces directly to the operator's core network and is also intended to act as a services node. The E-RAN is also targeted not just at mid-range deployments, but at large campus style deployments as well. More details will be available later today. en-us The Evolution of LTE TDD: free eBook to download <a href="">The Evolution of LTE TDD</a>, the second of TMN's eBook series produced in association with Radisys is now available to download. LTE TDD is a technology that is rapidly gaining awareness globally, as operators seek to meet increasing user demands whilst extracting full benefits from their spectrum assets. From high capacity downlink media streaming to broadcast services, from in-building small cells to backhaul, LTE TDD is a mode that enables operators to develop and support dynamic new use cases in a fashion that is interoperable with other 3GPP network standards and requires little additional infrastructure investment. This eBook seeks to answer the question of "Why now for TDD? Why is this asymmetric mode rising up as a priority, when it was so little deployed within 3G networks?" Download <a href="">The Evolution of LTE TDD</a>. en-us Launch of Mapping The Mobile Network Today we are announcing the launch of a new project from The Mobile Network - <a href="">Mapping The Mobile Network</a>. <b>What is it?</b> What we want to build is a visual directory of the elements that make up the mobile network, and the companies that supply those elements. Mapping The Mobile Network will map key elements within the network, building up a series of maps that will function as a resource to enable users to drill down on an element or section of the network, understand how it relates to the wider network and to discover more about the ecosystem of vendors and suppliers that support the network. We are starting with a sector-based image of the network. Click on any one area and you will see the elements that go to make up that area. Click on an element, and see: - a map of how that element relates to others in the network as well as a description of that element - links to content (both from TMN and other outlets) relating to the element - information about the companies that play in that area. The map will also be searchable by company: click on a company name from our list and see where it plays in the network. <b>Why are we doing this?</b> It's going to be hard work, but we think if we get this right then this navigable, visual representation of the network will become a key resource for the mobile network community. There isn't anything quite like this available at the moment - certainly not something that maps the ecosystem (companies) as well as the network itself. Also, it promises to throw up a lot of interesting discussion points. How do you map the spaces "in between" networks, the interfaces and interconnections. Going forward, how do you map network function virtualisation, or SDN elements. And we are not solely listing the elements themselves, we want to portray the functions of the enabling test, optimisation, control and assurance technology. <b>Who can get involved?</b> We aim to build the map by working directly with suppliers and vendors, and other experts, and also to draw input in a crowd-sourced manner. To find out how to become involved in the project, and to ensure your company is listed and mapped correctly, please contact the address below. All listings, mapping, and submission of information is completely free. <b>When is it launching?</b> We aim to go live in early November. We view this as an ongoing project not a static one-off definition of a moment in time. We want, to borrow a hackneyed phrase, to make this about the journey as much as the destination. <b>Partnership</b> The project already has backing from our launch partner Tektronix Communications, who saw what we are trying to do and also the match between the project and its own approach to providing visibility into the mobile network. We'd like to thank Tektronix Communications for its support of this key resource for the mobile network community. As we progress, we anticipate other opportunities for sponsorship becoming available. For more information on submissions and sponsorship opportunities, email en-us NSN spectrum sharing trial shows increase in bandwidth NSN has said it has successfully completed a live trial of Authorised Shared Access(ASA) that began in <a href="">April 2013</a>. Earlier this year, NSN and the CORE+ consortium conducted what they claim was the world's first spectrum sharing trial of ASA on a live 2.3GHz TD-LTE network. The ASA concept allows mobile operators' networks to share frequency bands from other types of incumbent systems, such as government agencies or TV broadcast networks, while guaranteeing quality of service for both. "The benefit of ASA is that it provides both the technology and regulatory framework for sharing spectrum," said Marc Rouanne, executive vice president, Mobile Broadband at NSN. "Our trial showed that operators can get up to 18% extra bandwidth for mobile broadband networks cost effectively. This technology works with existing LTE and TD-LTE networks and does not require specific software for the end-user devices, making it easy to deploy and transfer the benefit directly to the mobile customers." For the live trial, NSN deployed its network elements in three Finnish cities: commercial Single RAN Flexi MultiRadio 10 Base Stations in Ylivieska, commercial Core Network in Oulu and commercial NetAct network management system in Tampere. Spectrum sharing using the ASA/LSA concepts is currently under study for regulation and standardisation in Europe with a special focus on making the 2.3 GHz band available for TD-LTE networks by sharing with incumbents depending on national conditions. CORE+ (Cognitive Radio Trial Environment, phase 2) is a Finnish research consortium that consists of three research organizations and seven industry companies including Nokia Siemens Networks. en-us De-risking SON deployments with network emulation The density and complexity of mobile networks is increasing rapidly to cope with exponential evolution of user traffic, mostly driven by smartphones, connected applications and video streaming. LTE is an answer to these challenges with a new, very flexible transmission technology associated with many innovations. It enables heterogeneous network architectures mixing macro cells and small cells for extended coverage and capacity. This extended flexibility compared to previous network generations comes with increased complexity for the network operation activities, in a landscape under stronger and stronger cost reduction pressure. SON is a solution to manage the complexity and decrease OPEX. We can summarise it as a network operation automation technology which focuses on three main areas: <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="6"></a> <b> 1. Self-Configuration functions:</b> this is the ability for the network to re-configure itself automatically when nodes are added, deleted or modified. One example is ANR (Automatic Neighbour Relation), a feature that simplifies the reconfiguration process required when a new cell is added to a network. <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="5"></a> <b>2. Self-Optimisation functions:</b> a recurring and automated process for the dynamic tuning of network parameters for optimal performances in changing conditions. For example, handling of traffic density migration linked to periodicity of business activities. <b>3. Self-Healing functions:</b> automatic compensation of network nodes failures, to restore the service where it has been degraded. For example, self-healing can handle the network coverage loss in case of base station outage, by dynamic reconfiguration of adjacent healthy cells. <b>The challenges</b> SON has been designed to decrease the manpower required for daily network operations, linked to new site deployments, handling of outages and fine-tuning of network parameters. Operational teams are under high pressure to deploy SON technologies, but they also need to keep the reliability of their networks, at least as the same level as before the SON era. This is highly disruptive, as these operations have been managed manually for decades with reliable workflows, whereas SON maturity has not been proven yet. There is a legitimate strong resistance for swapping proven manual workflows by potentially divergent automated processes in a field where any error can lead to big revenue losses. In France, a recent 24-hour network outage has been estimated between EUR10 million and EUR20 million in repairs and compensation to customers. Also, the growing scarcity of experienced resources in operational teams linked to the automation of daily tasks is a major concern: how to resume control of the system in manual mode in case of automation failure, when nobody owns the required know-how anymore? We can compare the context of SON introduction to the one faced by the aeronautical industry about computerised flight control, mostly driven by the need to save weight and costs. The electric flight control technology has been used since 1958, but we had to wait for more than two decades to see in 1984 the generalisation of computerised flight command in the commercial planes industry. Extensive usage of simulation associated with more and more accurate test beds has been used for technology maturation and pilots training to achieve sufficient confidence before massive deployment. In the following we will see how, as for the aeronautical industry, the mobile network ecosystem can take advantage of network emulation technologies to de-risk the deployment of SON. <b>De-risking SON deployment with network emulation</b> SON is a complex technology associating network measurements with sophisticated analysis and decision algorithms reproducing human reasoning. The outputs of these algorithms are directly connected to operational levers of the network for a fully automated workflow. As networks are heterogeneous (multiple technologies, multiple vendors), SON systems must cope with the multiplicity of protocols, data formats and interfaces. They are looking more as labyrinthine system than as a Zen garden. Also, SON technology is so strategic that vendors put it under strong secret and sell black-boxes with very limited information on internal mechanisms. This is where network emulation enters the game as a pragmatic solution to help all SON stakeholders to increase their trust and control over this new, promising technology. We have seen previously that SON is tightly linked to dynamic aspects of the network with complex use cases involving multiple cells, multiple network nodes and SON equipments in front of many users with varying behaviours and sophisticated radio conditions. So, the validation and tuning of SON should be done at full system level with conditions as close as possible to the reality, including the trickiest part which is the radio environment. Historically, tools available for mobile network testing were focused on only a few aspects of the complexity of the problem because of the limitation of available emulation technologies. Typically, up to 2009, mobile network system testing tools where spread across the following main categories: <b>System level simulators</b> used in R&D (network vendors or research labs) with very realistic models but absolutely no means to connect to real devices and nodes; <b>Radio channel emulators</b> associated to real handsets to check system performances with a limited number of users (typically a few dozens of users); <b>Load and stress test tools</b> able to generate heavy traffic (several hundreds of handsets) but with non realistic traffic, and no radio impairments emulations. All these legacy techniques are still in use but cannot cover correctly the new test cases needed for modern telecom systems. The case of SON is critical. Proving its proper operation and stability requires using a complex system test bed composed of many different boxes coming from different vendors, with all features activated simultaneously, as in a live network. This is something that cannot be fully validated with legacy techniques. Since 2009, we have seen test tool vendors coming up with breakthrough technologies able to reproduce very realistic conditions in a lab, including the radio path, under heavy traffic (several thousands of handsets). That has been possible thanks to the phenomenal increase of the CPU power and the ability to run in real-time radio propagation models on a per handset basis with a huge number of devices on chip computing platforms. It is now possible to set up a test bed able to run the most critical SON use cases with real network nodes and heavy traffic. As many SON mechanisms are based on radio measurements and cells radio coverage reconfiguration, the test bed should integrate a multi-channel radio path and interferences emulation component. It should be able to handle thousands of simultaneous different radio conditions (one for each handset/eNodeB couple). This technology can reproduce easily in the lab a very complex radio scenario so that the efficiency of SON mechanisms is evaluated with the accuracy required to trust SON systems. en-us Self Configuration and Self Optimisation: two functions of network automation Delivering 4G promise through the network with SON As competition increases and the mobile markets in developed communities become increasingly saturated, operators are fighting hard to differentiate. In the 4G age, network performance and customer experience must align to support significant investments in marketing and the improvement of customer care. The sole intention for operators is to ensure that the organisation is delivering their core brand values to their customers. <b>Meeting the 4G promise</b> Big promises are being made by operators about the service consumers can expect to receive on their 4G network, with Vodafone, for example, claiming "whether you're gaming online, streaming videos, downloading music, surfing social channels, whatever. Everything. Is. Faster." While this direction of travel is understandable, operators must remember that meeting, or indeed exceeding, customer expectations for 4G services isn't dependent on bold claims and celebrity testimonials, but on the effectiveness of the network. The critical measure is in determining whether network performance is aligning with the promises they're making and meeting customer expectations. This will be critical in reducing churn and maintaining 4G market share. Operators have meticulously measured network performance using stringent network KPIs for many years, and achieved some excellent results. Traditionally, network operators differentiated themselves based on the quality of network coverage and the resulting quality of experience they delivered. Historically this was achieved by scrutinising the performance of individual cells on a reactive basis. If a particular cell was experiencing particularly heavy usage, the operators would address the issue, regardless of the numbers of users affected or the revenue they represent. <b>Network KPIs becoming increasingly customer centric</b> In today's 4G world, operators maintain a similar stringent commitment to network performance, guided by network KPIs, but are increasingly looking to maximise ROI by incorporating customer data. This focused, more customer-centric view is crucial in determining whether advanced, automated network optimisation practices are being focused on ranking the improvement of network cell sites by customer importance. This view of customer importance is ultimately determined by the revenue they represent - either through the content they are consuming or the tariffs they are on. The introduction of LTE brings a series of new lucrative tariffs with smartphone users looking to experience the fast, rich content experience that the 4G marketing departments promise. The reality is that these LTE users will deliver so much more revenue than basic 2G voice and SMS consumers and are subsequently going to be more affronted by poor network service and be more likely to churn. en-us Orange France: one of many operators making big 4G promises Carrier Wi-Fi Meets Small Cells with China Mobile <a href="">Register for webinar</a>, Tuesday October 29, 2013 <b>Carrier Wi-Fi Meets Small Cells</b>, will be presented by Maravedis-Rethink and feature guest speaker, Mr Tao Sun, Programme Manager for Network Technology at China Mobile. China Mobile, the world's largest mobile operator, has an ambitious program for <b>TD-LTE, small cell and Wi-Fi</b> deployment. Tao Sun has worked in the small cell area for four years and drafted the enterprise femtocell specification for China Mobile, as well as co-leading the small cell project in the <a href="">NGMN</a>. He is heavily involved with the carrier's <b>Nanocell</b> project, which is focused on integrating small cells with Carrier Wi-Fi. China Mobile has already deployed about 4 million WLAN APs in the network, aiming at 6 million APs in future. It also plans to deploy 200,000 LTE base stations in 2013. Nanocell will play important roles in China Mobile's network as a cost-effective broadband solution. The webinar will offer a unique opportunity to gain details and insights into this important project, which will break new ground in LTE deployments, integrated small cells and Carrier Wi-Fi. Other topics will include small cell standards, the use of unpaired spectrum, and the future evolution of the HetNet. These insights will be complemented by key findings from Maravedis-Rethink's <a href="">MOSA</a> (Mobile Operator Strategy Analysis) and RAN Service analysts. MOSA tracks the top 100 4G operators and their business strategies, and has a per-carrier analysis of small cell and Carrier Wi-Fi deployment plans, among other topics. In the webinar, Research Director Caroline Gabriel will share selected highlights from the latest MOSA and RAN forecasts, including exclusive data in areas such as Carrier Wi-Fi intentions, the emergence of multimode small cells, and LTE-Advanced implementation. <a href="">Register for webinar</a> en-us Empirix to use deep private equity pockets to consolidate service assurance market Empirix CEO John D'Anna has said that new owners <a href="">Thoma Bravo</a> want to make <a href="">Empirix</a> a "platform company" to drive consolidation in the "fragmented service assurance and network management" space. "They [Thoma Bravo] are <a href="">purchasing us</a> to add on to us, we bring size and scale already and they can help us accelerate that - starting in that fragmented space to build something in this market place." D'Anna pointed to "significant consolidation" already taking place in this market, citing recent deals including <a href="$85-million,-adding-RAN-smarts-to-core-solutions.html">JDSU and Arieso</a>, <a href="">NetScout and Accanto Systems</a>, and <a href="">Ixia and Anue</a>. However, he added there are still a number of "smaller players than us - a bunch of different players at different levels" such as Polystar, RadCom, Anritsu and Astellia. "Then from an architecture perspective you can also look at the players in mediation, reporting and analytics - there are a whole lot of people playing there and we are interested in opportunities for consolidation and to build scale in the market." D'Anna also said it was "not outside the realms of possibility" that Thoma Bravo might look to combine Empirix with other companies it holds in the service provider assurance and OSS space. Thoma also owns Infovista, Network Instruments and Keynote Systems. "When Thoma Bravo bought Blue Coat, it also then bought Crossbeam Systems, and then moved that into Blue Coat," he added. But for now D'Anna said his job is to continue focussing on the company's existing strategy, and accelerating its growth. He added that with the trend for convergence of enterprise IT and service provider architectures, the company had a lead on much of the market. "We have significant customers both in the enterprise and service provider market, and really only NetScout has that similar coverage of the migration from the IP/enterprise to service provider customers - so that makes us different in terms of our customer base, and gives us a tremendous opportunity to pull those pieces together to be able to be more relevant in the marketplace," he added. Empirix was previously owned by private investors, including venture capital company Matrix Partners. D'Anna declined to reveal how much funding the company had taken to date. In 2002 Matrix publicly stated it had invested $29 million in a third round of funding, and was talking at that stage of an IPO. Funding details since then have remained private. en-us Call for submissions to next two issues of TMN Quarterly We've had great reaction to the <a href="">first three issues</a> of TMN Quarterly and would like to share our plans for the next TWO issues. We have developed two strong themes that are timely, topical and expand on our mission of making sense of the world's mobile networks. Please do get involved - see below for links to synopsis of all our features, what information we need and how you can get involved. We think we've created the potential for two exciting issues here, and look forward to working with you to deliver two excellent reads. <b>Issue four: The THREAT LEVEL edition</b> Issue four will look at how mobile networks respond to and defend themselves against adversity - what technology can secure networks, how are operators leaving themselves open to threat, how can technology help when disaster and emergencies strike. We're calling it the Threat Level issue. TMN Quarterly, Issue 4 will be published in December 2013. For information on issue 4 features and how you can contribute click <a href="">here</a>. <b>Issue five - The NEXT LEVEL NETWORK edition</b> The Theme of <a href="">Mobile World Congress 2014</a> is Creating What's Next and, to accord with that, Issue Five of TMN Quarterly (to be distributed at MWC 2014) will look at the Next Level Network. Our features will explore in a systematic way what the next level network will look like, what operator requirements are, what technologies will drive it. TMN Quarterly, Issue 5 will be published in February 2014. For information on Issue 5 features, deadlines and how you can contribute click <a href="">here</a>. Of course, both issues will contain our regular sections as well: From Our Correspondents, Anatomy of an Operator, Country profile, as well as updates on our <a href="">Mapping The Mobile Network</a> project. en-us What's on the agenda for Small Cells Americas? <a href="">Small Cells America, 3-4 December</a> Whether you are focussed on public access, enterprise, residential indoor or outdoor, femtocells, picocells, metro deployments, whether you are looking at Microwave, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, DAS or other solutions, Small Cells Americas covers them all. For 2013 Small Cells Americas promises more case studies and a larger conference programme remit, taking a look at outdoor deployment case studies and high capacity technology and Wi-Fi convergence. In 2013 organiser Avren Events has also expanded the conference remit by co-locating with <a href="">Small Cells Backhaul Americas 2013</a> . Over 500 visitors are expected to hear operator and service provider presentations from the likes of Hugo Lombardo, CTO, <b>Telecom Persona</b>, Dick Abanto, President and Chief Executive Officer, <b>Movilmax</b>, Will Smith, Manager, National Coverage Solutions, <b>T-Mobile</b>, Natalia Pignataro, Ingeniera en Planificacion Red Movil, <b>ANTEL</b>, Jerry LaBerteaux, Director, DAS Engineering SC Region, <b>AT&T</b> and many more. <a href="">Small Cells America</a> en-us NSN intros small cells with Het Net ambitions Nokia Solutions and Networks has released details of a new base station it will be bringing to market in early 2014. Its Flexi Zone LTE microcells and picocells will have output power of up to 5W and are about 5kg in weight. They will also include GPS and 1588v2 support for timing and synchronisation. NSN is positioning these small cells as being tightly integrated with the systems that control the macro layer, rather than seeing them as a discreet small cell layer. To achieve that NSN has said that the cells are equipped with customised system on chip technology that gives the cells the same processing capability as macro cells, meaning they can run the same software as macro cells. This makes them easier to integrate into a Het Net, NSN says. To back up the Het Net message, NSN is also beefing up its Het Net planning and design capability with an expanded analysis and planning tool that can optimise the deployment of base stations for multi-layer hot spots. It's interesting to note some of NSN's language here. One of its chosen quotes states that "Small cells have conventionally been cut down versions of macro base stations with reduced performance. In contrast, Flexi Zone microcell and picocell base stations use the latest System on a Chip technologies to deliver the same processing power as a macro base station." That "cut down" product may be true of other macro vendors' approaches to small cells, but plays down the capabilities of purpose-built small cells from other vendors. It also makes no direct mention of the remote radio, integrated antenna approach that vendors (including NSN with its Liquid Radio) have proposed for Cloud RAN installations. These would be much lower power units, connected by fibre (in most cases) to centralised baseband processing pools. The message here is, first, "accept no limitations in performance from your small cells". Second, the message is that to achieve the benefits of a Het Net operators need to look at tight integration between layers, or else co-ordination will be lacking. Third, it attempts to give operators peace of mind that they can deploy these cells as hotspot solutions, but still be able to upgrade them to denser deployments as demand intensifies. In other words, operators can deploy small cells without having to have "small cell strategy", with all the palaver around backhaul, power, access rights and interference co-ordination that entails. NSN's Flexi Zone small cell approach proposed clusters of small cells controlled by a local controller node that acted as a gateway to the macro network. Today's release makes note that these new units could also be migrated to be integrated into that Flexi Zone architecture, if necessary, but also holds out the prospect of individual cells being managed as part of an operators' overall management platform. en-us Tarana Wireless claims small cell NLOS backhaul breakthrough <a href=" ">Tarana Wireless</a> is claiming that trials in Manhattan of its AbsoluteAir Non Line Of Site (NLOS) backhaul technology have shown "unmatched" results. NLOS backhaul has an obvious advantage over line of site technologies - siting of nodes and base stations can be more flexible than where line of site or near line of site is required. In an area with lots of tall buildings like Manhattan, that can be a key advantage. A drawback of NLOS has been that it has mostly been deployed in sub 6GHz frequencies, and that means that the high capacities required for dense urban backhaul are hard to achieve. (NB There are <a href="">some claims</a> that higher frequencies can be used for NLOS microwave by making use of techniques such as penetration, reflection and refraction.) That has lead some companies to focus on providing NLOS solutions that provide greater capacities, or solutions that provide both NLOS and LOS functionality, such as the "Any line of site" company <a href="">Fastback Networks</a>. Tarana calls its technical approach Concentrated Multipont (CMP), in which a Concentrator Node (typically sited on a rooftop) provides simultaneous links to a number of End Nodes on a single channel, by exploiting Tarana's frequency re-use technology. Tarana's claim is that this provides spectral efficiency of 30 bits per second per hertz (600 Mbps across 8 links in 20 MHz spectrum) - or a simultaneous 75Mbps to each End Node connected to the Concentrator Node. This differs from other "typical" Point to Multipoint technologies, Tarana says, where capacity to the hub node is shared. The Manhattan trial tested multiple simultaneous channel links in a 10MHz channel, with Tarana claiming that full rate transmission was achieved in each case "without degradation of quality." For the tests, one end of the wireless connection was an AbsoluteAir (Concentrator) node statically mounted on top of a 40 story building. Additional End Nodes were mounted on two metre poles located on mobile vehicles. Vehicles were driven to more than 30 randomly selected locations at distances ranging from 100 metres to 3.0 km from the concentrator node. Tarana claimed that in all instances, the wireless links tested were blocked completely by multiple, and in many cases dozens, of buildings. At each location, the vehicle was stopped, the antenna coarsely aligned, and the links automatically established enabling comprehensive link quality measurements. For the spectral efficiency test, the concentrator node connected to two different EN nodes operating in the same 10 MHz channel and located less than 1 km away. Both links performed at full capacity and link quality, Tarana said. Another aspect of the product is aimed at a key issue of small cell deployment - cost of installation and ownership. Taran claims that its End Nodes antennas are self-aligning, allowing for "zero touch" commissioning. Tarana said, "With only coarse alignment at one end, all links were established, fully optimized and carrying traffic within 5 minutes of arrival at each test site. Such "instant" zero-touch installations essentially eliminate costly deployment planning and time consuming manual fine-tuning of antennas required by other products." You can request a copy of Tarana's test results <a href="">here</a>. en-us Taqua: the company with the feet first exit strategy The scene: a bland hotel lounge in London, about a week ago. Coffees are bought and brought. "We could have taken $20 million from a private equity company last December, but we didn't want it. This is a company where our exit strategy is death or retirement - everyone in this company has been around the industry, and we formed this company with the idea of it being the last place we will work." So speaks Frederick Reynolds, a man whose personal history includes time spent as VP marketing of Genband and who worked briefly at Tekelec (Tekelec acquired Taqua in 2004 and made a "textbook terrible job of integration" according to Reynolds) before GenBand bought Tekelec's switching systems business that included the ex-Taqua assets. A subsequent MBO of the former Taqua business from GenBand saw Reynolds move to become VP of Marketing at Taqua as we know it now. So Taqua, which counts Troy Aiken and Head of Greenway Investments and major Republican Party supporter Gerald H Stool amongst its backers, is not short of sources of funding, if required, according to Reynolds. Across from Reynolds sits John Hoadley, Wireless CTO, a man with his own wireless past: including spells as Wireless CTO and then VP of 4G Ecosystem at Nortel. Hoadley explains some of the relevance to mobile network services of Taqua's interworking technology. Taqua Wireless is a company that sits comfortably in the "do what" space in mobile networking. What does it do? Its convergence servers provide signalling interworking between an IP core and a circuit switched environment. The essential benefit is to be able to provide service continuity across domains - in other words to be able to have the same service across 2G, 3G, 4G and WiFi. That means you must have service synchronisation and parity between legacy circuit switched networks (3G voice and SMS sits in the CS domain), packet cores and the IMS (VoLTE and VoWifi). Taqua says that as operators move from providing this parity through deploying CSFB, SR-VCC towards full VoLTE, its signalling interworking provides the most cost means of securing this cross-domain service parity, and therefore the user experience. You can support CSFB by going in and upgrading all your MSCs to be able to support the SGs interface to the MME. Or you can take a centralised approach, which sets up an interworking function in the core to act like a middleman between the MMEs and MSCs. This is what Taqua does, with its CSFB Interworking Solution. It acknowledges that to date some centralised approaches have led to long call set-up times, but it claims that its optimised solutions have improved performance substantially. With SR-VCC, Taqua's centralised convergence server appears as a VLR to the circuit switched core, allowing 4G devices access to access 3G core features provided by the CAMEL/Intelligent Network. Voice calls that are originated on the VoLTE/VoWiFi IMS core are handed off from the IMS core network to the 3G Circuit switched network. en-us InfoVista buys Aexio: bang on trend for the smart network <a href="">InfoVista</a> has announced it is buying Malaysian software company <a href="">Aexio</a>. You can read their press release <a href="">here</a>, and their FAQs on the deal <a href="">here</a>. Two weeks ago, as he announced his company's own acquisition, <a href="">Empirix's CEO John D'Anna</a> told TMN that the service assurance and optimisation space as ripe for consolidation, predicting that a host of smaller optimisation players were liable to be rolled into companies that are trying Empirix is a "stable mate" of Infovista at private equity house Thoma Bravo. Infovista already has history in this space, having acquired Mentum just under a year ago itself. D'Anna would neither confirm or deny that there is a strategic goal of mashing together his company with InfoVista, although he said it wasn't beyond the realms of possibility. You can add to these deals the likes of <a href="$85-million,-adding-RAN-smarts-to-core-solutions.html">JDSU buying Arieso</a>, <a href=",-and-on-acquisition-plans.html">Amdocs buying Actix</a>, and going back a bit Ericsson taking out Optimi. Cisco adding Intucell and Ubiquisys also falls under the heading of "requiring smarts for added network intelligence. In the same ballpark you could also point to <a href="">Ixia buying Anue</a>, <a href="">NetScout buying Accanto Systems</a>, and getting even further towards the CEM/Big Data realm, you could cite IBM buying The Now Factory earlier this month. So what's going on? Well, the ability to "see" as closely as possible what's going on in the RF domain, and then tie that activity to location, users, services and applications will give operators the ability to view their network sliced up by any of those signifiers. Up till now, a lot of the radio network optimisation has been done on a standalone basis, almost like a separate fiefdom within operators. Now, and it may sound like a truism, there is a desire for more joined up solutions that give an operator the chance to optimise across different domains. Partly this is a "cost out" move as systems are consolidated and operating departments cut, but it's also about "revenue in". If you don't want to be a dumb pipe, be an smart pipe. If you want to be a smart pipe, you better start adding some smarts to the pipes. So radio network optimisation becomes an important part of overall network assurance capabilities. Allied to this, operators are aware that they are going to need some level of automisation to deal with their multi-layer networks - requiring a "SON" piece to achieve that vision. You want one view of the network, not a bunch of different systems feeding in alarms and KPIs in different formats and meeting different requirements. Once you have that, you need to do something with it in your network. Ideally, you do this by feeding your SON engines to make processes as light touch as possible in terms of human resources. InfoVista puts it like this: "The combination of subscriber intelligence, network performance and infrastructure behaviour data will generate strong innovation at InfoVista. It reinforces our SelfOptimizing Network (SON) positioning as well, which was already enriched last year with the Mentum acquisition." But it then goes further than that. Network assurance itself becomes a critical part of an operators' CEM strategy - a strategy that relies on "Big Data" to inform the operator as it makes decisions about network optimisation that are based on customer stats, and also to make customer offers and develop the capability to enhance third party services are based on a really clear and dynamic view of its network. So we've seen innovation in the centralised SON space be rewarded with a series of acquisitions. We're also seeing the "fragmented" (D'Anna's word) assurance space be consolidated. These companies are heading to large parents - the likes of IBM, Amdocs, JDSU and Tektronix, the major NEPs such as Cisco and Ericsson, or are seemingly being aggregated by private capital companies with a strategic exit in mind. Who will be next to buy, or be bought? en-us In the court of the product news cycle, SDN reigns Product cycles being what they are, we often see a peak in launches and announcements in the autumn conference season, with another round at or before MWC. This week, with Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam to the fore, we've seen a clutch of product announcements or launches. They encompass new technology implementations to boost capacity, to software for planning and optimisation, to advances in vendors' approaches to NFV and SDN use cases. Here, then, in no particular order, are the key announcements that crossed my inbox this week. <b>Ericsson</b> announced it had a line card upgrade path for Smart Services Router, announcing it had a new board for the router based on new processing capabilities supported by its in-house developed network processor - the SNP4000. Bit of a snooze? Maybe not. Something like the SSR is required to perform a lot more functions than an edge router of a few years back. The SSR might be required to implement application awareness using DPI, perform LTE gateway functions and terminate IP Sec traffic, network address translation, perhaps firewall and IDS. That's a lot more than the traditional L3 packet processing. In turn, that puts a strain on "traditional" network processing units, that are, according to The Linley Group, reaching "breaking point" due to restrictions in code flexibility, memory and storage, and the ability to provide L4-7 packet processing and inspection. (If you want to read more about this, see this <a href="">whitepaper from Linley that is hosted on Ericsson's site - I don't know if it was paid for by Ericsson</a>) You'll see from that paper that, in Linley's view, What Ericsson is doing is implementing a high performance processing architecture that enables it to combine the power efficiency of an NPU with the processing power of multi-core CPUs with networking accelerators. Linley Group says: "We estimate the newest multicore processors deliver about 1Gbps/W, whereas the newest NPUs provide nearly 5Gbps/W. In an edge-router line card, this difference translates directly to network-port density." According to Linley, Cisco developed the first NPU with its QuantumFlow Processor (QFP) for the ASR 1000, which was introduced in March 2008. <i>"In 2H12, Cisco shipped a second-generation QFP using 64 CPUs at 1.5GHz. Using a pair of these packet processors plus a pair of traffic managers, the ASR 1000 is now capable of 100Gbps throughputs. This configuration's maximum packet rate, however, is only 58Mpps, or slightly less than 40Gbps for 64-byte packets." Ericsson's NPU combines 200Gbps of packet processing with a 100Gbps hierarchical traffic manager on a single chip. The SNP 4000 is designed for line-rate processing at these throughputs, meaning it is capable of processing 300Mpps, as Table 1 shows. The first product based on the new chip, which will be available in 4Q13, is the 20-port 10G Ethernet line card for the SSR 8000 [that Ericsson announced this week]. By supporting a GNU tool chain and SMP Linux, these new Ericsson and EZchip NPUs enable flexibility similar to that of multicore processors. This means the chips can handle virtually any new protocol or feature and adapt more quickly to carriers' requirements. For example, the NPUs can implement OpenFlow for SDN and adapt to new versions; handle multiple applications for service chaining; provide stateful processing for features such as NAT and firewalls; deliver application visibility for billing, SLA enforcement, or bandwidth management."</i> en-us Ixia adds Net Optics to continue network smarts drive We've recently been tracking the series of acquisitions in the network management and optimisation spaces. Just last week we drew out some of the implications of the deal for Infovista and I won't go over all the bits of the jigsaw again but if you read <a href="">that piece and subsequent links</a>, you'll see that there is a visible move in the market to create consolidated tools for network management and optimisation that. One of the motives for this is to be able to enable network controllers that can act within the SDN, and to be able to analyse and respond to relevant network data to feed network management engines and controllers with good information. Additionally, there is a recognised need to be able to provide insight in an application-aware manner. Yesterday, another deal was done to consolidate in this space as <b>Ixia</b>, which not long ago bought Anue, added <b>Net Optics</b> for $190 million. Net Optics, which was founded in 1996, provides "network visibility" solutions that provide load balancing, packet filtering and the aggregation of traffic coming from a network before it is passed to security monitoring and performance monitoring tools. You can read the releases <a href="">here</a> , and a blog post from NetOptics <a href="">here</a>. I think the interesting elements from those materials are these. From Ixia: "With the acquisition, Ixia will be able to leverage Net Optics' active monitoring capabilities with their inline and bypass technologies, which go beyond passive network monitoring to deliver high availability of security and monitoring tools." From Net Optics' Founder and Chairman, Eldad Matityahu: "The combined company will be able to offer customers seamless, end-to-end visibility across their entire network. Together, we will provide customers the strongest and broadest set of network visibility solutions to confront evolving network demands." So why does Ixia want to add these monitoring capablities to its current portfolio. A note from the company said, "With this acquisition, we will begin the next chapter in our visibility story - creating a comprehensive Extensible Visibility Architecture that combines carrier-grade scalability, high performance, inline security, Taps, network packet brokering, virtualisation, cloud and SDN." Broken down, what that means is the that company wants to provide solutions that can make sense of the massive amounts of network data coming off the network, and feed the information that network controllers require to enable them to make enlightened "decisions" as they then control and manage those networks and data centres. Earlier this year, Ixia's then CEO Vic Alston, who <a href="">resigned last week</a> after Ixia learnt he had mis-stated his education experience on his CV, said that his vision was to build Ixia's portfolio to act as an <a href="">"intelligent access layer"</a> that enables operators to monitor and optimise their networks, and the applications and services that run over them. Alston told The Mobile Network that the company is moving from being a provider of test solutions, into assessment and then into monitoring and assurance. Ixia said that its platform approach will allow operators to scale their probe-based monitoring systems by providing actionable data into those systems. "We spent 10 years focussing on helping customers build networks out, with equipment manufacturers being 70-75% of the business, helping them with their product development life cycle. "In the last few years we have started to expand the offering. The rationale was that we built great products for testing technologies - take LTE as an example, in the process of building that we also built a lot of IP that can be leveraged after the deployment of LTE as well. So the idea was to start to move the business from test, into assessment and finally into monitoring and optimisation." Although Alston has moved on in strange circumstances, I think you can still view this acquisition in the light of that declared strategy. en-us How Ixia views its capabilities after its acquisition of Net Optics Operator interest in WiFi higher than ever: Ruckus Ruckus Wireless saw sales grow 17% in the third quarter of 2013, with total revenue for the quarter at $68.9 million. One aspect of interest to mobile network market watchers will be the company's success in the service provider and mobile operator market. Ruckus said it had added 20 service provider customers in the quarter, bringing its total number of SP customers up to 110. Those included several Latin American mobile operators - Claro, Oi, Telefonica and TIM - who have signed Ruckus to provide multi-operator WiFi for the 2014 football world cup. The companu also signed four "Tier 1" cable operators in Latin America, Europe and Asia. CEO Selina LO said that the company was also gaining market traction with its SmartCell Gateway (SCG) - which can be used both as a controller and in the enterprise as a managed service or cloud based wireless LAN service platform. "We added new SCG customers, including a tier 1 MNO in Asia Pacific that has migrated from their internally developed Wi-Fi management system to our SCG, as well as a large cable operator in Western Europe," she said. Lo added that LO added that revenue from mobile operator customers can take longer to realise than from cable operators or smaller WiFi operators, because they have more challenges in finding sites and providing backhaul, etc. CFO Seamus Hennessy added, "Depending on the size of the operator, especially with tier 1 operators, it can take a year for us before it really ramps up significantly...Some of them [operator contracts] are actually awfully larger than some of the activities we've closed to date. But it takes time. But what we do see is operator interest in deploying Wi-Fi in 2014 and 2015 is at the highest level we have seen in a long time." Lo said that the service provider market is still usually a straight fight between Cisco and Ruckus. "I think Ericsson in some accounts we do see them. They tend to be the more of the incumbent accounts. But most of the time it is Cisco and Ruckus," she said. In terms of product development, Lo said she initially expected "wave two" of <a href="">11ac</a> equipment to be the products that actually replaced prior releases in service provider and large enterprise environments. "Wave one" 11ac would be more about preparing the market, she said. However, interest in 11ac has meant that she now expects to see 11ac sales in the first half of 2014, rather than later in the year. The company's next generation of beam forming technology, <a href="">BeamFlex</a>, would move beam forming on from being a purely chip-level technology to one that manages and selects from hundreds to thousands of antenna configurations, building out a database of what antenna patterns are best for each device, and in real time select the most optimum antenna pattern for each destination. (Quotes from <a href="">Seeking Alpha</a> transcript) en-us Amdocs boosts Network Solutions business as it adds Celcite to Actix acquisition Amdocs has announced that it will <a href="">add Celcite's</a> managed network services capability and SON solutions to Actix's <a href=",-and-on-acquisition-plans.html">network optimisation and SON tools</a> to form an enhanced Network Solutions business unit. The two deals were executed in parallel but could not be announced concurrently due to negotiations taking place at different speeds. The Celcite acquisition is expected to close in two months. Justin Paul, Head of Marketing, OSS, Amdocs said that the company sees Actix as primarily a product company and Celcite as a services business. Put the two together, and Amdocs thinks it will have a suite of network-focussed products and service capabilities that will enable operators to better manage their networks, services and customer experience programmes. Amdocs also sees a growing need for vendor-neutral SON solutions - divorcing operators from being reliant on NEP-provided products. "Actix has 300-350 customers for its Analyzer product, and 50 for its geo-location ActixOne. Celcite has a relatively small product business but has impressive tools within its portfolio for network management and optimisation and quality assurance. 90% of its business is in managed services or IT type services," Paul said. <b>NETWORK SOLUTIONS AND THE BIGGER PICTURE</b> The companies will be merged, along with existing Amdocs network OSS assets, to form a beefed up RAN division within the Network Solutions unit that will be headed up by Celcite CEO and founder Rahul Sharma. Paul said, "For a long time, the OSS division has had three strategic pillars: the network, services, and customer experience. Prior to the Actix acquisition the customer experience part was the weakest of the pillars. Actix gives us specific use cases and capabilities on targeting customer experience with the ability to look at how the radio network is performing, allowing customers to differentiate their customers on experience." Going wider, Paul sees the Network Solutions unit plugging into a wider network strategy that brings together Amdocs' core BSS business, and its policy assets (former Bridgewater) as well as its network inventory and service activation solutions. "If you combine those you have a very strong platform for new CEM capabilities by tying in billing and network data and exercising policy control: a very strong platform big data analytics." <b>VENDOR INDEPENDENT SON</b> A further aspect of the Actix and Celcite deals is that Amdocs sees a need in the market for vendor-independent SON. Celcite has five SON contracts, Paul said, in market he described as "new and exciting". "Operators traditionally asked their own NEPs to optimise networks they provide. That seems to be a strange thing to do. Very few have stayed with one vendor across 2G/3G and LTE, and even though trend in LTE is single vendor network they often have multiple vendor for 2G and 3G. The problem in network optimisation is that most NEP solutions are tailored to their own equipment. We think it's important to be neutral to the NEP and work across multiple technologies and vendors." <b>POST-INTEGRATION?</b> So with Actix being viewed as strong in product, does that mean that product development will mainly come from those existing Actix products. "That's a good question," said Paul, "I'm not sure how to answer it as we haven't yet entered our post-merger integration talks and the details are yet to come out. Actix has a strong portfolio but that's not to ignore there are some very experienced people in Celcite as well. Within the Network Solutions unit members of the Actix team will report to Rahul, but I don't want to comment too much on post-integration. The two units will exist side by side pre-integration and then there will be an amalgam of the two in products and services capability." Other post-merger issues may include the usual working out of pre-existing commercial relationships that may conflict Amdocs' other business areas. Actix has an existing partnership with NEC to supply its SON software to that company. Paul said he couldn't answer if that relationship would continue, given there could be competitive overlap between NEC's telecoms software business and Amdocs. Some sort of commercial resolution seems likely, though. "Actix also has a deal to provide validation for a large Ericsson network in the USA," he added, "and that's not an issue going forward." For more on recent SON and network optimisation news see: <a href="">Optimisation consolidation</a> <a href="">NSN says it can do multi-vendor SON</a> <a href="'s-Ubiquisys-acquisition-could-shake-up-the-small-cell-market.html">Cisco acquires Ubiquisys (and Intucell)</a> <a href="$85-million,-adding-RAN-smarts-to-core-solutions.html">JDSU acquires Arieso</a> <a href="">Building the intelligent network</a> en-us How Amdocs broke the news on its website Software Telco Congress explores key NFV questions With standards bodies such as the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) releasing the first specifications for Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), carriers' path to software-based networks is becoming a reality. These new developments will be a part of the focus at <a href="">Software Telco Congress</a>, held November 20-21, 2013, in Santa Clara, Calif. NFV aims to simplify the rollout of new network services, reduce deployment and operational costs and encourage innovation. Software Telco Congress is designed around the benefits and opportunities that NFV presents. As network functions begin to be interwoven, carriers can place resources outside their traditional footprint in order to provide more responsive service. This capability also allows carriers to grow revenue opportunities by providing virtualised services to enterprise customers. Programming at Software Telco Congress will explore the transition from network hardware to software, and the service delivery flexibility that can be achieved by doing so. Specific NFV-focused sessions at Software Telco Congress include: <b>NFV: Making it Real</b> Alcatel-Lucent's David Amzallag, VP and CTO of Virtual Telecommunications and Cloud Solutions, will deliver this keynote presentation to explore the key attributes that are needed to build a NFV platform, the lessons learned from Alcatel-Lucent's own journey toward NFV and insights from NFV projects around the world. <b>From Legacy to Virtual: First Steps Toward a Software Telco</b> This panel discussion addresses the questions every telco should ask when beginning its more to NFV, including which cloud environment is most appropriate, how to ensure interoperability with existing infrastructure, how will a fully virtualized telco impact power requirements, what tools are needed to manage NFV and more. <b>NFV and SDN: Friend or Foe?</b> This session answers the questions surrounding NFV's relationship to SDN. Is each dependent upon the other? Can the benefits of NFV be realized without SDN? Can SDN enhance performance, simplify deployments and reduce costs of moving to a software-based telco network? <b>Is Open Source the Key to NFV Success?</b> This panel discussion will look at open source as the latest "secret sauce" to reducing costs as opposed to the traditional development of large scale networks on bespoke hardware. <b>Getting it Right: Performance Testing and Limitations of COTS</b> This panel will explore how telcos can ensure their NFV solution functions properly when moving to a software model. <b>Monetising NFV </b> Discover how leveraging NFV will allow service providers to transform their business into low-risk, high-return, innovative success stories. This session will explore how to maximize technology investments to drive subscriber satisfaction and loyalty and react quickly to changing requirements. <b>Lessons from Network Function Virtualisation Experience</b> This session draws upon the experiences of managing, maintaining and testing thousands of virtual networks across both operator and enterprise networks and in research labs. "NFV presents an incredible, monumental opportunity for the telco ecosystem. Recent specifications are alive with new business models that will allow carriers more flexibility and far less risk when rolling out lucrative new services and competing in a market where new entrants are the norm," said Rich Tehrani, TMC CEO and conference chairman. "Software Telco Congress delivers the information needed for any telco to consider the move to NFV and the education and resources to make that transformation successful." Software Telco Congress is supported by Diamond Sponsors Metaswitch, ADTRAN and Alcatel-Lucent; Platinum Sponsors Genband, Saisei and Sansay; Gold Sponsors Lemko and Netronome; and Silver Sponsors Aculab and Porta One. Registration for <a href="">Software Telco Congress</a> is now open. For the latest event news, updates and information, follow on <a href="">@SoftwareTelco</a>. en-us Creating What's Next at Mobile World Congress <b>24-27 February, Barcelona</b> The GSMA Mobile World Congress is where mobile leaders gather, collaborate and conduct industry business. Mobile is a catalyst of change and innovation, and whatever is coming next will likely be born at <a href="">Mobile World Congress 2014</a>, which this year carries the tagline, "Creating What's Next". Mobile World Congress includes a <a href="">conference</a> featuring keynotes and panel discussions; an <a href="">exhibition</a> with more than 1,700 companies; <a href="">App Planet</a> ; <a href="">mPowered Industries</a>, a new conference and exhibition programme for those in the health, advertising, media and travel verticals; and the annual <a href="">Global Mobile Awards</a> ceremony. The keynote programme will explore topics such as "Mobile Operators: New Strategies for Growth," "Mobile, Disrupted: Challenging the State of Play," "The Connected Lifestyle: Transforming Industries," and "Up Close and Personal: Mobile Identity and Big Data." In addition to the keynote programme, the conference will also include in-depth track sessions on subjects including business transformation, connected living, data analytics, developing markets, devices, future of communications, intelligent networks, mobile commerce and payments, mobile identity and privacy, network economics and network optimisation, among others. Keynote speakers include: John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Sirgoo Lee, Co-CEO, Kakao Corp. Rich Riley, CEO, Shazam Entertainment Michelle Gallen, CEO, Shhmooze Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President and CEO, Telenor Group Daniel Hajj, CEO, America Movil Jahangir Mohammed, Founder and CEO, Jasper Wireless Tadashi Onodera, Chairman, KDDI Hans-Holger Albrecht, President and CEO, Millicom Jinwoo So, President and CEO, SK Planet Mats Granryd, President and CEO, Tele2 Group Jan Koum, Co-Founder and CEO, WhatsApp Jon Matonis, Executive Director and Board Member, Bitcoin Foundation en-us Carrier WiFi: State of the Market 2013 <b>Webinar, 26 Nov, 2013.</b> <a href="">Register for Webinar</a> During this webinar, <a href="">Maravedis-Rethink</a>, in collaboration with the <a href="">Wireless Broadband Alliance</a> will present the key findings of the latest public WiFi market update, including a comprehensive global survey of the ecosystem and key industry trends. For the study, Maravedis-Rethink and the WBA carried out a detail survey covering all kinds of WiFi service providers - wireless, broadband, cable and pure-play - about their plans for Carrier Wi-Fi. This has helped create a full picture of how providers are using public WiFi to improve their business models, and how they will support future standards like Next Generation Hotspot. The survey was structured around the following key areas: Making NGH a commercial reality; Globalising WiFi roaming; Developing a Carrier WiFi roadmap for the industry; Carrier WiFi and WiFi offload strategies In addition to key findings from this comprehensive study, Caroline Gabriel will discuss the drivers, challenges and prospects for this emerging industry while Ton Brand will present the latest achievements and initiatives of the WBA. <b>Speakers:</b> <b>Caroline Gabriel</b>, Research Director, Maravedis-Rethink <b>Ton Brand</b>, Senior Director Marketing and Industry Development Wireless Broadband Alliance <a href="">Register for Webinar</a> en-us Quickly and simply deploy small cells indoors <b>Webinar, 10 December, 2013.</b> <a href="">Register for webinar</a> The process of planning, deploying and maintaining enterprise small cells needs to be significantly simplified in order for large scale deployments to be economically feasible. iBwave has taken a new and radical approach using mobile devices to ensure small cell deployments are intuitive, simple and inexpensive. In this 40 minute webinar, iBwave's VP of Products & Innovation, Benoit Fleury will present and demonstrate iBwave's solutions to plan and deploy small cells. <b>Agenda</b> - Key Challenges - iBwave Solutions for Small Cells - Demo <b>Speaker:</b> Benoit Fleury, VP Products & Innovation, iBwave <a href="">Register for webinar</a> en-us Small cells shaping a new order for future wireless networks <i>By Frank Rayal, Xona Partners and Elias Aravantinos, ExelixisNet </i> Small cells are deemed indispensible for mobile network operators who are facing unrelenting pressure to increase capacity in response to the insatiable demand for data services. As a case in point, AT&T announced that it will aggressively push to deploy 40,000 small cells by the end of 2015 under its Project Velocity IP (VIP). Yet, outdoor small cells remain an object of great debate with promises of deployments deferred into the future. This perplexing situation gives rise to a number of questions such as: What do operators see as the challenges holding up small cell deployments? What are their key requirements for small cell deployments? And, when can we expect small cell deployments to happen? A new primary research report entitled <a href="">"Small Cells New Order - a global status report"</a> by <a href="">ExelixisNet</a> and <a href="">Xona Partners</a> answers these and other critical questions based on the input of leading multinational and regional operators who answered probing questions on their outdoor small cell deployment plans. <b>Still plenty to do, as operators build confidence</b> Operators are bullish on small cells: about two third of those surveyed say 2014 is the year of deployment. But further probing reveals that important elements to the deployment of small cells are yet to be implemented. Over half of the operators who want to deploy in 2014 have not yet completed their financial assessment on the value proposition of small cells and about a third are yet to determine whether small cells will be deployed in the same spectrum as macro cells or in dedicated spectrum. This leads us to conclude that 2014 will be the year of sporadic deployments used by operators to gain confidence in the small cell value proposition and continue to assess the impact on network performance. It will be at least by 2015 that operators will be ready for mass deployment, armed with confidence in small cell enabling technologies and toolbox of solutions to the backhaul conundrum. This timeline matches the evolving LTE roadmap, specifically the introduction of interference management techniques targeted at enhancing small cell performance in LTE-Advanced (3GPP Release 10 and later) and widening scope of self-organizing network techniques (SON) critical to lowering the operating cost of heterogeneous networks which ranks atop the concerns operators have on small cell deployments. <b>A backhaul surprise</b> The cost challenge is mirrored by an equal concern for backhaul. Backhaul presents a techno-economic challenge and contributes significantly to the total cost of small cell deployments. Operators overwhelmingly prefer to use fibre over any other backhaul technology. Yet, for two thirds of surveyed operators the probability of fibre availability at the small cell location is under 25%. As a substitute, over half the operators surveyed are considering NLOS in unlicensed band, leading over any other type of backhaul. This is a striking surprise which could be explained by the availability of high-capacity affordable equipment that does not require licensed spectrum. Just as importantly, it demonstrates that operators are pragmatic in the face of the backhaul challenge. With 2013 being a year of trials, operators gave E-Band solutions a good test drive: these are the most trialled solutions for small cell backhaul followed by point-to-multipoint microwave, millimeter-wave and sub 6-GHz non-line-of-sight technologies (licensed and unlicensed bands). In effect, operators acknowledged the need of a technology toolbox of different backhaul solutions, and are still active in their evaluation ahead of mainstream deployments. Despite the anticipated delay in small cell deployments, we are at the cusp of a new order for wireless network architecture where the prerequisites for small cells such as interference management technologies, SON and backhaul technologies are firmly put in place. Small cells are just an aspect of this evolution which has the potential to shake up the industry with new technologies, business models and a supporting ecosystem of vendors. en-us Small cell deployment will be in step with 3GPP standards and backhaul developments (Image: CommScope) Ranplan plans for small cell future Small cells are coming - <a href="">maybe not until 2015 in volume</a> - but they are coming. How do we know they are coming? Because they provide too many things that operators are going to need: like deep indoor coverage and capacity (most mobile data use is indoor), "hotspot" coverage in high volume areas like stations and stadia and, just as importantly as any of these, the efficient use of available spectrum. One impact this impending small cell arrival is having is on the growth of design and planning tools for small cells. To date, says Paul Kenworthy, Sales and Marketing Manager, <a href="">Ranplan</a>, many of these tools have been glorified drawing tools that generate plans and bill of materials lsits for installation engineers. RanPlan thinks it has something different. Professor Jie Zhang, Principal Consultant at Ranplan and one of the brains behind the company, began his research into radio propagation modelling ten years ago, ingesting around $10 million worth of funding from grant bodies such as EU FP7, EPSRC, EEDA and MOST. In that time his team has built deep knowledge in characterising radio frequency propagation, enabling to accurately model radio capacity and performance in a variety of environments. Additionally, Ranplan has built up a database of building materials and assessed their characteristics, and has also characterised the performance of cabling, connectors and all the assembled structural assets of a network. It has taken that research, much of it carried out under the eye of Professor Zhang at Sheffield University, and turned it into a series of software products that are intended to automate indoor small cell and carrier WiFi installations. <a href="">iBuildNet</a>, its principal product, was formally launched in June this year. Zhang says that its use can result in 50% greater capacity - due to its optimised radio design. A <a href="">radio propagation simulator</a> sits alongside iBuildnet, providing the capability to "predict the effects of buildings and terrain on the propagation of electromagnetic waves, and to predict how the locations of transmitters and receivers within an urban area affect the signal strength." Functions include Frequency Optimisation, Cell Optimisation, Topology Optimisation and Measurement-based Optimisation to automate small cell and HetNet planning and optimisation processes. More modules that extend the functionality of the core product are on the way, probably in the first quarter of 2014. One of Ranplan's largest early customers is Huawei, which has licensed the software to carry out MIMO channel modelling, among other aspects, Zhang says. Another announced customer is China Mobile. Ranplan is also considering providing the software on a white label basis to OEMs, Zhang confirmed. en-us Aircom to be bought by TEOCO <i>By Keith Dyer</i> Here at TMN we've been charting the sheer number of deals in the optimisation and performance assurance sector. We've noted in the past that following the acquisition of the likes of Arieso, Actix and Celcite, Aircom International stood nearly alone as an independent provider of RAN optimisation and data intelligence. Now Aircom itself has been taken out by US outfit TEOCO. TEOCO is not a company I know a great deal about, to be honest, although it says it has 140 CSP customers for its analysis and assurance products, and I remember its acquisition of Israeli OSS company TTI Telecom in 2010. The company already has <a href=""> RAN Optimisation</a> and geo-location products, so it must be assumed it sees Aircom's offering in these areas as either markedly superior or complementary. TEOCO says that Aircom will give it a complementary geographical reach, but added that it is the addition of Aircom's radio network data into its existing assurance platforms that is sees as the strategic opportunity. Assessing and addressing this opportunity is exactly what has been behind the slew of recent deals. Whether it is Infovista or Amdocs or JDSU, companies know that operators need, or are going to need, the capability to feed their customer experience analytics engines with data that knows as much as possible about user, cell and location. Touching on this, as well as a other current industry concerns, Alwyn Welch, Aircom CEO said of the acquisition, "Together we will provide a portfolio to address current and emerging challenges such as SON, small cells, geolocation, and the monetisation of subscriber data." Privately owned, Aircom doesn't release financial details, although it said in a pubic release when it was bought by HIG Capital that its forecast revenue for 2011 was GBP90 million. So - another day, another deal. If you want to track back on previous coverage of this topic on TMN, you can start below: <a href="">Amdocs boosts Network Solutions business as it adds Celcite</a> <a href=",-and-on-acquisition-plans.html">Amdocs and Actix speak on acquisition plans</a> <a href="">Optimisation consolidation</a> <a href="">NSN says it can do multi-vendor SON</a> <a href="'s-Ubiquisys-acquisition-could-shake-up-the-small-cell-market.html">Cisco acquires Ubiquisys (and Intucell)</a> <a href="$85-million,-adding-RAN-smarts-to-core-solutions.html">JDSU acquires Arieso</a> <a href="">Building the intelligent network</a> en-us More small cell planning: this time from Amdocs Amdocs this week officially launched two new products aimed at the small cells market The first, innovatively called Small Cell Solution, takes Amdocs' network planning and deployment software and adds small cell parameters. Shannon Bell, Director of Business Development in Amdocs' Data Experience business unit, "The overall model for small cell deployment requires a different approach to design and engineer. It must be more automated to reduce cost." Bell said, "Compared to using the internal process tools that operators have today Amdocs' small cell planning module will reduce network roll out time by 35% and costs by 25%." Those numbers include a 50% reduction in network design time. Bell added that Amdocs arrived at these numbers via "internal testing and test case deployments." "We based the testing on simulating actual process flows for small cell deployment, utilising a catalogue-driven approach," she added. Small cell planning and deployment has been something of a hot area for the past year or so. The principle vendors, notably NSN and Alcatel-Lucent have launched services aimed at automating the entire deployment process - from network design and planning to site acquisition and equipping engineers. Other companies address elements of the process, from network and RF design, to the provision of ready-to-roll enclosures and equipment. Bell thinks Amdocs has its timing right. "We're starting to see small cells being deployed in the thousands, if not thousands a month, so timing-wise this is the right time. Small cell deployment is very different from macro deployment. There are benefits in having a vendor-agnostic tool that operators can use to deploy networks [using equipment from] across their different vendors." Amdocs has clearly been thinking about this for a while. A year ago it released the result of research in challenges operators face in small cell planning and deployment. That research claimed that operators faced a "bottleneck" in their small deployments due to restraints in planning. It added, "To optimise network performance, they [operators] will need sophisticated new network planning and management tool. Another finding of that research was that operators would need intelligent offload capabilities to releive capacity pressures. With that in mind, note that Amdocs' second small cell announcemnt is around WiFi where its Smart Net product is aimed at giving operators an "intelligent WiFi offload" capability". Bell said that solution is based on an "intelligent access controller" (ANDSF server) in the network and ANDSF device client. The ANDSF client-server control is design to sit alongside Amdocs' subscriber and policy management solutions, and is integrated into Amdocs' policy control capabilities, Bell said. That means that a network operator can make offload decisions based on its knowledge of network conditions (via ANDSF) but also on subsriber preferences and controls (policy). en-us Mapping The Mobile Network launches <a href="">Mapping The Mobile Network</a>, the site that aims, in time, to produce a visual guide to the mobile network ecosystem, has launched. At launch, MTMN starts to build out a map of the mobile network, and the companies within it. Mapping the Mobile Network is supported by launch partner <a href="">Tektronix Communications</a>. Lyn Cantor, CEO of Tektronix Communications, said of the launch, "Our goal in partnering with TMN to launch Mapping The Mobile Network, is to facilitate an up to date, highly valuable reference point of how networks fit together, the interdependencies between the various organizations that lie within, and the opportunities that can be gleaned from each one of their component parts." <b>Mapping The Mobile Network Q&A:</b> <b>What have we done (so far)? </b> We have designed the look and the structure of the site, and built out the capability to bring together elements from across the network. We have started to update our first sector, the radio interface, with schematic maps that show key elements of that sector. We have started to add company information for those companies that provide products and services within the sector. <b>What have we not done (yet)? </b> A lot. We have all the other sectors yet to fill, and we have a lot of company details to add. We also have a lot of depth yet to fill - to show the structures and relationships within the network. Also, in time we will make the map visible as a whole, and join up our element maps to become clickable. <b>What can you do?</b> Search for your company, and if it is listed or not listed, submit your company details. Contact us and suggest new elements, or details of our existing elements, for us to start mapping into the mobile network. You can follow updates on progress of the project on <a href="">Twitter</a> as well as <a href="">Sign Up for email alerts</a>. en-us Oi's plans for small cells in Brazil Boaventura works as a senior manager within Oi's technology area, providing a long term technical vision for the operator. It's a position that demands he keeps up with regulatory matters, as well as technical developments coming from suppliers and others. <b>KD: How do you view the role of small cells for Oi?</b> <b>AB:</b> I see that small cells have three main positions. First, to extend and improve coverage - mainly related to indoor. Oi doesn't have spectrum below 1GHz and small cells are therefore a very interesting way to increase coverage and caacity. We did some trials and launched an RFP in some of the areas, and now we are trying small cells in specific areas, like indoor shopping centres. Another strategy is to relieve traffic overload in general. The third area is for convergent services. Oi is fixed and mobile operator so a small cell means we can go inside the home or do something like a home zone tariff, doing a little trick on our IN platform to allow customers to use the mobile phone as a cordless phone. These are the three main strategems: indoor coverage, for relieving overload and for convergence. <b>KD: Do you see small cells as an important part of your LTE rollout? AB:</b> For LTE we are using Band 7, at 2600MHz, so that's the same situation as I mentioned before for indoor coverage, so we see indoor small cells being very important for improving coverage. Then we have a sort of small cells two phase: where we are considering deploying in Band 3 at 1800MHz. That is because for 3GPP improvements in terms of intercell interference coordination, (eICIC and CoMP) - key functionalities that should help interference management in this HetNet environment - I think in terms of state-of-the-art these will only be available one or two years from now. Until we have that environment we are considering 1800 spectrum so as to not interfere in the macro coverage environment. In terms of the vendor environment, with something like the X2 interface for handover interoperability between vendors, this is something that is the next step for the HetNet in general, that I think can be a mature solution in 1-2 years from now. <b>KD: What is the regulatory and commercial environment like in Brazil - for example things like site acquisition for small cells? AB:</b> Until recently any base station deployed in Brazil required the operator to pay a fee to government per year and also once off fee. The annual fee was round $300 per year per base station, independent of the power of the base station. If you are considering small cells for residential users that could have a severe effect, so that's the reason that small cells did not soar till now. Recently that was changed and in a new regulation they are considering another tax for small cells or femtocells of around $10-20. So I believe that based on this we have next year more and more small cell deployments around Brazil. In order to comply in general in Brazil we have a lot of municipal laws that don't allow us to create a new site: we can't for instance create a new site near to a church, school or hospital. Some places here in Brazil need a signature from at least 300 inhabitants to allow us to deploy a new base station, This kind of situation is very complex, and Brazil is creating a federal law that states what the relationship of operators in the community and society should be. Although small cells have very low power and radiation levels, one problem is visual pollution. The boxes need to have a nice skin, to look good. That is something the industry must have. <b>KD: So what do you think we will see in terms of small cells in Brazil in 2014? AB:</b> Some operators are considering a lot of small cells outdoor to increase coverage, like Vivo (Telefonica) and ourselves. I believe that in one year from now, small cells will be integrated as a network solution, not be a specific vertical. I believe that small cells will eventually replace DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems), but in general we are looking at the benefits of small cells and considering them another just another part of the solutions we have. At the moment we are assessing and co-ordinating trials for various aspects of small cell deployment, and see progress on the residential side, and outdoors in step with standards. <a href="">Portugal Telecom</a> are also doing some trials and we are in touch with those guys to make sure they have the same movement. LINKS: <a href="">Small Cells Americas</a> en-us Small Cell industry in North America about to enter sprint phase (with a small s) <i>People see the USA as a leading market for small cells now, would you agree with that.</i> I think that North America and Asia are probably both in that category. In number of deployments Asia is a little ahead but with all the major operators in the US having made public statements that they are moving out on small cells it's safe to say that North America is about to shift into a sprint phase as regard to small cells. <i>What's driving that?</i> A number of things. All the operators have shifted to LTE and so as you shift to LTE that starts to utilise the remaining spectrum that was available. Once that gets used you start to run into asking how do I continue to grow that capacity. And once LTE networks come on air, you see pockets where the capacity gets chewed up, and when that happens small cells become viable to put in place to augment coverage. Everyone thinks about capacity but the simple truth is that a lot of times you've got traffic demands in areas of moderate coverage, and that actually takes up more capacity than otherwise is needed. And so when you augment that coverage you not only improve coverage but you get back a lot of capacity to the network, so that together improves the experience for those customers but for everybody because it's giving a lot of capacity back. <i>What are the known timelines for operators?</i> From an AT&T perspective we are deploying 40,000 small cells over the next three years. If I look at Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile they've all stated in some shape or form that they're currently in trials and planning to move into mainstream deployments in 2013/14, so it's safe to say that 2014 is where everybody really starts to ramp up their game. <i>And in Latin America?</i> I would say there is tremendous interest in Latin America as well. They are developing their plans now, and I wouldn't be shocked at all to see announcements and deployments in Latin America in 2014 and onwards. They have had some regulatory rules that might have been problematic (<a href="'s-plans-for-small-cells-in-Brazil.html">read more on this here</a>) but I understand in Brazil specifically that situation has recently improved dramatically. <i>Tell us about the <a href="">Small Cell Forum's Release 2</a> , which has been released today.</i> The release has 25 new or significantly revised documents that really cover everything from the business case to deployment types, architecture, integration with WiFI, the whole thing is a pretty comprehensive package and and I'm pleased with the work of the Forum on it. We're pretty excited about that, when you think about the enterprise we are not just thinking about traditional enterprise organisations: it equally covers retail, medical, government, hotels and so on - so while we coined it as 'the enterprise', what we found is that all environments that are focused on indoor coverage are in play. <i>What's the aim with the Release Programme?</i> By creating themes we allow our 13 work groups and Special Interest Groups to focus their work effort on that theme. So through that we then put together a comprehensive package for operators trying to figure out how to take that next step. A lot of operators say small cells are critical but have a lot of questions about how to go about it. The intent is to give operators - and vendors - a 'what you need to know' guide to addressing tha. That runs from the business case, to conceptually how to design a service, to some tool that may need, SON architecture, WiFi integration, there's a comprehensive package that says if you are struggling in any one of these areas, have a look and see that there are things here that helps. Equally for vendors it highlights what the table stakes are. For example, voice. In enterprise, people often tout the value added services that networks can provide yet I think voice is still a killer app, you've got to provide a high quality and that's become crystal clear in the work that's been done. <i>What impact on the market did you see with Release 1 (the residential Release made in February 2013)?</i> We've had 30,000 downloads of various documents from R1. That certainly exceeded my expectations. We've also seen the chatter has driven a lot of incremental interest and that means we have more people coming to the table to help us solve problems. Look at our plenary, since the Release programme our attendance levels are at a record numbers. It's amazing to me to see the number of working groups, calls, number of operators participating directly - all the indications tell me that everything is clicking kind of well, we've had so much more engagement and enthusiasm to solve the problems facing the industry. en-us Getting the Best Out of Cloud RAN in LTE The early years of the twenty first century witnessed an intense scramble to capture customers with network operators offering mega deals to entice users. By the end of the decade, mobile subscription rates had risen to 128% in Europe. This left the operators with a new challenge - how to manage their networks in a way that provided the best end user experience without overloading their networks. The arrival of smart terminals and the rising demand for mobile broadband has opened a new revenue stream for operators. However, it has also increased the load on networks. The insatiable appetite for data heavy services, whether it's business applications, videos, using GPS location services or the ubiquitous gaming apps, have put even more stress on the already creaking networks. <b>LTE Delivers Capacity for Network Operators</b> The introduction of Long Term Evolution (LTE), the next generation of mobile network technology, represents a beacon of hope. It will equip network operators with advanced technology to deliver superfast connections, improved end user experience and increased return on investment. But LTE is not without its challenges. <b>LTE Challenges</b> <b>Heterogeneous networks sharing the same frequency: </b> When 3G was first introduced in the late 2000s, the technology from both generations (2G and 3G) coexisted. There was no need to rip and replace existing network infrastructure. The same principle will apply to the deployment of LTE. Thus, three generations of technology will live side by side but heterogeneous networks sharing the same frequency leads to signal interference. <b>Densely situated base-stations:</b> LTE comprises of various layers of different-sized cells ranging from big (macrocells) to small (picocells and femtocells). In order to maximise the full bandwidth capacity of the radio spectrum, operators need to support traditional large macrocells with small cells. As a result there is a higher density of base stations when compared to 2G and 3G networks. This is a major contributor of inter-cell interference and limits the transmission capacity of wireless networks. <b>Network Congestion:</b> Adding to this explosive mix is the growing demand for mobile data. According to the GSMA, by 2015, Europeans will consume more mobile data than any other region in the world. This will have a direct impact on network congestion making signal interference a big hurdle for the operators. The amalgamation of all these challenges is expected to result in an acute interference problem in LTE networks. Interference has a direct impact on the network performance, especially at the cell edge and will affect not only resource utilization but also end user experience. To ensure the substantial sums being invested in updating to an LTE network deliver the best return-on-investment for operators and customers, mobile service providers need to plan ahead. The key is to find a resolution that effectively addresses the interference problem. A solution that will break through the limitations of existing collaboration technologies, improve network performance, especially at the cell edge, without another round of investment in bearer network. en-us Cloud RAN pros, cons and disruptive potential <i>By Frank Rayal, Xona Partners and Joe Madden, Mobile Experts</i> The evolution of base station architecture to a split design comprising baseband processing and remote radio head (RRH) connected by a fiber optical cable heralds the advent of Cloud RAN. As an architecture, Cloud RAN is much more than centralising baseband processing in one location and using the fibre optical cables to connect to remote radio heads located at the cell sites. More importantly, Cloud RAN is an attempt at decoupling the hardware and software platforms of wireless base stations. Instead of dedicated hardware, operators would deploy commercial servers in data centres to run base station functions and thereby leverage the cost structure of data centres in running wireless networks. The strategic implications on operator-vendor relationship cannot be more profound as this vision allows operators more agility in implementing network upgrades and selecting between vendors. Aside from the strategic implications, there are practical and measured benefits to Cloud RAN that fundamentally centre on reducing the cost of network operations. Leaving the cost of equipment aside, there are three main areas for cost reduction: site rental expenses, energy consumption, and network operations and maintenance. These savings are balanced against the cost of the fibre optical network required to meet fronthaul (connection between baseband and RRH) capacity and latency requirements. After all, supporting 2.5 Gbps for a single 2x2 20 MHz LTE channel will not come cheap. Nevertheless, there are additional benefits in performance improvement to be had. With baseband processing located in a central location, LTE-Advanced techniques such as coordinated multipoint (CoMP) become feasible. A new report by Mobile Experts and Xona Partners entitled <a href="">"Cloud RAN: Market Analysis of Radio Access Network Evolution"</a> details the tradeoffs inherent to Cloud RAN with case studies for a North American operator without owned fiber network and an Asian operator with owned fiber network. While the availability of fiber is a prerequisite to a positive business case, determining the savings brought about by Cloud RAN show large variance to regional differences in site acquisition and rental expenses, cost of energy, and network operation practices. Under certain conditions, savings up to 30% in capex and 25% in annual opex can be achieved. In addition to savings in total cost of ownership, Cloud RAN provides a boost in capacity due to coordinated multipoint. This capacity gain will vary depending on the path (downlink or uplink) as well as on the access mode (FDD LTE or TD-LTE) among other factors (such as the location of the user in a cell as higher gain is achieved at the cell edge). While in some cases the gain is marginal, there are instances of significant gain - on the order of tens of percent - that can be achieved. This provides a further reduction in the cost of capacity in Cloud RAN networks. As networks evolve to incorporate LTE-Advanced techniques and to leverage the heterogeneous network architecture, Cloud RAN provides an alternative solution to small cells. From a practical perspective, a low power RRH is similar to a small cell, except the baseband being in a central remote location which, in this case, can be a macro cell site. While this has the advantage of greater coordination with the macro cell layer and consequent performance benefit, the disadvantage is in the constant high-capacity requirements for fronthaul (order of Gbps) as opposed to the relatively low-capacity and statistically multiplexed requirements for small cell backhaul (order of 100 Mbps). <b>Cloud RAN can be viable even if you don't have fibre assets</b> Yet, from a pragmatic perspective, the cost of the two architectures can be so similar that Cloud RAN in a HetNet configuration becomes a viable option for wireless network operators even without fiber assets. For this to become reality, wireless fronthaul solutions need to develop to meet the tough requirements for high capacity and low latency. In the year to come, we expect to see more developments related to wireless fronthaul as vendors will start focusing more energy and resources on this topic which will tend to focus on high-frequency solutions (E-band in particular) as well as on an optimisation algorithm to transport CPRI over wireless. <b>Areas for development: CPRI, offloading functions</b> We are still in the early days of Cloud RAN and much work is still required to achieve this vision. For one, commercial servers are not powerful and efficient enough to run certain base station functions. Work is ongoing to solve this problem by innovative specialists as well as established companies (Intel, for example, has been active on this front and their recent acquisition of Mindspeed provides an additional boost). A popular approach is to offload certain base station functions to a secondary processor similar in concept to the math co-processors installed on motherboards of old PCs. How to do this and what to offload is a space where baseband and silicon vendors will strive to differentiate. Other areas for development include pooling and virtualisation of baseband processing to derive greater benefits and savings from centralisation. Cloud RAN has the potential to be a disruptive architecture. It has different use cases and application scenarios that almost guarantee it will be a concept to take hold in the future where the business case is amenable. It will also energise new developments to push the limits of a number of technologies as outlined above. With the evolution of LTE to incorporate greater intelligence at Layer 2 and higher layers to expand network capacity, Cloud RAN delivers on performance in a manner the traditional distributed architecture never could. <i>About the authors: Frank Rayal is Partner at Xona Partners. He advises investment firms, vendors, and operators on wireless technology and business strategy, spectrum, competitive positioning, and market analytics. Joe Madden founded Mobile Experts in 2002 and currently works as the company's Principal Analyst for mobile infrastructure. He has worked in mobile communications for over 20 years and holds a degree in Physics, cum laude, from UCLA.</i> en-us A slice of C-RAN from <a href="">Mapping The Mobile Network</a> Towards a Converged Network: Transport Network Strategies at Telekom Austria <a href="">SIGN UP FOR WEBINAR</a> Maravedis-Rethink and Telekon Austria are holding an exclusive webinar entitled "Towards a Converged Network: Transport Network Strategies at Telekom Austria". The event will present new research findings from Maravedis-Rethink and feature Alexander Schneider, head of transport network development at Telekom Austria Group. In particular, Scheider will focus on the strategies and challenges of backhaul and IP migration. He will also will discuss other key elements of its strategy for deploying a twenty-first century network. These include small cells, software defined networking and the migration to all-IP infrastructure. Schneider's presentation will be complemented by highlights from Maravedis-Rethink's most recent research into the 4G RAN and backhaul deployment plans of the world's leading mobile providers. Research Director Caroline Gabriel will share data in areas including small cell backhaul and SON (self-optimizing networks). The webinar will offer an opportunity to gain insights into issues which are now facing many operators, and their suppliers, round the world. Telekom Austria Group is a frontrunner in European operators' move towards fixed/mobile convergence and all-IP networks. Maravedis-Rethink tracks the top 100 4G operators and their business strategies, and has a per-carrier analysis of small cell and Cloud-RAN deployment plans, among other topics. <a href="">SIGN UP FOR WEBINAR</a> en-us Two bits of whitespace news from each side of the pond In the UK, M2M-focussed vendor <a href="">Neul</a> announced that it has signed BT to test a pilot of its NeulNET network as a service play. Neul has for some time said that it thinks TV Whitespace frequencies would be ideal for cost effectively carrying M2M traffic, with a much lower cost of rollout that building out a dedicated cellular wireless network or using expensive LTE spectrum that is better suited to consumer wireless services. NeulNET NaaS has been built by Neul as a service offering that includes the management of base station nodes and terminals, authentication and security and service access and billing Neul also provides a "Connected Device Platform" portal to NeulNET for network operators' Enterprise customers, allowing them to view, manage and control their devices as a virtual private network. BT is conducting initial technical assessments of the NeulNET system, a press release from Neul said. "The Internet of Things market has huge potential, but existing short-range and cellular networking technologies are unable to meet the requirements of many applications we see. A networking technology that can provide deep indoor coverage, last for many years from a single battery, is simple to use, and comes at the right price point is essential for realizing the true potential of the IoT. "The NeulNET solution promises to deliver on these requirements, and we're excited to be trialing this over the coming months", said Mark Harrop, Director of Mobile Strategy and Wireless Cities Programme Lead, BT Plc. Neul said that NeulNet includes: <i>"NeulNET Connected Device Platform (CDP) which provides cloud-based services for managing service levels, authentication and billing together with device management. NN2510 base station for network rollout. NT1001 terminal modules incorporating Neul's Iceni RF transceiver chip."</i> Over in the USA, <a href="">Carlson Wireless</a> has different plans for TV Whitespace. It wants to use the technology to deliver rural broadband, using broadcast frequencies to deliver mobile broadband services to hard to reach areas for traditional cellular tech. It has received FCC certification for the company's RuralConnect TV white space (TVWS) radio system for use with the Spectrum Bridge TV white spaces database. Carlson's press release: <i>"This certification brings to market a long-distance, non-line-of-site (NLOS) fixed wireless broadband system. "Designed using flexible software-defined architecture and dynamic spectrum sharing, RuralConnect is authorized to transmit over "white spaces" in the UHF TV band (470-698 MHz), the unused frequencies between licensed television broadcasters opened by the FCC in 2010 for unlicensed public use." "Carlson's RuralConnect is our radio of choice for challenging rural deployments," said Ken Garnett, CTO of, a California wireless ISP which conducted one of the USA's largest commercially feasible TVWS experimental trials in 2013. "By successfully penetrating dense forests and skirting terrain obstructions where no other wireless technology is adequate, RuralConnect allows us to dramatically increase the success rate of our installations." RuralConnect utilises cognitive radio technology in collaboration with spectrum sharing databases to provide high-speed connectivity worldwide. This FCC approval authorizes use with the Spectrum Bridge database in the U.S. "Many parts of the country and world lack high-speed broadband access due to the limitations of traditional wireless network technology," said Rod Dir, CEO of Spectrum Bridge. "Carlson has been one of the staunchest advocates for rural broadband deployment, and we are proud to partner with them as they pave the way in delivering solutions to this underserved market."</i> en-us TD-LTE Summit to outline impact of TD-LTE in 2014 and beyond <b>8-9 April 2014, Singapore.</b> The <a href="">TD-LTE Summit</a> is now in its 2nd year and is set to once again bring together the entire TD-LTE ecosystem. Delivering high-level speakers and a top quality conference agenda the summit will discuss the most pivotal issues facing this emerging standard. Bringing together both TD and FD technologies, we will examine operator case studies from the first market movers and look at how they have overcome the challenges of the relatively limited TD-LTE ecosystem. TD-LTE is set to grow massively in 2014 and this summit will examine the innovations and developments making this growth possible. Attend this meeting and learn how TD-LTE will influence the telecoms industry in 2014 and beyond, meet the key players driving the innovation and debate the most contentious issues facing the industry. To benefit from the expertise of our leading speaker line up, <a href="">book your place today</a>. en-us Researchers hail long range Whitespace breakthrough Japan's <a href="">National Institute of Information and Communications Technology</a>(NICT) and <a href="">Hitachi Kokusai</a> have said that they have successfully trialled long-range broadband communications in TV white space spectrum, achieving a "historic breakthrough". The trail was conducted using <a href="">IEEE 802.22-based</a> and IEEE <a href="IEEE_802.11af">802.11af-based</a> systems, with NICT and Hitachi observing 5.2 Mbps downstream and 4.5Mbps upstream data rates over a 12.7 km link between an 802.22-based base station and customer premises equipment. In addition, NICT and Hitachi Kokusai constructed a multihop network by using IEEE 802.22 as a backbone link and IEEE 802.11af, which is connected to it, to expand its connection area. A statement from the company said they demonstrated applications such as video monitoring of roads and cliffs and video telephony in a mountainous area where there was no wired or broadband wireless Internet connection available. The companies think these achievements demonstrate the feasibility of applying Whitespace technology to provide broadband services in rural areas and to support communications in case of disasters. This trial was conducted under a contract of R&D for broadband access in white space that was entrusted to NICT and Hitachi Kokusai by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan. <b>Trial results:</b> 1. IEEE 802.22-based system successfully communicated over a 12.7-km stretch between the base station and customer premises equipment. Throughput was 5.2 Mbps in downstream and 4.5 Mbps in upstream. 2. Multihop network successfully constructed. The network is constructed using IEEE 802.22 wireless link and IEEE 802.11af wireless link. IEEE 802.22 is used for backbone link and IEEE 802.11af is used for expansion of service area. Wireless LAN, based on conventional IEEE 802.11b/g/n in 2.4 GHz band, is attached to IEEE 802.11af station through which conventional off-the-shelf devices are connected to the Internet. Using the devices, NICT and Hitachi Kokusai have demonstrated availability of web access and conversation via video telephone. 3. An original function has been developed based on IEEE 802.22 to operate in multiple channels. With two discontinuous TV channels to operate at the same time, they have succeeded in achieving throughput of 15.5 Mbps in downstream and 9.0 Mbps in upstream over 6.3 km. Additional information about the trial will be presented at the <a href="URL">Super WiFi Summit</a> in Miami, Florida, from January 29 to 31, 2014. en-us Cellwize takes wraps off revenue-aware, big data SON product <a href="">Cellwize</a>, which markets a set of SON-associated functions under the banner "elastic-SON", says it it can perform real time analysis of network level data that can automatically optimise network performance, but do so in a way that the revenue implications of network performance. The company is making all the normal steps associated with a tech start-up, attracting multi-million investment from an un-named Private Equity company, appointing a high profile Chairman with top contacts in the mobile operator space, and bringing in a mobile industry veteran from an associated field as CEO. The difference is, according to CEO Ofir Zemer, most recently of customer data analysis company Pontis, that Cellwize already has a developed, ready-for-market product, 56 employees and three live operator customers. One of these, Cellcom, it can name. The others are still under wraps, although an operator in the central Asian republics will shortly be named. So what does Cellwize do? Its data collection model is familiar enough to those with knowledge of centralised SON engines. It access 2G, 3G and LTE network data from across the network: log files from radio elements, RNCs etc., counters from inside the network equipment vendors' own products. At the moment, supported vendors include Ericsson, Huawei and NSN - the three vendors most commonly seen in Cellwize's customers' networks. Other vendors - Al-Lu, Samsung, ZTE - will be added when they need to be, Zemer says. Analysis of this data drives SON functions such as ANR, load balancing and dynamic antenna calculations. So far, so normal. It's what comes next that Zemer claims is the company's "secret sauce". In order to take into account not only what is happening in the network, but how valuable those subscribers are who are affected, it is necessary to process and correlate a large volume of data at very short intervals. "The amount of data we can process in real time is humungous because we have built a very nifty software architecture that can process an amazing amount of data, in real time, in a very small hardware footprint," Zemer claims. The company, he says, is in one current trial supporting SON use cases for 18 million subscribers on just two non-remarkable servers. "Our algorithms take valuable customer data in a specific area and we are doing optimisation according to the value of the customer, in real time," he added. In another trial, this time with a major Western European operator, Cellwize was given 100,000 customer id's to monitor and asked to optimise the network to provide the best QoE for these specific users. So how is Cellwize processing these "humungous", "amazing" amounts of real time data? Has it truly cracked the nut of real time, customer-aware, automatic network optimisation? Zemer explains what he terms the "secret sauce" of the company's data processing architecture: "We don't pile all the data inside and then start to query it, instead our algorithms sit on streams of the data and look for specific patterns. Once they are there they can start acting. Later on, we may query the database to produce reports to show what we doing. But the way the algorithms work is that we do not start by querying piles of data to work, we sit on the stream. That's the nature of the architecture, there's a lot smart engineering." <b>IMPACT AND IMPLICATIONS</b> On TMN we've written a fair bit about the amount of acquisitions of companies providing network optimisation and/or SON technology. These have included Arieso to JDSU, Amdocs buying Actix and Cellsite, Aircom going to TEOCO and Tektronix buying Newfield Wireless - all pretty recent examples. Going back further the two big marquee deals led by network equipment vendors have been Ericsson buying Optimi and Cisco dropping half a billion dollars on Intucell. We've also seen Infovista buying Aexio and joining a PE stable with Empirix. All these acquisitions have been about taking SON and making it part of something bigger than merely planning, configuring and tweaking a network. Obviously, you can still do all that, but the greater game at foot here is to take that network level information and also use it in a customer-centric way: that might be in a direct manner such as feeding customer care agents with network level information so they can see what might be affecting a user's experience. Or it might be sending subscriber data in the other direction - that is feeding SON systems with subscriber data so that networks adapt automatically and can target resources based on the revenue profile of subscribers on the network. So far, an awful lot of money has been spent on trying to plug in RAN and network-aware optimisation platforms into subscriber data platforms and, most crucially, do something with that information in real time, or as near as possible. Why? Because operators would love to be able to do something meaningful to enable them to differentiate on quality of experience parameters at a customer level. So when one company says it can do this, within a product platform that can be integrated on a couple of servers, is it too good to be true? en-us Head to the cloud to turn video from a network tax to a business asset <i>Sponsored guest post by Sven Freudenfeld, Communication Business Unit, Kontron.</i> Video is not just video, an operator could be offering up a quick clip of streaming video from a specific application like YouTube, or a conversational video from its own or a third party service, a good quality stream of a TV programme, or a download of a film. Each of these streams have different quality requirements, must be delivered over differing access technologies to devices with different screen sizes, resolutions and flash memory sizes. The in-app short YouTube clip needs to be delivered there and then (users hate buffering), but the quality of the video may not matter so much. The video conversation or conference requires low latency and excellent audio quality, the stream requires good bandwidth and the download may even be better being offloaded to a different access technology, if the user is sitting on a sketchy HSPA connection in a contended cell. A video optimisation platform does all this. It transrates video streams from source quality to output video at the appropriate quality for the connection and device. It transcodes video streams per device, and it may also apply operator policies that are based on quality parameters and user privileges. This is what platforms currently do. The issue for the providers and operators of these video optimisastion and monetisation platforms is that video - all of video - is a moving target. Today's platform is only good for so long: devices, applications, even networks are changing at high speeds. The volume of video demand, and the number of sources are also rapidly increasing. Current forecasts are that nearly 70% of all data traffic will be video by 2017. Some operators have reported that LTE traffic volume has been as high as 90% video. So the management of video traffic will be key to the operational efficiency, network performance, and revenue protection and generation of mobile networks. That means that the performance, functionality and scaleability of video optimisation platforms are crucial. This is why we have seen the introduction of cloud-based video platforms - with their offer of load-balanced and the dynamic availability of resources turning up and down to meet demand. Cloud looks to have a key advantage in the management of video traffic. We're going to see more video optimisation and management, more analytics and data processing. We're going to see more of that happen in environments that can take advantage of cloud management and orchestration such as shared resources and dynamic scaling. en-us Harnessing the value of Big Data to Deliver What's Next <i>Sponsored guest post by Inna Ott, Director of Marketing, Polystar.</i> The GSMA has chosen Delivering What's Next as its overall theme for <a href="">Mobile World Congress</a>. The theme challenges the mobile industry to deliver on the promise of a truly connected society, bringing the benefits of mobile to healthcare, education, transport, enterprise and business, government services, and the connected consumer lifestyle. That, in turn, challenges us to develop the networks, but more importantly the systems and culture, that deliver the best quality, most tailored and relevant service experiences - whatever they may be. To do this, we need to build businesses that understand and predict exactly what service is required, who requires it, where customers are, what they are trying to achieve, and that can ensure high quality delivery of exactly that service. If mobile operators cannot deliver on this vision, on what is next, the alternative is to give up control of the consumer experience, and hence much of the value, to current and future competitors. The good news is that operators already have the power to unlock this vision sitting within their businesses. The power lies in the network and customer insights operators can gain by analysing objective data captured from the networks, devices and databases deployed in the networks. This will enable them to deliver a rich insight of their subscribers' behaviour, usage patterns and preferences to build a greater understanding of and closeness to their customers. Extracting detailed subscriber information in real-time has become an integral part of the information value chain for big data analysis. By using the export and integration capabilities in Polystar's solutions, operators can benefit from even stronger big data analysis and make better sense of the information goldmine. At <a href="">Polystar</a> we are already at the forefront of enabling operators to deliver services in a quality assured and personalised manner. Polystar's Customer and Network Insight solutions form the foundation of a comprehensive Customer Experience Management deployment. The solutions help operators to gain deep insight into subscriber behaviour and to provide the best customer experience through outstanding network performance and quality. Polystar helps each operator to make sense of its unique network data and turn it into actionable intelligence. Our market-leading, non-intrusive, true wire-speed probe solutions help mobile and fixed-line operators to simplify the view of ever-more-complex network technologies, visualise an end-to-end network performance and deliver deep and specific insight of the subscriber's user experience. Polystar's Network Insight and Customer Insight solutions deliver actionable intelligence adapted to the needs of customer care, product marketing and key account management teams, as well as network and service operation, engineering, interconnect and roaming departments. Polystar's <a href="">Network Insight</a> solution enables operators to provide the best customer experience through outstanding network performance and quality. It helps operators to gain competitive edge, improve Customer Experience and brand loyalty while taking control of their networks and gaining a better understanding of the network behavior. Our <a href="">Customer Insight</a> solution enables operators to secure long-term success with customer experience management. It helps operators to gain competitive advantage by understanding customer behavior, retain the most valuable customers and assure their loyalty. It helps operators to improve overall customer satisfaction, and reduce churn. The latest addition to our range of analytics solution, <a href="">Marketing Analytics</a>, is designed to deliver comprehensive real-time subscriber awareness and enhanced business intelligence of application usage for telco marketers. Polystar's commitment to deepening our Network and Customer Insight capabilities was further underlined by joining the <a href="">Network Intelligence Alliance</a>, a growing industry body that seeks to educate the market and the public on the role and value of Network Intelligence in protecting sensitive information, delivering value-added services, applications and information and ensuring better performance of network-dependent solutions. Taking the next step to developing a network and a business that can deliver what's next starts with understanding and ensuring your customer experience, so that you can drive the future growth of mobile services. Polystar's Customer Experience Management solutions can help operators to deliver immediate value to their customers, drive revenue and grow their business so that they can truly Deliver What's Next. en-us A week in the net: WiFi, LTE-A, backhaul, deployment solutions, cloud telco <b>WiFi</b> 1. <a href="">Devicescape</a>said that its Curated Virtual Network (CVN) now has <a href="">more than 20 million</a> locations and is "on track" to have 100 million by 2017. It said growth was being accelerated by an increasing number of mobile operator customers. Its network in cities where it has the densest number of hotspots, it said, can have many more access points under management than cellular operators have base stations deployed. In San Francisco, the size of the CVN is nearing 30,000 hotspots, whereas operator deployments of base stations and small cells total no more than 350 per operator. 2. By the way, Cisco released a load of updates to its stats trove, the <a href="">Cisco VNO</a> said that mobile data traffic will be offloaded onto Wi-Fi from mobile-connected devices (17.3 exabytes per month) than will remain on mobile networks by 2018 (15.9 exabytes per month). By 2018, 52 percent of global mobile traffic will be offloaded onto Wi-Fi/small cell networks, up from 45 percent in 2013. 3. <b>Taqua</b> announced general availability of its <a href="">Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) Virtual Mobile Core</a> - a solution designed to enable carriers to offer voice and messaging services over WiFi networks. Taqua's solution enables cellular and WiFi calls from a single phone interface and the subscriber's existing phone number. The Taqua solution uses the phone's native dialler, contacts, call history and voicemail, as well as the native SMS, using the same message notifications, inbox and outbox. For <a href="Taqua--the-company-with-the-feet-first-exit-strategy.html">More on Taqua</a> see our company profile from October 2013. <b>NSN</b> 1. <a href="">Coordinated Scheduler</a> Schedulers will be crucial features to manage and co-ordinate interference between cells. Put simply, less interference means more capacity, especially at the cell edge.They are also a "battle ground" between vendors because the algorithms that drive them are unique to each vendor. NSN said its Smart Scheduler already delivers more than 20 percent improvement in cell capacity when compared to other baseline industry LTE scheduler. Now it says the addition of coordinated scheduling will allocate radio resources from base stations to neighboring sites in collaboration to reduce inter-cell interference. This leads to higher downlink speeds for subscribers, especially at the cell edge where the reduction in interference between cells produces a 30 percent improvement in downlink speeds. 2. <a href="">Carrier Aggregation</a> The vendor said that it has extended its carrier aggregation to 3 carriers, and would show 450Mbps speeds for individual users at MWC. "At Mobile World Congress 2014, NSN will demonstrate the next step in its Carrier Aggregation evolution using its commercially available Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Stations: individual users' downlink data rates of up to 450 Mbps, achieved by aggregating spectrum resources on 3 carriers for operators having a total bandwidth of up to 60 MHz." 3. Smart network operations: NSN launches <a href="">Predictive Operations</a> - a managed service that NSN says spots potential service degradations and outages with 95% accuracy. "Currently, most networks and service operations are run on a real-time basis. Predictive Operations goes a step further and anticipates potential problems, down to the network element level, before they affect the subscriber. This capability is in line with a key goal of our Technology Vision 2020 - making networks self-aware," said Amit Dhingra, head of Managed Services at NSN. 4. <a href="">TD-LTE performance.</a> NSN and Sprint said they had achieved hit 2.6 Gbps TD-LTE throughput over a single sector - beating the previous record by 63%. NSN aggregated 120 MHz of Sprint's TDD spectrum to achieve 2.6 Gbps. NSN said it is also launching a high-capacity TD-LTE baseband system module for its Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station product family that can deliver up to 5 Gbps of peak throughput from a single site. <b>Backhaul</b> 1. Canadian small cell backhaul company BLiNQ Networks announced availability of the <a href=""> X-1200 Adaptive Dual-Band NLOS System</a>, capable of simultaneously supporting licensed and unlicensed sub-6 GHz bands, and adapting to demand and environment. "Mobile operators need a flexible small cell backhaul solution that can not only be deployed rapidly, but adapts to changes in demand, environment and business requirements," said Mickey Miller, Co-Founder and CEO of BLiNQ Networks. "The X-1200 delivers capacity required to support multi-standard (LTE/HSPA/Wi-fi) small cells with minimum use of spectrum and allows carriers to deploy in street level environments while scaling to meet growing capacity and changing coverage needs." 2. Cambium Networks announced the availability of its <a href="">PMP 450 product in the 3 GHz frequency</a>, in addition to the current availability at 2.4 and 5 GHz. It said the 3 GHz frequency variation expands service providers' global spectrum options to support their customer base. Features: Frequency availability: Now 3300 - 3600 MHz; 3550 - 3800 MHz to follow in March 2014 125 Mbps of throughput per access point Dynamic Adaptive Modulation Up to 256 QAM GPS synchronization for scalability Low latency to support data, video and VoIP applications "Introduction of the 3 GHz PMP 450 brings to bear an additional 550 MHz of licensed spectrum, allowing network operators around the world to expand their service offerings with confidence, and delivers the capacity to meet the ever-growing demand for broadband access," said Scott Imhoff, VP of product management, Cambium Networks. <b>Ease of deployment</b> 1. SpiderCloud Wireless, fresh from celebrating last week's commercial go-live in the <a href="">UK with Vodafone</a>, this week too the wraps off the <a href="">EASY-30 programme</a>, a set of tools to to help mobile operators and enterprise customers identify, verify, and deploy a scalable in-building small cell system in 30 days or less. The programme follows four steps that make up the EASY acronym:: Ethernet, Application, SON and Yes. If you want to know what that means, full details are <a href="">here</a> en-us LTE MENA 2014 <a href="">LTE MENA</a> is returning with "a new conference programme including greater representation from the whole ecosystem, more operator case studies and more influential LTE experts than ever before". This last year has been one of increased growth and development and many countries in the MENA region now have commercially deployed LTE networks with increasing numbers of subscribers and rapidly diversifying service offerings. Further to this are the countries in the strategic and planning stages of deployment, ready to launch over the next few months. This year LTE MENA will look closely at the monetisation aspects of LTE and how the network can bring increasing sources of revenue to the operator. We will examine the new services that operators are providing for their subscribers and the infrastructure that is needed to make these services possible. <a href="">LTE MENA</a> will also examine the emerging markets of the region. We will bring together the most exciting case studies and hear from the most innovative operators that are making LTE rollout a reality. Over 800+ high-level attendees are expected from 40+ countries, bringing together the ecosystem to discuss a wide range of issues including; spectrum regulation, sustainable business models, innovative service provision, OTT partnership development and the technology challenges that operators continue to face. en-us Vodafone UK gives live launch to SpiderCloud small cell E-RAN solution Vodafone UK has launched an indoor coverage solution for large enterprises based on technology from <a href="">SpiderCloud Wireless</a>. The launch makes the UK the second territory to deploy an enterprise services based on SpiderCloud, following Vodafone Netherlands which launched in <a href="vodafone-netherlands-first-offer-business-customers-flexible-and-scalable-buildin">September 2013</a>. The operator has been developing and trialling the solution with SpiderCloud for some time, and the public launch will give a further boost to the company that markets its systems as E-RAN (Enterprise Radio Access Network system). "With great input from Vodafone, we were able to build a commercial system capable of meeting demands of the world's largest mobile operator and enable differentiated services to its enterprise customers," said Ron Pelley, SpiderCloud's Vice President and Managing Director, EMEA. The service will be branded Sure Signal Premium, giving it continuity with Vodafone's residential and SoHo femtocell Sure Signal. In fact, SpiderCloud's system is more than "just" a larger capacity or "enterprise class" femtocell. Also of note is that the system will support LTE from summer 2014, which puts it pretty much in line with Vodafone's own rollout. SpiderCloud has been working hard to introduce LTE to its radio nodes, and <a href="spidercloud-wireless-introduces-industrys-first-3g-lteL">introduced multi mode capability</a> last year to its product. SpiderCloud's ERAN solution is neither DAS - it is not fed by an external signal or on-site "master" base station - nor a "pure" femtocell deployment. It is formed of wireless nodes that are in themselves small cells powered and connected over Ethernet, and are in turn controlled by an on site controller - SpiderCloud calls it a services node - that is itself connected to the mobile operator's core. SpiderCloud formed a strategic partnership with NEC for NEC to integrate its solution as its large enterprise indoor coverage solution. The Vodafone product is a result of that partnership. In its press release, Vodafone positioned the launch as a product of its combined fixed/mobile assets, as well as a result of its enhanced network investments. "As the only UK company to own an integrated fixed and mobile network, Vodafone is ideally positioned to provide the best possible connection for large businesses," it said. Fergal Kelly, CTO at Vodafone UK, said, "With Sure Signal Premium, large businesses can satisfy rising indoor capacity and coverage demands in a highly integrated, well managed way. This new service is just one benefit from the GBP900 million we spent last year on our fixed and mobile network in the UK." Interestingly Kelly also referenced BYOD as a key enterprise trend and a driver for improved coverage and capacity in large enterprises. One arrow often slung at the SpiderCloud solution by its competitors is that by being single-carrier it is ill-suited to support a bring your own carrier strategy within an enterprise. Ronny Haraldsvik, CMO, SpiderCloud Wireless, emphasised the competitive differentiator for a mobile operator that can provide superior enterprise services. "The issue of in-building coverage and capacity is a very real one for many enterprises, and is directly affecting business productivity. Businesses not only want this fixed and will churn to an operator that can solve it, but over half are also prepared to pay an increase of up to 30 percent per employee for improved indoor cellular coverage and capacity. Add in managed services such as Unified Comms or mobile device management, and this rises to over 90 per cent, according to recent research by iGR." en-us The next-generation backhaul assurance challenge <i>This is a sponsored post by Sergio Zveibil, Product Marketing Manager, Service Performance Assurance, <a href="">InfoVista</a></i> The mass adoption of advanced mobile devices and the growing popularity of bandwidth-devouring websites and applications are fuelling an explosion in mobile data traffic. This uptick - in combination with mobile operators' commitment to 3G+/HSPA+ and 4G/LTE and their desire to improve margins by reducing the cost per bit of carrying voice and data traffic from cell sites - is driving mobile operators to migrate to Ethernet backhaul, and to take advantage of the scalability, flexibility and cost advantages it offers. However, as they rush to deploy more Carrier Ethernet bandwidth and expand backhaul network capacity to keep up with the rapid growth in mobile data traffic, mobile operators are realising that managing the performance of this new transport technology is more complex than for its legacy counterpart. This is largely due to the high quality of service (QoS) demands associated with the various types of services travelling over new generation wireless networks and the multiple technical options available to deploy the new network infrastructure and its wider array of Classes of Service (CoS). As a result, mobile operators are struggling to assure the same level of end-to-end service quality, and despite the intrinsic benefits of <b>Carrier Ethernet</b>, are missing out on the opportunity to realise large CAPEX and OPEX savings due to their lack of familiarity in efficiently managing the performance of these transport networks. To overcome this next-generation backhaul assurance challenge and turn Carrier Ethernet into a competitive advantage, they require real-time, end-to-end visibility into the performance of their new network entities and the logical virtual services carried over them. <b>Carrier Ethernet's Crippling Complexity</b> The primary challenge mobile operators are facing in managing the performance of Ethernet backhaul networks is the heterogeneity inherent to this technology and its interoperability with existing infrastructures. Today's backhaul networks can carry Carrier Ethernet, but their underlying infrastructures are an amalgam of new and old transport technologies. At the same time, the physical infrastructures capable of supporting Carrier Ethernet services are composed of multiple medium types, which can be deployed in multiple physical as well as logical topologies. To make matters worse, different equipment vendors can be deployed to meet various cell-site transport requirements. Combine the infrastructure's diversity with the possibility of leasing certain portions of the backhaul network from one or more wholesale providers, mobile operators can end up with a mind-numbing number of Carrier Ethernet scenarios to monitor. Being able to operate, maintain and assure performance of this infrastructure is daunting - failure to effectively manage this overwhelming complexity can not only drive up OPEX, but also result in poor QoS - a critical driving factor of customer churn and revenue loss. <b>The Mobile Data Traffic Diversity Dilemma</b> In addition, the growing diversity of mobile data traffic is challenging mobile operators' ability to assure service performance. The proliferation of smartphones and tablets is significantly increasing the types of applications subscribers run across the network. Enterprises have also developed and fielded a wide variety of their own mission-critical mobility applications. Assuring a high quality user experience of these varied advanced applications with their diverse performance characteristics, and at the same time, maintaining legacy, but key-revenue generating, services like voice and SMS, is proving difficult and inefficient with the existing service assurance tool sets. Mobile operators that struggle to efficiently manage QoS issues at a service-level will suffer increased customer dissatisfaction with their quality of experience (QoE) and revenue loss as a result of churn. <b>Achieving QoS and Operational Excellence</b> So, how can mobile operators get a handle on Ethernet backhaul service assurance? The solution lies in better performance visibility. Performance visibility is not necessarily just the ability to monitor traffic over a specific link or through a specific router or probe. Many mobile operators have already deployed this limited level of visibility. The end result often consists of a silo-oriented performance management practice that is not cost-effective and cannot meet today's end-to-end service assurance requirements. A successful strategy instead involves consolidating the myriad raw data, metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) generated from various vendors' equipment, devices and Element Management Systems; aggregating the data into high-level actionable KPIs and Key Quality Indicators (KQIs); and providing a central, collaborative end-to-end view of network and service quality. <b>Without this approach, mobile operators are left with minimal, if any, visibility into the performance of Carrier Ethernet</b>, and therefore, resort to paying more for sub-par backhaul network performance. And, as they continue to expand their capacity, <b>performance visibility becomes even more critical</b> in allowing various functional groups to ensure successful network lifecycle management - from deployment to assurance to maintenance and optimisation. For instance, to support new deployments and prevent costly outages and lengthy service disruptions, transport engineers need the ability to centrally monitor, visualise and be alerted in real time about the availability of devices, interfaces and physical and virtual connections associated with each cell site on the network. During the assurance phase, service quality engineers need the ability to quantify the potential impact of new and existing backhaul connections on the overall level of QoS perceived by mobile subscribers. Finally, in the maintenance and optimization stage, mobile operators' main focus is on understanding utilisation trends and whether their capacity is sufficient to deliver high quality services and meet end-users' expectations. For network planning engineers, the ability to monitor current and forecasted traffic loads versus capacity becomes paramount in order to proactively identify backhaul bottlenecks and evaluate their current and future impact on QoE. A single, unified platform that provides these role-oriented views into Ethernet backhaul network performance with tailored reporting can not only help various stakeholders in mobile operators' organisations address their own objectives, but also facilitate cross-departmental synchronization. This, in turn, can drive operational efficiencies needed for optimising existing and future infrastructures, providing quicker and more efficient network troubleshooting and reducing customer churn - and realising substantial OPEX savings. <b>Increased performance visibility offers</b> mobile operators the opportunity to more successfully manage their Ethernet transport and stay ahead of the competition, differentiating themselves within the market by offering mobile services transported over reliable layer 2 and layer 3 services and by being able to better ensure subscribers' QoE. With a unified, end-to-end view of their networks, they can overcome the next-generation backhaul assurance challenge and turn Carrier Ethernet's complexity into their most competitive advantage. Read more on: <a href="">Infovista's service assurance solutions</a> en-us Amdocs joins Mapping The Mobile Network as partner of Optimisation sector <a href="">Amdocs</a> connects the dots between customer experience, value and the network performance. Through the recent acquisitions of Actix and Celcite the company delivers software and services to enable the effective management and optimisation of mobile networks. Neil Coleman, Marketing Director at Amdocs, said, "The planning, design, deployment and optimisation of mobile networks are becoming increasingly critical to operators' business models. "By integrating automated optimisation tools with business support systems, operators can deliver effective customer experience improvements by targeting optimisation based on customer revenue and business value." Keith Dyer, editor of The Mobile Network, said, "Operators require vendor independent software solutions that can simplify network management and optimisation across 2G, 3G and LTE networks. <a href="">Mapping The Mobile Network</a> will show how and where these design and optimisation tools operate, the information they analyse, and the outcomes they can produce. "We're delighted to have Amdocs as supporting partner for this section of our project." en-us Small Cell Forum to launch Urban Release at Mobile World Congress The <a href="">Small Cells Forum</a> will launch the third part of its release programme during Mobile World Congress. The Forum has split its planned third release - addressing outdoor small cell deployments - into two parts. The first part - Release Three: Urban Foundations - will outline business cases, deployment strategies and bring together the work of the Forum for outdoor deployments of small cells in metro areas. It will define the fundamental concepts behind urban small cell rollout and contain a series of documents on topics ranging from market drivers and regulatory aspects to radio, architecture, backhaul, deployment and services. Release Four: Urban arrives in June. The Forum says it will build on the foundations laid in release three, adding depth and detail to complete the content. A further outdoor release - Rural - is planned for later in 2014. The SCF claims that estimates for the potential of urban small cells indicate a multi-billion-dollar market developing in a very short space of time, adding that most operators plan to incorporate urban small cells in future rollouts. It thinks it is imperative, therefore, that all participants are prepared to meet the technical, economic or regulatory demands and challenges of this market. The Forum has claimed its policy of bringing together the work of its working groups, SIGs and member activities into a series of dedicated programme releases has been a success for its members and the market. Release One, made available at MWC 2013, covered residential and home deployments. Release Two: Enterprise went public in December 2013 and has attracted more than 30,000 downloads - almost as many as Release One attracted in total. en-us 5G and the battle of the bands <i>By Gerry Foster, SON Engineering Director, and Steve Bowker, CTO, <a href="">AIRCOM International</a>, a TEOCO company</i> The global emergence of LTE has seen new levels of innovation being introduced in terms of mobile network architecture. The ability to add new software layers to existing infrastructure provides a cost effective way of delivering a better quality experience to users while reusing all existing network assets, wherever possible. LTE innovation enables operators to deploy new RAN technology in a controlled, cost effective way that sweats all legacy equipment. Critically this means deploying new technology in areas of heavy use, where the benefits of faster speeds and greater capacity can be instantly monetised for optimal ROI. This is certainly true with current new LTE deployments in all major countries around the world. While the principle of the Hetnet has been a huge success, it is becoming increasingly clear that if 5G is to become a viable reality, network operators are going to have to dispense with at least one RAN technology. This is mainly due to the cost of supporting the multiple radio bands that these different technology layers require to function. <b>The battle of the bands</b> At present, operators must typically support seven bands globally for GSM, UMTS, HSPA, LTE and LTE-A (450, 700, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100, 2200). In some regions LTE and LTE-A add three or four different bands (2.5 GHz, 2.6GHz, 3GHz and 3.5GHz). Device manufacturers must also contend supporting additional bands for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 2.6GHz). 5G technology will add many more bands. Then there are the additional technologies like CDMA and EV-DO that sit outside of 3GPP that still require supporting in several significant global regions. The reality is that at least one RAN technology is likely to be switched off before 5G is introduced. We have already seen operators re-farm 3G spectrum to better support LTE deployment. This migration is likely to continue as LTE can offer better spectral efficiency as well as faster and richer mobile services. It therefore seems likely that the arrival of 5G will signal the death of 3G in many global territories. <b>The technical and financial reality</b> From a technical perspective it is possible to deliver up to eight bands simultaneously. However, simple network economics means that operators and OEMs are unable to support more than six different bands to deliver cost effective services. The early standards that 5G will be based on centre around the enablement of carrier aggregation - the ability to combine multiple disparate bands for new levels of spectral efficiency and to unlock extra capacity. This will be compromised if operators intend to juggle myriad spectrum bands. Even disregarding carrier aggregation, the sheer cost of having to manage five network technologies and systems concurrently will have most operator CFOs and CTOs worried. The respective handovers between these multiple bands will all need to be optimised for best possible quality of service and experience. This involves a great deal of technical complexity, especially when also addressing the signalling overheads that these multiple radio access technologies will present. <b>Work to do now</b> As with LTE, higher data rates will not provide enough of a pull to encourage 5G take up alone. Subscribers will migrate to 5G if it offers a better mobile data experience in more places thanks to better coverage. This includes the provision of seamless offload to other technologies (including WiFi and shared public small cells) and better access to data thanks to cloud servers working in conjunction with mobile and WiFi channels. en-us A week in the net: SON, fronthaul, backhaul, small cells, and a manifesto for change <b>1. Ericsson: lots and lots</b> Last week it was NSN's turn, this week Ericsson decided to pull the pin out of the grenade and launch a bunch of releases at the market. There's not much more I can do that point you to <a href="">these releases</a> on Ericsson's own site, save to note a couple of things. 1. Small cells is really rising up Ericsson's public agenda although there's not much detail on its Small Cells as a Service release. 2. Harder to write PR about, but network performance, management, control is a "thing" this year for Ericsson. Finally, there's a PR on a virtualised EPC. Operator cloud is here and now. <b>2. Carrier WiFi</b> There's going to be dedicated Carrier WiFi Summit within MWC. So if you want to get ahead on all the latest NGH, Hotspot 2.0 chat, then you might be interested to know that the Wireless Broadband Alliance has had a go at defining Carrier WiFi. The WBA says that the term lacks a "universally recognised meaning among operators, vendors and industry bodies alike." This is not something that can be allowed to continue, and so the WBA has laid down some guidelines. Read them<a href="">here</a>. <b>3. Eblink: wireless fronthaul</b>3. <a href="">Eblink</a> makes E-Band radios that it is positioning as wireless fronthaul equipment. What is that? Fronthaul is the link between a baseband processing unit or hotel, and the remote radio. This is often thought to be something that requires fibre, but Eblink begs to differ, and says its Fronthaul 58 solution can give 7 Gbps on a wireless link within a 100MHz bandwidth. What Eblink is really excited about is that it can make public that Orange France has been playing with its kit. And look at this for a quote from Jean-Luc Vuillemin, director of the Orange France network. "In just a few months, EBlink has demonstrated that it can attain the ambitious performance levels predicted. It's remarkable". Remarkable indeed. <b>4. Siklu: Wireless backhaul</b> With its ears to the ground and eye on the trend of meeting the need for super quick and super easy, street-level installations of wireless kit by much-demeaned "technicians" (for which read ham-fisted hammer bashers), <a href="">Siklu</a> says it has got the installation and commissioning process of its EtherHaul millimeter wave backhaul systems down to 15 minutes or less. What it's got is an auto alignment tool for the radios, and SON integration. <b>5. CBNL: Even more wireless backhaul</b> <a href="">CBNL</a>, which you will know as a provider of point to multi-point microwave systems that it very much hopes will provide small cell backhaul to lots of operators, said it has doubled platform capacity on its VectaStar products, to 600Mbps. That will mean delivery of 4.8 Gbps to hub sites, the vendor said. Operators will need this extra capacity for LTE, the company added. <b>6. Vasona Networks: getting a grip on the cell</b> <a href="">Vasona Networks</a> , featured in the latest issue of TMN Quarterly, folks, announced SmartVISION. This is an analysis "suite" that churns the data passing through its SmartAIR 1000 edge application controller. Vasona's USP is that as it sits out on the network edge, and not on the Gi interface, it has an edge (pun intended) on DPI platforms that can see application info but not gain insight into actual in-cell conditions. SmartVISION is deployed in the NOC to provide a consolidated view of how each RAN (radio access network) cell sector performs. What you need to know, though, is that here is another company aiming making a "network intelligence + customer data" big data play. <b>7. Radisys: small cell win.</b> Radisys said that its <a href="V">TotalENodeB</a>solution has been selected by NEC as the basis of its LTE small cells. NEC was attracted by Radisys' cunning blend of TD and FD-LTE, and will use the platform in its oudoor Lte picocells. <b>8. Real Wireless: Manifesto for the approaching storm</b> Sounding like it was preparing to do battle in the night against approaching enemy hordes, wireless consultancy Real Wireless produced this week a Manifesto that would help operators deal with an approaching perfect storm. "We've taken a look at every aspect of the wireless industry, from spectrum to technology, the economics, the locations people are using wireless and the commercial opportunities. All included we've found that mobile operators are facing a perfect storm of challenges starting from this year. The next few years pose an unprecedented challenge, and few operators are preparing for it," said Professor Simon Saunders, Director of Technology and co-founder of Real Wireless. Are you ready for the gathering storm? <a href="">Only one way to find out...</a> Only one way to find out... <b>9. NSN -Huawei</b> Oh go on then, NSN, just one more. After last week's marathon, NSN tiptoed back in, put a press release down on the desk, and shuffled away again. What did it say? Why, that it had signed a bi-lateral agreement with Huawei to cross license their OSS interfaces. The winner here will be operators with both vendors' kit in their networks, or who are thinking about having both vendors in a network. The agreement between the vendors has been dubbed, <a href="">OSS interoperability initiative (OSSii).</a> <b>10. Kontron and Vantrix: get monetised with Big Data</b> Comms platform provider <a href="">Kontron</a>, and video optimisation specialist <a href="">Vantrix</a> announced the launch of a combined video optimisation and Big Data platform that will allow for high density transcoding of video, but also rapid analysis of video traffic data, giving operators a better chance to understand what's going on with video on their network, and either think of a way to make money from it or save money delivering it. Verdict: cloud friendly. <b>11. Cloudberry: Small cell integration, super quick</b> Cloudberry, known as a company that provides small cells as a service, says that through its gateway it can now offer integration with a mobile operator's network in just 16 hours. Cloudberry's managed service hosts a small cell gateway and remotely operates all of the logistics of rolling out enterprise and residential small cells. Its managed service runs 100% on Cisco kit, by the way. <b>12. Commscope: antenna cleverness - Standard Interface</b> Commscope thinks it has spotted a problem with antenna-radio head connectors - they're too lossy (too much loss through PIM) and too inflexible when repairing or changing. Commscope has introduced a solution that uses capacitive induction instead of a "metal to metal" connection forming what it calls a Standard Interface - reducing PIM and making it much easier to add or swap out radio heads - plug and play at the top of the tower. It's <a href="">quite clever</a>. <b>13. Kathrein: Indoor cleverness</b> Kathrein has introduced a solution for indoor coverage that works a bit like a scaled down C-RAN system. C-RAN, you will remember, centralises baseband processing and then distributes that capacity to remote radios as and when needed. Kathrein's K-BOW system takes the concept and applies it to indoor installations. It's calling it Micro C-RAN, and it says it answers the need for multi-operator, multi-band and multi-standard operation - using the flexibility of a mobile communications capacity pool to dynamically meet changing demand for data. <b>14. Tellabs: Lots of new router capabilities</b> Tellabs has refreshed its edge router portfolio (where a lot of the backhaul traffic is aggregated in mobile networks, with a collection of product upgrades and feature uplifts. You can see them <a href="">here</a>. Notable for market-watchers - a timing/synch SFP module, and the introduction of SON capabilities. <b>15. Amdocs: SON solution as result of Celcite and Actix</b> Amdocs has parcelled up its existing telco software with that of acquisitions Celcite and Actix and headed to market with the <a href="">Amdocs Self-Optimizing Networks</a>(SON) solution. If you were aware of what Actix and Celcite did then there won't be much here to surprise you - geo-located customer and network data etc. One thing to note, Amdocs promoting its "expanded focus on the network software domain." That coming together of the traditional BSS with the network operational side was a key theme in 2013, and will be in 2014. en-us Siklu, one of 15 companies featured in this week's round-up Alcatel-Lucent announces first virtualised network functions Alcatel-Lucent has said that the first elements of its virtualised network function portfolio will be vEPC, vIMS and vRNC functions. The company is also developing a proof of concept for a virtualised BBU (Baseband Unit) to be used in LTE Cloud RAN deployments. The vendor announced that it has trials of virtualised IMS and EPC functions in place with Deutsche Telekom and with China Mobile (vRNC), among a number of other operator trials and commitments. The vBBU is a proof of concept product at the moment. Demos of the VNFs will be showing at Mobile World Congress. The virtualised network functions will be available on Alcatel-Lucent's integrated cloud platform, CloudBand, which itself is integrated with the SDN capabilities of Alcatel-Lucent's Nuage solution. Phil Tilley, Alcatel-Lucent's Marketing Director of Cloud Strategy & Solutions, said that although Alcatel-Lucent has developed CloudBand as its integrated solution, the vendor is committed to openness - enabling flexibility of deployment for operators. Its CloudBand platform is based on open source OpenStack technology from Red Hat, and Alcatel-Lucent is a major contributor to ETSI's NFV Fourm. Tilley said, "We really think of ourselves as best placed for the transition to the new mode of operation of NFV. It's not just a case of giving everything a brush across with NFV - we are fully engaged in the ETSI groups as a major contributor to that and are working a number of proof of concepts and trials in this area." Deploying on Red Hat's OpenStack platform meant that Alcatel-Lucent can offer an integrated and an open solution, Tilley said. "Although we are announcing these all together, we fully embrace the fact that an operator might have our vECP with someone elses' vIMS on someone else's virtualisation platform. Each element stands alone in its own right. We know that having our own NFV and own platform allows us to go with everything and test and advance that NFV innovation together. But we are more than happy and willing to have a VNF on someone else's NFV platform." <b>Cloud performance</b> The distributed nature of virtualised functions compared to enterprise cloud deployments, means that service performance, latency, orchestration and control will be critical, Tilley said. "A lot of what we are doing is working with partners is to optimise performance of functions and of the systems, so for sure we're on a journey here. One of the challenges of an open system and environment is that it is easy to lose control of the critical part which is latency. That's why we work with operators on proof of concepts and trials and work with other parties to develop as and when required. You will hear another couple of announcements on partnerships in this area soon." en-us (Image: Alcatel-Lucent) Week 3 Pre-MWC: radio innovation, backhaul innovation, virtualisation I wrote <a href="">here</a> that I'm not convinced this consolidation of product messaging (it's the messaging, rather than the actual product cycle, that I think is so concentrated) is a help or a hindrance to understanding what the hell's going on in the market. Is this a blizzard creating a white out - obscuring the path ahead, or is this a useful concentration of information, allowing us to compare and contrast across vendors? The problem is, some vendors feel they must have an NFV story, even if that's sketchy as yet, or an SDN story, or a big data story, or whatever - and that leads to a sense of homogeneity that in turn makes it harder to work out what's actually going on. I sense that some companies reluctantly hitch on these "major industry trends", thereby swelling the already pregnant belly of industry buzz. It's nobody's fault, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. In the meantime, check out the below, and our <a href=",-fronthaul,-backhaul,-small-cells,-and-a-manifesto-for-change.html">last</a> (last week) <a href=",-LTE-A,-backhaul,-deployment-solutions,-cloud-telco.html">two</a> (two weeks ago) weeks' worth of round ups, and you should be heading to MWC pretty well prepared for what's ahead. <b>1. Small Cells > DAS: NSN > Ericsson? FlexiZone controller</b> NSN has taken its FlexiZone architecture indoors. The system, in which local small cells were managed by a hub controller, was first designed by Motorola (then NSN) for outdoor metro applications. By putting software on its Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Stations NSN is aiming to let operators control indoor and outdoor small cells in the same area from the same controller. The solution is also being positioned as a direct macro-cellular DAS replacement, by enabling the installation of remote LTE or WiFi nodes on whatever physical connection is available. See this as an extension of NSN's Het Net strategy, and a tacit "we got there first, and better" reply to Ericsson's Dot Radio. <b>2. Small Cells + DAS: Alcatel-Lucent and TE Connectivity</b> Al-Lu and TE have developed and released a common digital interface between the Al-Lu's mobile Ultra-Broadband access portfolio and the TEFlexWave DAS. Alcatel-Lucent will provide a CPRI interface that plugs directly into the FlexWave universal host, providing interoperability between the Alcatel-Lucent lightRadio Baseband Unit (BBU) and TE Digital DAS. The idea is that integrated cellular and DAS solutions can greatly reduce infrastructure and support costs. See this as a big score for these two vendors in providing a forward path for DAS installations, based on the Cloud RAN interface CPRI. What does it mean for Al-Lu's own sales of its remote radio heads and lightRadio? Al-Lu said it sees it as adding DAS from TE to its own portfolio. <b>3. MIMOTech - Small cell backhaul at V-Band (E-Band on its way)</b> <a href="">MIMOtech</a> announced the launch of StarLink 60G, a millimeter-wave radio link optimised for short-range small-cell backhaul in urban network deployments. The StarLink 60G operates in the 57-66GHz frequency band (V-band), providing point-to-point Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. Features include a patented automatic antenna alignment technique. Channel bandwidth is scalable from 56MHz up to 250MHz with flexible modulation from QPSK to 64QAM and hitless Adaptive Modulation (HAACM). MIMOtech plans to release a 70/80GHz product later this year to complement the StarLink 60G. <b>4. Backhaul and fronthaul part 1: Dragonwave</b> Dragonwave launched Harmony Eband, a compact, low energy consumption radio operating in, as its name suggests, the E-Band at 70-80GHz. As well as applications in mobile backhaul Harmony Eband delivers what Dragonwave claims is the industry's first uncompressed CPRI transport mode, enabling wireless fronthaul. Eband can apply up to 64 QAM to achieve throughput of 2.6Gbps full duplex in 500MHz mode. Additionally, Harmony Eband features the DragonWave Reach Extender, which leverages Waveform and Modulation Adaptivity (WMA) and MIMO to extend the radio's reach and deliver 3-7 KM links with high availability. Greg Friesen, vice president, Product Management, DragonWave, said, "Because it meets the capacity and latency requirements required to support fronthaul, macro backhaul and small cell aggregation, and is LTE synchronisation ready, we view the Harmony Eband as an extremely viable and cost effective transport option for today's networks." <b>5. Backhaul and fronthaul part 2: ADVA Optical Networking </b> Adva launched <a href="anycell-connectivity.aspx">AnyCell Connectivity</a> - an optical WDM-based approach designed to be able to connect a wide variety of cell and traffic types over backhaul and fronthaul connections to the same solution. AnyCell Connectivity is based around three elements: performance-assured Carrier Ethernet backhaul, time and phase synchronisation and managed optical fronthaul, using wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) technology. The idea is to enable operators to flexibly connect macro cells, small cells and remote radio heads (RRHs) to a common. <b>6. Next gen part 1: NTT: Active antenna</b> NTT DOCOMO said it has carried out Japan's first field test of an active antenna system, demonstrating a 4 dB reduction in electrical loss compared to conventional antennas. Such an increas in power efficiency could enlarge the coverage range of base stations 1.7 times, the carrier said. The active antenna system for the field test was developed by Tokyo-based Nihon Dengyo Kosaku. NTTDoCoMo said: "The new antenna integrates multiple antenna elements, each equipped with a small transceiver, which enables installation in confined spaces and assures continued coverage if one or more of the transceivers fails. Also, whereas electrical loss occurs in the connection between a separately located remote radio head (RRH) and a conventional antenna, as well as within the conventional antenna itself, integrating an RRH with each antenna element will result in more efficient operation. "Further, the active antenna system's compatibility with MIMO transmission technology should help to raise efficiency when deploying LTE-Advanced, and later 5G, network technologies." <b>7. Next gen part 2: LTE-A: NextG-Com: protocol stack for relay nodes </b> <a href="">NextG-Com</a> announced the availability of ALPS 521, a Release 11 compliant UE protocol stack designed for easy integration of relay node (RN) backhaul functionality with an existing eNodeB (eNB) solution. Relays are an element of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A). ALPS 521 provides a s platform for the integration and verification of the interactions of relay functionalities to Release 11 specifications such as impact of R-PDCCH and ePDCCH, CoMP, and relay interactions. See this announcement as evidence of the ecosystem moving towards solutions that enable the adoption of LTE-A features into network equipment. <b>8. Next Gen part 3: Full Duplex: Kumu</b> Wireless Full Duplex - a <a href="sigcomm13-fullduplex.pdf">recent development out of Stanford University</a> - allows a radio to simultaneously transmit and receive overlapping signals using a single frequency channel. <a href="">Kumu</a> said that it has developed technology that cancels Self-Interference, the "unwanted" energy that leaks into a radio's receiver while transmitting. As a result of the cancellation, the receiver hears no noise from its transmitter, freeing it to cleanly receive external signals. So, Kumu says, a radio using Kumu's self-interference cancellation technology can transmit and receive at the same time on the same frequency. Kumu Networks will be performing the first ever live demonstration of Full Duplex "operating in the real-world" at MWC. (That's if you think MWC is the real world, of course). <b>9. Visibility part 1: CarrierIQ: Low cost data analytics</b> CarrierIQ, the company that got into difficulties in late 2011 when it endured allegations of potentially enabling breaches of user privacy, is back in the game with <a href="">iQ xPlore SmartStart</a> . The software, which is linked to CarrierIQ's Mobile Service Intelligence Platform, is intended to help operators better understand Wi-Fi usage, reduce roaming costs, optimizse application portfolio, and deliver better network coverage and performance by pinpointing the cells where coverage or voice and data performance is subpar. Network, service and application assurance and visibility is a key current issue in the market, with a clutch of acquisitions and mergers taking place across the sector. The end goal is to enable operators to run networks more efficiently, and in a more customer-focussed manner. <b>10. Visibility part 2: Ixia: Visibility Architecture</b> Ixia, swollen by its acquisition of Net Optics, has bundled up its range of weapons into what it is terming a new <a href="">Network Visibility</a> architecture that incorporates physical and virtual Taps, bypass switches and network packet brokers, application and session visibility solutions, and an integrated management platform. As we said above...<i>network, service and application assurance and visibility is a key current issue in the market, with a clutch of acquisitions and mergers taking place across the sector</i>... <b>11. Visibility part 3: Polystar: Application Recognition Monitoring </b> <a href="">Polystar</a> said it can now monitor, track the usage, performance and network impact of more than 1600 individual applications. This allows operators to monitor and report on IP connectivity performance, accessibility, latency and throughput for specific application categories such as: Web, Audio/Video, IM and Peer-to-Peer, as well as for individual applications such as YouTube, Facebook, Netflix and iTunes. As we said above...<i>network, service and application assurance and visibility is a key current issue in the market</i>... en-us Let's take this fight inside It's a case of, "step inside and say that". Of course, this is the high stakes corporate world where everyone is very polite, but if you wanted to see who started it, you could point a finger in an unlikely direction - mild mannered Rajeev Suri. For it was NSN's CEO who said his company's new indoor cell might not be as small as "a speck, a dot or a flea", but could actually do a hell of a lot more. Or you could point a finger at Ericsson, who may have started the fight as long ago as last autumn when it launched the Radio Dot product that Suri was disparaging. We're redefining small cells, said Ericsson. Well yes, you literally are, said competitors who pointed out that Ericson is launching a DAS product, not really a small cell at all. Not fazed, Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg repeatedly referred to the Dot in his MWC press conference, and reiterated that it was redefining small cells. Ericsson rubbed salt in the wounds by releasing a clutch of PR publicising operators trialling the Dot. But is NSN's new indoor FlexiZone node - the product of which Suri was so proud, any more of a small cell? It supports 400 users, it runs the same software as its macro products, it was repeatedly described as having a macro inside, and it's actually not physically that small, not compared to the dot (or speck, or flea). That said, it is powered off Ethernet, it is quite small, comes with integrated SON, WiFi, and is designed to be controlled by a local controller node, in the same manner as, say, SpiderCloud's E-RAN architecture. Meanwhile, those traditional providers of large scale RF distribution - the DAS providers, are also rolling up their sleeves. <a href="">CommScope launched ION-E</a> - which you could view as DAS on stilts. As well as interfaces to the usual DAS signal sources - ie, a base station providing sector coverage to the DAS controller, the ION-E can handle a CPRI front haul interface from a centralised BBU. That means that an operator with a base station hotel could provide resources either to remote radio heads strung up outdoors around a city, but also to the DAS system for indoor coverage. CommScope has built the ability for IT managers to assign channels to certain access points, to direct a sector to an individual AP, or to simulcast sector capacity to a number of nodes. It's a look and feel that mirrors IT systems management. Across the exhibition hall, <a href="">TE Connectivity</a> was showing off its own CPRI -capable DAS solution that, it says, by being able to distribute RF over a direct optical interface, will be much cheaper than other DAS. This is because it eliminates the Point of Interface processing that conditions power levels via high power RRHs. The jag is, TE has integrated its CPRI-capable DAS directly with Alcatel-Lucent (with other vendors to come later) because it says CPRI iteration is not interoperable between vendors. So in other words, if you haven't integrated your CPRI DAS direct with vendors, then you don't really have CPRI support at all. en-us Sketch: existential angst at Mobile World Congress Everyone was agreed that we would have pervasive high capacity networks that would do things like support device to device connectivity on a massive level. This would drive massive quantities of data, requiring a lot of high capacity, low latency networks. There were some good stabs as to how we would get there. Asha Keddy of Intel reckoned we would have a highly distributed cloud architecture, cloud at the edge, supporting billions of device connections from licensed and unlicensed spectrum. Shayan Sanyal of Bluwan proposed a vision for backhaul which, in the first instance, drowns areas with high capacity mmWave wireless links on a P2MP basis and then takes advantage of new antenna and radio tech that would make coverage smarter and more directed. Keddy said we would see metrics in networks change, from raw bits per second to bps per joule, bps per frequency, bps per area. "But why?" asked Kevin Fitchard, co-host of the panel and a writer for GigaOm. "What's it all for?" Hmmm. This seemed to bring on a crisis in the room. What's it all for indeed? Todd Sizer, resident genius at Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs said he didn't know what the purpose of a 10 Gbps per user network would be, what users would do with that. "We're not going to carry 55 inch TVs around in our pocket," he said to chuckles. He was, though, aware that technology has a habit of mugging those who attempt to define the limits of its progress. Apps and use cases would emerge, he said, as they did for 4G. (One thing he did know, the 2020 network will have to enhance the opportunity for operators to make money, he said, otherwise operators wouldn't be able to invest to build it.) GSMA Director of Technology, and host of the panel session, Dan Warren attempted to draw some more answers from his panellists, but didn't get very far. Nobody seemed to know what exactly the use cases would be (although in fact Keddy had earlier outlined just what she thought - vis, a massive number of massively interconnected devices churning out billions of data points). Perhaps, Warren posited, perhaps what is wrong is that the name this stuff gets given - 5G - is all wrong. (By the way, nobody <i>really</i> knows what 5G is, although there seem to plenty of research grants and dollars being laid down in its name.) Warren said the session was deliberately not given the 5G moniker, but rather the date 2020 as a marker, and the term Next Access Networks as a concept. Even the date was arbitrary, though, and really stood as a suitably vague marker for the future. So by the end, we didn't know what next access networks would be for, how operators would monetise them, when we might see them, and whether or not 5G is a useful or meaningful term. Despite that, we knew a bit better how they might be built. Weird. And with that, we stepped out into a brighter future, curiously all the better for realising that nobody seems to know what the hell's going on any more, even when they do. en-us Orange Technical Director pushes small cells back to 2016, welcomes virtualisation progress Keith Dyer spoke to Yves Bellego, Director of Technical Strategy, Orange Group. Bellego was certainly interested in topics as small cells, NFV and LTE-A feature sets - but his emphasis was on ensuring any new technology introduction is truly tested for reliability and scalability. A key phrase he repeated through the interview was "step by step". His network vision was also one of building a network from large to small, from outside to inside. He wants population coverage first, at best cost, and only then to move to small cells and indoor solutions for extra capacity. He sees true potential in virtualisation, but he's not about to rip up anything, or go all-in on a telco in the cloud approach. He's looking to test a limited set of apps on one hardware platform, then a few more apps from different suppliers on the same hardware. Same principle with SDN - start in a "closed" data centre environment then move into the "WAN". <b>Network renewal, LTE-A, SON, TDD</b> We're spending roughly the same every year on the radio network globally. We will need to increase capacity on LTE, and enhance it with LTE-A. We introduce new features every year, and then <b>every 6-8 years we need to replace the equipment</b>. Network transmission is still quite a huge amount of money to invest and that will also continue. When it comes to <b>network control</b> we will have to invest but as time goes on it will become closer to the service platforms, to the IT. On one side we invest in the hardware infrastructure and on top of that in different software services - and network control will be one of them. In Europe, 2011-2013 was about <b>RAN renewal</b>, we replaced all of our equipment with multi-mode multi-standard equipment, a huge programme that is finished now in many countries, across tens of thousands of sites. That renewal enabled us to launch LTE in 2013, and in 2014 we are continuing our LTE rollout, because what we want now is to have full country coverage. We have prepared LTE-A. The first feature is <b>multi-band Carrier Aggregation</b>, where the use cases we see are 20 MHz at 2.6 GHz plus 10 Mhz at 800 MHz, and 20 MHz at 2.6 plus 20 MHz at 1800 MHz. Carrier Aggregation is not a big issue for us technically, we can launch it where we have device support. Then COMP, eICIC, things like that, will come after. <b>SON - moving from in-vendor to cross-vendor</b> We have trialled SON for several years using SON on the elements from the equipment providers. Now we still have to work out how to make use of SON at large scale using all SON features. One SON feature that works quite easy is ANR, others are more complex. What we have done until now is use SON features inside the elements, from the RAN suppliers, basically radio access SON. The idea to have <b>more global SON</b> from 3rd parties on top is something we are testing but we have not come to an answer yet. First step, let's do what's kind of easy and then we will build. For me the difficulty is to go from the concept to what we can really do on large networks with a large number of customers. We can already do today very specific actions for specific customers, but how to do that for millions of customers is the difficult question. Also <b>SON changes processes for our operations</b>. In the past we had specific tools to work out the design of network, put that to the network and the network itself did not change it. Now the network itself will change some parameters and settings... they (operations teams) have to understand why and consider these are the right settings. <b>TDD</b> In 3G TDD was far from the FDD technology so there was no scale benefit. LTE TDD technology is closer to FDD so at least we can expect to have networks and devices available. Having TDD spectrum we would like to use it, so we need to have chips and devices to make use of it, basically that's it. First let's make TDD nice, make TDD work in large scale and then to it aggregate with FDD? We'll have to see, personally I have not looked at it in detail but it is about integration to the device. There are many things we can do on the network side but the device is very challenging in terms of integration and power consumption. <b>REFARMING FOR LTE</b> We discovered that maybe eight years ago when we pushed a lot for 3G at 900, in discussion with Qualcomm and the others they said the chipset is not a big issue but the antennas and so on need to be integrated - and at the end UMTS 900 was not that easy on the devices. At the end, the idea is to have LTE in all bands, the big question is when and how to reduce 2G and 3G traffic. en-us How good are the mobile networks at Mobile World Congress? <b>UPDATE - 28 February: What about the WiFi?</b> GWS have now sent me some results based on their understanding of the performance of the free WiFi at the event (the one with the mwc_free_wifi id). Note, this is just a result of one company's tests. GWS tested the service using its <a href="">mobile diagnostic application</a> (previewed for the first time at MWC). I'm not sure of the methodology (number of tests, locations, time of day etc) so probably best to take these as indicative rather than anything comprehensive. The results according to GWS' testers: <i>"Overall the received WiFi signal strength levels were strong, typically ranging between -55 dBm and -85 dBm, and averaging approximately -70dBm. This is to be expected given the number of wireless access points deployed at MWC. "When a network load test was performed, the peak download throughput experienced was approximately <b>5.5 Mbps</b> - and the average of the load test download throughputs achieved was <b>1.6 Mbps</b>. "However, the achievable HTTP browser and download throughputs were limited to average rates of less than <b>400 kbps</b>. To put this in perspective: it would take 20 seconds to download a 1 MB file at this rate. "Additionally, for 20 per cent of the time, the achievable download throughputs were less than <b>100 kbps</b>."</i> When you're walking the show floors, do you have trouble making a call, does it seem to take you ages to load a web page - or in fact have you found the networks have performed OK? <a href="">Global Wireless Solutions</a>(GWS) a company that carries out network benchmarking by performing drive and walk tests, set out to find a more scientific answer. It strapped a back pack containing six Samsung Galaxy SIIIs, hooked up to test equipment from SwissQual, onto the back of a tester and got him to walk the aisles of Hall 7. The phones made calls and set up data sessions, and recorded the service they received. So what were the results? Well, actually pretty good for the three carriers Movistar (Telefonica), Vodafone and Orange. GWS's tester walked Hall 7 for about two 2 hours on Tuesday, 25th, using locally purchased prepaid SIMs on Orange, Vodafone & Movistar. <b>Voice</b> On the voice side, all (159) call attempts were successfully initiated and terminated. The only difference between the carriers was that all of the 53 calls made over Orange and Movistar's networks were on UMTS, while Vodafone stepped 15% of its calls down to 2G. <b>Service</b> In Hall 7 alone, coverage was provided by six dominant 'servers' for Vodafone and Movistar, but only three dominant servers for Orange. All the devices were 3G devices (not LTE). Vodafone had around 85% Dual-Carrier HSPA (DC-HSPA) usage, with Orange showing nearly 100% DC-HSPA. Movistar showed nearly 100% usage over HSPA+. en-us VoLTE, moving from delay to deploy: free eBook <a href="">VoLTE: moving from delay to deploy</a>, is the latest eBook produced by TMN in association with Radisys. Through a main feature-length article and market infographic, it outlines: - Reasons for the delay in IMS and VoLTE rollouts. - Objections and benefits that VoLTE can bring to a mobile operator. - Functions and capabilities of the MRF, a key IMS element in a VoLTE deployment. - How the MRF can help operators maximise value from VoLTE. - Infographic that looks at the development of VoLTE, adoption in the market, and the latest data on deployments. Download <a href="">VoLTE: moving from delay to deploy</a> for free. More information on <a href="">Radisys' support for VoLTE deployments</a>. en-us What has Qualcomm done for the network lately? Qualcomm, as you will no doubt know, has had the device chipset market tied down about as much as is possible in a global market. Yet the vendor is also working hard to turn its top end device know-how into design wins in small cell technology - notching up a number of scores with small cell vendors such as ip.access, Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco. Additionally if operators want to offer higher bandwidths and capacities by aggregating frequencies, they are going to need devices capable of handling that: and that's not as simple as it sounds. Here, Laurent Fournier, head of Global Business Operations for Qualcomm in Europe, outlines how Qualcomm sees small cells as a drop-and-fit solution for adding capacity to networks within the same frequency bands as macricells. He also calls out the complexity required to support carrier aggregation at the device level, and identifies a couple of key technologies of potential benefit to operators. <b>Too long, didn't read summary:</b> 1. Small cells - instead of obsessing over perfect placement and backhaul availability, get them deployed in large numbers as best you can and use technology such as cell ranging and FeICIC/IC to sort out interference and make sure performance is unaffected for both macro and small cells. Small cells can also be backhauled over heavily-optimised LTE TDD links. 2. Carrier Aggregation is easier for the operators and equipment vendors who need to support only 2-3 combinations. Devices must support a host of multiple potential combinations. The complexity is with the chip developers, then, who must deliver solutions to OEMs that require the fewest possible "skews" to implement. 3. RF360 programme: power shaping [envelope tracking[, antenna tuning and passive element consolidation will reduce the size of occupation in the device of these elements by 50%. Matters because? Will let devices do more. 4. LTE Direct: device-to-device local discover-ability that is low power, low interference and can offer good potential for contextual or local services. Users can control which "broadcast" messages they receive from other users. Deutsche Telekom has Qualcomm's SDK and is playing with certain use cases. <b>SMALL CELLS:</b> The good thing is that LTE prepared itself for small cells, by allowing effectively the small cells to co-work in a macrocell environment leveraging the same frequencies and not jeopardising the capacity of the macro or small cell, so we were quite innovative in that respect. We also try to serve other types of interest from the operators, reducing the cell size, the price of a small cell by putting it more in the vicinity of a high tier smart phone, making it easy plug in to the fixed connectivity that you have. The idea is to have equipment that can easily radiate from indoor to outdoor, optimising itself with other small cells and the macro layer. That's much more useful for an operator than figuring out exactly where traffic is, making sure you find the exact hotspot location, getting backhaul to that location etc. In that model, if you have not been able to negotiate the right spot then you've somehow missed your investment. Whereas with small cell advances you can almost randomly spread a certain amount of low cost small cells and maximise the capability to capture the hotspot traffic you were looking for. On top of that if you add LTE improvements like Cell Ranging [Range Expansion through FeICIC/IC] using the ability to properly set power levels to co-ordinate with the macrocell layer, then you are maximising the reach of a small cell under a macro layer by allowing good cell edge performance for a device that is connected quite distantly from the small cell. So that's the concept - something very innovative and easy to install for the operator. <b>Who integrates the SON in the small cell - Qualcomm or the vendor?</b> That really depends on the model the manufacturer wants to leverage. Either he goes for pure L1 minimum connectivity and does the job of implementing his own SON solution, or we have the capability to provide our <b>UltraSON suite of solutions</b> that he can build upon. Communication to the gateway, OAM mechanisms, and so on can remain proprietary from the vendor. Qualcomms is in Cisco, ip.access is using our entire suite of solutions, Alcatel-Lucent will have its first equipment in the second half of this year once our chipset is commercially available. <b>Small Cell Backhaul</b> We have solutions that allow carriers to <b>leverage 2.6 GHz TDD as backhaul</b> to a small cell. We further enhance that by cleaning up the signalling to really maximise the bandwidth that you can get out of LTE in TDD mode. The bit rate in 20MHz of 2.6 GHz TDD is bigger than what is normally advertised for a mobile. It definitely helps to simplify the installation of small cells. <i>[Editor's note: Via its acquisition of Israeli chip company DesignArt, Qualcomm is "inside" several NLOS small cell backhaul products from the likes of Fastback Networks and others]</i> <b>Carrier Aggregation - the device wears the complexity:</b> The first step is to achieve two carrier aggregation (CA) delivery. <b>There is complexity around CA that one can not exclude.</b> A carrier or infrastructure vendor, when they are delivering CA they have to aggregate just two frequencies for one operator. A device platform, when it is delivered to the OEM, has to be capable of supporting a whole bunch of CA types, so the complexity is on our side rather than the infrastructure side. <b>The number of bands we have to aggregate means we must limit the number of skews the OEM would have to develop for a Cat 6 device</b>, making the appropriate device across all the infra vendors we have in front of us and testing all these combinations in real networks. To ensure the whole IOT works properly, roaming conditions, mobility conditions, a device will need to be able to work from one type of CA installed by the operator, and which has to provide continuity with another CA mode installed by the same operators, and all these cases we need to be able to put in place. The message is the complexity of adding another band, from two to three Carrier Aggregation is not the major hurdle. The major hurdle is to ensure all types of combinations we have to cope with are efficiently working between ubiquitous and mobility modes. <b>So basically the burden is on our shoulders.</b> <b>RECEIVE DIVERSITY:</b> Receive diversity is an important element, we are working on providing more receive diversity schemes, to three and potentially four. You need two well engineered antennas, that's the minimum gain you need, the third and fourth antenna may not be that exceptionally engineered but you can still play with that. <b>In a device you have GPS and WiFi antennas, so why not try to use those extra antennas to provide three receive diversity or four receive diversity to the mobile? </b>It's forward-looking for the moment but something we talk about because we think it's a sensible way to go to improve the quality of reception to our devices. In many cases the antennas are set on the edge of the device so when you grab the device, in the palm of your hand, you may hide at least one antenna and then those 3rd and 4th antenna techniques will also be of relevance. <b><a href="">RF360</a> PROGRESSION</b> In envelope tracking - optimising the voltage you provide to the Power Amplifier (PA) when it needs to transmit at a certain power level - we have more than 50 design wins already in 15 OEMs. In antenna tuning we are implementing already: the Lumia520 is leveraging that particular technology. The third element of RF360 is instead of having a whole bunch of passive elements (PEs) such as independent filters and PAs addressing all the different frequencies, what we are proposing is to be able to aggregate all these elements using CMOS technologies into a smaller piece of equipment. And we will go one step further to offer the possibility for any vendor or OEM to <b>aggregate antenna tuning, envelope tracking, passive element aggregation into one chip</b>. That reduces the equivalent size of occupation of all these elements by 50%. So it's additional space provided to the OEM. en-us Cell ranging in LTE-A 5G *will* be about new radio interfaces (as well as other things) Vendors and operators are aligned in agreeing that defining 5G requirements is about defining the overall user experience - bringing the whole network to bear on reducing latencies and increasing capacities - rather than "merely" a definition of a new air interface. Operator group NGMN, which held a press conference at Mobile World Congress to announce that it will be producing a white paper defining requirements for 5G later this year, lined up several operator CTOs to agree the party line. Yet that's not to say there won't be new air interface and radio technologies being deployed within 5G systems. Tod Sizer, VP Wireless Research, Bell Labs (Alcatel-Lucent) said the company had been working for five years on a new air interface called UFMC, which stands for Universal Filtered Multi-Carrier. UFMC is a new, non-orthogonal, waveform designed to provide a much more efficient way of enabling networks to serve both broadband users and very narrowband "short data" devices such as any embedded sensor or M2M module. Simply put, the non-orthogonal waveforms allow transmission of small data packets in a number of adjacent subcarriers. There are other waveforms under consideration for certain applications within 5G research programmes such as METIS, these include Generalized Frequency Division Multiplexing, Filter Bank Multicarrier (FBMC) and Bi-orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing. These waveforms are identified as suiting particular traffic types. Researchers at <a href="">5GNOW</a>(5th Generation Non-Orthogonal Waveforms for Asynchronous Signalling), for example, have identified four basic traffic types, which you can think of as having different throughput, signalling and latency requirements. The four types are Sensor Type Communcations (Type Four), Machine Type Communications (MTC) (Type 3), High Volume Data transmissions in heterogenous and cell edge areas (Type 2), and the classical "bit pipe" traffic type (Type 1). en-us Understanding NSN's performance quality strategy It is Tuesday afternoon at Mobile World Congress. Your writer is wondering aloud exactly how many announcements Nokia Solutions & Networks (NSN) has made before and during the event. It seems the company has been firing off product press releases for three weeks. NSN's VP Portfolio Management, Thorsten Robrecht, chuckles and says the vendor has had 50 - he spells it out - "Five-Zero" product launches around MWC. Well, TMN has got just shy of half an hour for this briefing, so there's no point trying to list them. Instead, we ask Robrecht to pick up on some key areas and explain what NSN is doing differently in each area compared to other vendors. Overall, if you want to understand NSN's key top line message, it's about performance quality. <b>Too long didn't read version:</b> 1. We may be later than some to small cells, but ours are built with the exact same software as our macro cells, which is a big operating advantage. 2. Our liquid apps server is being demoed and white labelled by Vodafone. That's great validation. Combine our small cells controller and liquid apps and you've got something very different. 3. The market isn't "getting" active antennas quite yet but we've taken the decision to move to a second generation product in any case. Operations and network planning departments don't get it yet. 4. We virtualised everything in the core onto genuine COTS. Nobody else has done this. It gives operators an uncrashable core. 5. Network security is getting airtime. We're now starting a new service in the network to stop malware getting to devices, and then if malware does get through we can block bad content or messages on the uplink from the device. 6. Applied Big Data: we've got Minority Report tech for the network, predicting service degradation and network outages 48 hours before it happens, with 95% success rate. <b>Small cells:</b> The key differentiator is about having macro feature parity, we've been beaten up for being a little bit late with small cells on the market. And we said OK the market is not there maybe, but if we are coming out we are coming out with a clear strategy that is this: <b>"There is no product in this company on the radio access which uses different software or a different chipset, it's all one glue, one software running in all network elements. Full stop."</b> That is a big differentiator, no other company is doing this - they're all making small acquisitions, they bought this company, they bought that company, that product and that product, we are the only one throughout from very big macros down to the small picos indoor [that are] all running exactly the same software. Which means, <b>if you build a network you've got one NMS, one feature set, one upgrade, exactly the same services at all places of the network</b>, and higher performance because we are running interference cancellation and so on with all the same algorithms. <i>(COUNTER point if you shrink down a macro you don't have something optimised for small cell deployment. The reason there are dedicated standalone small cells is that companies have invested time and money into SON, management, into SoCs optimised for small cell use cases</i>.) What we did already - five years ago we defined the chipset and software that way that it really scales down, it means <b>it's not exactly the same chip but a chip family</b> which we defined so that it scales down to power consumption, memory etc So it is not exactly the same part number, but it's still the same software on all of them. Liquid Apps: <i>(You announced LiquidApps and the Radio Application Server a year ago, are you getting anywhere with that?)</i> We announced KT [Korea Telecom] last year, we finalised the lab activities with them, and are in field trials. Then you might see our exact same product on the Vodafone booth, you see our product there. <b>Vodafone is promoting it themselves, branded it themselves, and we're very happy they are creating an ecosystem.</b> On top of this, because we are ahead of the pack, we are providing services with IBM on app support, providing video surveillance and caching on two networks. The first app that seemed to resonate reasonably well is caching. Most important thing there is latency improvement. Take the football game experience where you have a stadium with a lot of people and you want to provide in-game video from all angles, it's there that it's wanted so create and upload the content there. It saves backhaul traffic, but it's also a very quick user experience. <b>So we are progressing, it could be quicker but still it's a major change.</b> I'm happy that Vodafone is on top of it and promoting it themselves. We've combined this with small cells: that is another differentiator. We have got a central controller point that can control 200 small cells together so they behave like one BTS. You can start some operating independently, and then when you have a lot of small cells you can dynamically re-route IP addresses to this controller remotely and then it all behaves like one BTS. And on top of that in this controller we have this liquid apps server so the same hardware piece that provides advances for small cells can no spread a local content and services capability. <a href="">FlexiZone Small Cell Demo</a> <b>Active Antennas</b> This is my baby, but this industry is slow sometimes, so we have not so much volume deployments but a lot of small field deployments and trials. <b>We are in second generation development which for me was a crunch - "Was it worth to do it?"</b> I think it's too early and operators are not picking it up because there's certain complexity to network planning. At a high management level the lifecycle benefits are well understood, but go down in the organisation and the network planning tools, structure, thinking is very traditional. People would rather buy something they know. I want to say, <b>"Guys, instead of doing two base stations make one and do beam forming."</b> [The product] works, its live, it's all there but the commercial success is not yet there. I think we're too early but we decided we'd continue, go to second generation, make it cheaper and easier to operate. <b>Virtualisation:</b> This year we are bringing all our core elements as virtual [instances] on standard IT hardware, so the MME, gateways, HLR, you name it, all virtual and all on IT COTS hardware. <b>We're the first in the industry, nobody else is doing so, nobody else is putting the entire core on IT.</b> <i>(To be fair, there are NFV and vEPC, vRNC, vIMS demos and announcements all over the show)</i> [Other telco vendors] are having some elements, but are still not using totally commercial COTS hardware, they are still on some kind of tailored ATCA hardware. So if you go totally to COTS, it means providing the resiliency for the non-breakable core, so you can build this functionality into the software. So we built this into the software when we virtualised it: not to break, not crash, even though the hardware might crash the software reconfigures automatically. <b>This is what we are standing for - all the network on all COTS hardware.</b> <a href="">Video on TCO reduction through NFV</a> en-us Planning tools to take away one pain point of enterprise small cell rollouts One interesting comment from <a href="'s-performance-quality-strategy.html">this interview</a> with NSN's VP Portfolio Management was that the design and planning tools that operators use can actually hinder the deployment of new technology that could actually provide a benefit to those network planners. The reason is that their planning software wasn't modelled to include the latest or newest technology (in Robrecht's example it was active antennas). Therefore it's tempting for them to stick with what they know. Indoor small cell planning brings different challenges even to outdoor - there is the issue of interference cancellation and coordination between cells in the building, as well as with signal coming into the build from outside. There's clearly a move to provide planning tools that make the business of deploying indoor coverage solutions easier. Small cells enthusiast SpiderCloud created basic planning software as a smartphone app within its <a href="">EASY30</a> programme - to provide a rough outline design tool that is intended to act as a pre-sales tool for operator enterprise sales teams. SpiderCloud said that the sales team at Vodafone Netherlands wanted something that would enable them to get a quicker stop-go on deciding whether to go ahead with a full design and quote. The company viewed the need for such a tool as a sign that Vodafone was looking to scale up its indoor rollouts capability and needed something quicker than a full survey to allow its sales teams to speedily put together an offer for potential customers. The app, which prompts users for input such as the number of floors, type of building, furniture layout etc gives a rough impression of the RF design and cost (SpiderCloud said it is usually accurate to about 25% of the final design). That gives the sales team enough information to decide how to move ahead next. Also trying to take some of the pain away from indoor network planning is iBwave, which was demonstrating <a href="">iBwave Mobile</a>, a smartphone and tablet-based design tool that is intended to make site surveys and network design accessible to non-expert personnel. The tool allows users to drop access points selected from a catalogue of commercial products onto a floor plan and see the coverage and throughput they would provide, and what interference they would cause or encounter. iBwave's tool could be seen as the stage after SpiderCloud's in that it provides an actual design, rather than a mere order of magnitude calculation. But iBwave execs said that the trend behind its development is still the same - to make design and planning easier, and less technically demanding, for operators so that they can roll out to more locations in a shorter time, at less cost. The tool works by importing a floor plan of the company, floor or building to be covered. It also has a complete catalogue of small cells on the market, power levels, frequencies supported and so on. Once a floor plan has been mapped and a supplier selected, the engineer can select his small cell product (it's likely that this decision has already been made by the operator having a commercial relationship in place) and input likely access point locations. The tool then displays coverage areas, predicted throughput, and any internal-internal or external-internal interference issues. en-us Paradox regained in French mobile market There has been a paradox in the French market which has confused me for a while. The government that encouraged market conditions in favour of a fourth operator was Sarkozy's. Put broadly, this was a government that was more economically liberal than Hollande's. Therefore competition was taken as an axiomatic good, and would lead to a better deal for consumers as well as, in time, more innovation in the market as operators were forced to up their game to compete for customers. It looked odd, then, that the incumbent operator that stood to lose from this introduction of a new competitor was led by a man who had worked in the Sarkozy government and was seen as an ally of Sarkozy. When Stephane Richard's executives complained about the impact Free was having on the market (and they did complain) they were in effect complaining about the effects of a policy fostered and encouraged by their CEO's political allies. Could it be that Sarko's man, and Orange, stood to gain all along from the desire of his former government to take action that, on the face of it, would only damage Orange? If Orange was so opposed to Free's entry, why was it was Orange that signed a national roaming deal with Free that Bouygues and SFR both said was way below market rate. Bouygues even described it as mad. (As an aside, Free responded that Bouygues itself had offered it terms at a lower rate than Orange but Free had rejected the deal as it though Orange offered better coverage. Those in glass houses.) And although Orange talked tough on Free, for example slating it for poor network performance that resulted in Free's customers camping on Orange's network, it became clear that the biggest losers in comparative terms were Bouygues and SFR, who lost a higher proportion of their customers to Free and were forced to make more price concessions to their existing customers than Orange to stay relevant. Now both are seeking some way out or major structural change - possibly a merger. And Orange? In the interim it has embarked on a large cost-cutting programme that has seen the loss of "headcount" and other "items" on the balance sheet, as well as a restructuring of job and working practices to boost productivity. The process has been traumatic for many. But Orange's justification has been that cost-cutting was necessary because of the new environment. Top line expansion is difficult - near impossible - in the current market, therefore a cost reduction programme was essential to generate enough money to keep shareholders happy and have some left over to invest in the network. Orange's CEO Richard described its last set of results (where revenues fell) as "beautiful" because of the huge cost reductions the operator had achieved. In fact the operator had even over-delivered on its cost reduction programme. Asked what he was most proud of in the last year, it wasn't 4G or any service or innovation he pointed to - but the efficiency programme. Could Orange and Richard have made the same cuts without the justification of the new market dynamic without incurring a lot more grief from its unions, and from a new government that was much further to the Left, and therefore protective of labour rights, than the previous regime? It seems unlikely. Those who run Orange have lost little market share and now have a scaled down more "efficient" operational structure, and better profit margin. Its competition? Granted, a combined SFR-Bouygues would, at current numbers, have a leading 50% share, with Orange about 40% and the rest mostly with Free. Yet if a deal goes ahead the terms the competition authorities would impose on (Bouygues) are likely to severely dent that power. Bouygues has already said it may end up selling its network to Free to gain regulatory clearance for the merger. When the Austrian market went from four to three, there was a porting of customers, not just of spectrum. It seems likely that if approval is given, there may be similar in France. Also note that this is a merger from weakness, not from strength. There's no golden egg here for a merged SFR-Bouygues to lay - just consolidated cost savings to peck at. As for Free? It is boxed as low cost fixed-mobile player, only now faced with taking on a network it didn't build and design and integrating it with its own growing network, and potentially even taking on a customer based with all the costs and operational challenges associated with that. In essence, we would be close to where we started - with three operators and Orange in the lead (or about to take the lead), only this time around Orange has rid itself of a lot of its pesky, cost-intensive, baggage. If the merger is not approved - that's still OK for Orange. Two struggling competitors and an upstart Free struggling beneath Orange's dominance. A final irony. France now has a government that wants to clip the wings of its own regulator, ARCEP, the regulator whose guidance ensured a smooth entry for Free in terms of beneficial termination rates, and whose inspections and reports have given Free the nod on network and service quality, is now viewed as to pro-competition, and too unaccountable. The government also wants to see telcos get on a little better - to stop beating each other up on cost. Speaking <a href="">in mid-February</a>, French minister of industrial renewal Arnaud Montebourg, said the government "wanted to clip the regulator's wings to "put it in its place". He also pledged to promote greater co-operation between telcos." According to a report: <i>"He contrasted an emphasis on competition, which he described as 'an absence of policy,' with his own vision of a state-led industrial policy, in which the government "introduces order where there is disorder". He said he hoped the formation of such a policy would help to combat the "excesses of competition... in a helpful way."</i> This time around, a government that wants to "order" the market rather than see competitive forces shape it may be just what Orange - a company that has benefited from increased competition - wants to hear. Paradox regained. en-us Aviat claims new class of product with integrated microwave router <a href="">Aviat Networks</a> has announced general availability of a product that is intended to reduce the cost of providing Layer Three IP functionality over microwave backhaul links. The company says the launch of a product creates a new class of element in the mobile network - the microwave router. Gary Croke, Director of Marketing, said that Aviat's CTR 8000 combines five devices into one platform: an indoor microwave unit, L2 Carrier Ethernet switch, L3 IP/MPLS router, Power over Ethernet capability (replace PoE injectors) and a TDM Pseudowire device. Although other solutions exist that site a "microwave radio-aware" router next to a microwave unit, Croke said the CTR 8000 is "the first purpose built microwave router". By reducing the number of devices required to bring IP/MPLS to the access network, the product is designed to reduce complexity, lower latency in the network, give operators more flexibility in creating services, and reduce operating costs. Aviat was unable to provide detailed ROI on the TCO of deploying combined devices, but it did provide the following claims: "Alternative solutions which deploy separate routers and microwave radios together have more than 50% higher initial cost (CAPEX and OPEX) than an integrated, single box microwave router. From an ongoing OPEX standpoint, the disparate solutions also consume 50% more power than the integrated offering. "The maintenance aspect of the ongoing OPEX is also reduced since there are less boxes to manage. Plus, in tower leasing models where operators pay ongoing OPEX for rack space and power, these cost savings can have a direct impact bottom line expenses." One key factor for oprators driving the market for a combined microwave router will be the increasing demand for IP/MPLS in backhaul. A Heavy Reading survey of operators, carried out in April 2013 on commission from Aviat, found that 74% of operators said they are likely to need L3 in the access network within three years. And 76% said they were likely to deploy a single integrated microwave router in three years. Croke said that the demand for L3 networking features in backhaul is driven by "at least" five main factors. 1. New service delivery. 2. To add traffic engineering via MPLS to enable better network utilisation 3. Enabling easier scalability in the access layer 4. Easier X2 interface support 5. Multi-service (ATM-IP)connectivity capability. "The biggest reason is the ability to create new services from the cell site itself," Croke said, citing the example of an operator in an emerging market who could create enterprise L2/L3 VPNs directy from the platform. "The cell site is moving from a simple house for the base station to a service delivery hub," he added. That imminent demand for L3 capability will not be met by current solutions, Aviat argues in a <a href="">blog post</a> published yesterday to prepare the ground for today's release. The post argued that current routers are too expensive to support a network-wide deployment: <i>"Typically, the answer [to deploying L3 in the backhaul] would involve deploying a regular router for IP services at each and every cell site. But have you seen the prices of routers lately? Cisco didn't get to where it is today without having some heavy pricetags attached to all the heavy iron it's shipped over the last 20-odd years. Suffice to say, it would be a pretty penny if MNOs equipped all their cell sites with their own dedicated routers."</i> Even aside from the other element integration, Croke pointed out that the Microwave alone is the "most dense integrated Microwave solution on the market with double the Gig E and 50% more radio ports than any other product, providing aggregate capacity of 4Gbps per link." With interfaces to up to eight radio directions, the product can be deployed out at the cell site or in the aggregation layer. en-us Aviat solution is aimed at enabling easier migration to IP over microwave For LTE in TV Whitespace, you're going to need LTE whitespace phones. Here's one. Developing commercial uses for Whitespace spectrum will rely in part on having devices that can operate in the frequency. That is especially true if you are targeting use of the spectrum to enhance cellular capacity. Researchers from the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT)in Japan have developed a model smartphone, built on Android 4.2 (Jellybean) OS, that can attach to both FDD LTE (R8) networks and LTE Whitespace (TDD) spectrum. The smartphone can operate as TDD LTE in Whitespace spectrum from 470-710MHz, and in FDD LTE in LTE Band 1 (1920-1980 Uplink, 2110-2170 Downlink). The devices uses two SIM slots, one for the NICT-developed LTE system (see picture) for TV whitespace and the other for commercial LTE networks. The phone selects and switches between the LTE systems in software. The developers said that standby times are 290 hours for TV whitespace and 440 hours for normal LTE networks. The phone also features a talktime of more than 10 hours. "By combining this smartphone with whitespace database-connected base stations (eND-B) we have already developed, we can increase LTE spectrum without causing interference with incumbent systems in the TV band, which means we can use the spectrum more efficiently and effectively," said Dr. Hiroshi Harada, director of NICT's Smart Wireless Laboratory. "We believe our development of this smartphone will contribute to the global development of LTE systems that utilise TV whitespace." Earlier this year researchers at NCIT announced a breakthrough in the use of <a href="">TV Whitespace for long range</a> communications. en-us NICT smartphone capable of using TV whitespace, shown here fitted with its UHF band antenna DAS over CPRI is not just plug and play, but brings real benefits At Mobile World Congress TMN wrote about the <a href="'s-take-this-fight-inside.html">looming battle</a> of indoor coverage, a story given legs by two DAS vendors making announcements at the show that promised tighter integration to base stations using the CPRI standard. The first, the ION-E from Commscope, was a product release that promised a lot of things, amongst them the capability to connect via CPRI to a baseband unit. The second, from TE Connectivity, announced the company had achieved direct integration, over CPRI, with Alcatel-Lucent baseband equipment. That would allow DAS nodes to be fed by radio resource direct from Al-Lu base stations over a direct optical interface, in effect becoming an indoor (and already deployed) version of the remote radio head. As we wrote at the time, TE's view was that: <i>"Being able to distribute RF over a direct optical interface will be much cheaper than other DAS. This is because it eliminates the Point of Interface processing that conditions power levels via high power RRHs. "The jag is, TE has integrated its CPRI-capable DAS directly with Alcatel-Lucent (with other vendors to come later) because it says CPRI iteration is not interoperable between vendors. So in other words, if you haven't integrated your CPRI DAS direct with vendors, then you don't really have CPRI support at all."</i> Here, John Spindler, director product management, TE Connectivity, expands on both those points - the advantages of a direct optical connection and the need for integration to the base station vendor. <b>CPRI and DAS</b> <i>By John Spindler</i> One of the enduring challenges in matching up a distributed antenna system (DAS) with a mobile base station has been the need to use RF as the method of interface. Using RF as the interface adds complexity and cost to the deployment, but to date, DAS equipment has not been able to use the Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) that has been defined for base stations. Now, DAS equipment is emerging that does use the CPRI interface and this development solves several key problems: <b>Complexity</b> Base station power must be reduced from 40W to 0.25W with racks of passive equipment called attenuators as well as remote radio heads to process the RF signal. All of this external "plumbing" between the base station (which can also include splitters, combiners, circulators, etc.) and the DAS head end adds to the complexity and cost of the deployment. <b>Space</b> Racks of RF attenuators take up floor space, making a DAS deployment much larger than it needs to be. In many cases, there may not be enough floor space at the intended facility to accommodate the entire deployment, so a separate, off-site facility must be built. This added expense can be a deal-killer for many mobile operators. <b>Heat</b> RF attenuators generate a lot of heat, making it necessary to spend more on air conditioning in DAS head end deployment areas. <b>Cost</b> The need for attenuators and the need to invest manpower resources in designing and deploying all this RF "plumbing" adds Capex and Opex to the overall deployment, worsening the DAS business case for mobile operators. <b>Inefficiency</b> Mobile operators invest in large, hot, power-hungry amplifiers for their base stations, only to have their power substantially reduced in the actual deployment. Amplifiers are one of the biggest cost drivers in a base station. CPRI eliminates these issues. By interfacing DAS directly with a base station via CPRI, the need for all of the attenuation "plumbing" is eliminated, thereby saving space, power, and cooling costs in the DAS deployment. In addition, a direct CPRI interface eliminates the need for remote radio heads in the DAS head end deployment. DAS manufacturers' ability to use CPRI interfaces vs. traditional RF will greatly improve deployment time and the business cases for mobile operators, thereby increasing DAS' market reach. en-us Towering ambition for rural cell coverage in India Electricity towers carrying high voltage transmission lines across rural India will be used to site mobile base station equipment powered by a range of energy sources, following a 15 year deal between <a href="">Microqual</a> and <a href="">Intelligent Energy</a>. Microqual is a manufacturer of site infrastructure products and also provides professional services for the installation and deployment of sites. Under a framework agreement signed with India's largest electricity transmission company, it has access to 85,000 electricity towers for use as sites for mobile base stations and antennas. Building dedicated towers for mobile comms infrastructure in rural India is not cost-efficient, the companies claim, but siting equipment onto electricity towers offers a cost-effective alternative. However, the base station equipment cannot be powered using the same grid that the towers support as there is no access for maintenance or support to the overhead power. So alternative generation solutions from Intelligent Energy, including <a href="">air-cooled fuel cells</a>, will instead be used to power site equipment. Under the agreement, Intelligent Energy will provide energy generation and management services to the Microqual transmission tower estate across India, as Microqual in turn provides network transmission sites to its Mobile Network Operator customers. That will make it possible to provide a cheaper supporting mobile infrastructure, the companies say. A press release from Intelligent Energy said: <i>"The collaboration, the first of its kind in India, will significantly reduce the cost of rolling out mobile phone telephony across parts of India's hinterland, helping bring services to a greater proportion of the country's rural population. It also enables the use of electricity towers for last-mile mobile phone coverage by providing an independent source of energy from the existing high voltage lines which cannot be relied upon to power localised equipment due to access and maintenance restrictions."</i> Intelligent Energy will be supplying the technology through its Indian subsidiary, <a href="">Essential Energy</a>. en-us A week in the net: Open everything and wireless for industry <b>1. Open base station platform from Range Networks</b> <a href="">Range Networks</a> said it has released the latest version of software that will enable developers to offer operators base stations based on open source software. Its OpenBTS 4.0 platform is designed to enable the development of RAN infrastructure on standard hardware using open source software, thereby reducing the cost of base station equipment to operators. The new software increases processing capacity by 14x, providing improved SIP authentication and service for over 1000 subscribers on a single node. It also includes a built-in channel-scanning tool for transmission frequency selection when deploying systems and a JSON API that allows mobile network operators to configure and manage the software remotely. The software will form the foundation of a new, multi-node, commercial network being implemented by French carrier GlobalTel to cover the island and city of St. Pierre (population 7000) of the French territory St. Pierre & Miquelon, located off the coast of Newfoundland. What is Range Networks? The company website says: "Range Networks is delivering IP economics to cellular. We replace the traditional base station subsystem and core network. Our OpenBTS RAN software makes handsets look like SIP endpoints to an IP-based core" <b>2. Openet and OpenCloud open for joint solution business</b> Service platform provider <a href="">OpenCloud</a> and policy and charging software provider <a href="">Openet</a> have teamed up to launch a joint solution for Charging, Rating and Service Control of voice, messaging and data services. The partnerships sees Openet integrate its charging software on OpenCloud's service layer. Essentially, the integration is designed to bring charging and policy closer to the service control elements that replace traditional IN (intelligent network) platforms. That means that the same charging platform can be used for voice, messaging, video and data services - in theory making operators both more efficient but also more flexible in how they can offer pricing packages to customers. "User experience is a combination of the service delivered, the charging model and price-points, and the behavior of the underlying network: that's service control, charging and policy," said Jonathan Bell, VP Product Marketing at OpenCloud. "The combined OpenCloud and Openet proposition delivers all three collaboratively, and enables operators to make superior customer experience the new competitive axis." <b>3. Save your energy</b>y The GSMA and Pakistani operator Warid Telecom have completed a trial of technology designed to reduce energy requirements in the telco's network. The project, carried out as part of the <a href="">GSMA's Mobile Energy Efficiency</a> programme, was conducted on ten cell sites across various geographies in Pakistan, and the technical solutions were trialled on four cell sites. These included Coolsure high efficiency telecom air-conditioners, GE's Sodium Nickel Chloride Durathon battery and a Ballard methanol fuel cell back-up power system. Deployment of the solutions across Warid's network has already begun, with 200 DC (direct current) air-conditioners being installed. The claimed results were energy savings of 30-70%, equating to annual savings of $6 million and a reduction of 19,700 tonnes of carbon emissions. The GSMA also announced that Eltek, Enertika, PowerOasis and Purcell Systems have joined the GSMA's MEE programme as technology partners. The companies are working with the GSMA to deliver projects for operators who wish to reduce their networks' energy consumption and cost, as well as carbon emissions <b>4. Wireless for industry Part 1</b> FreeWave Technologies provides M2M wireless networking solutions. This week it announced a new product called <a href="">WavePoint</a>; which is a high speed product that can deliver industrial data over long distance broadband connections to enable M2M applications. Ashish Sharma, CMO of FreeWave Technologies, said, "With the ability to combine multiple frequency bands, along with wireless IP routing and support for a wide variety of industrial SCADA protocols, management services, and flexible network design elements within one cohesive solution, WavePoint is able to meet the broad range of networking and communications needs of today's expanding enterprise." WavePoint provides a variety of network configuration options and support for up to four wireless OFDM broadband modules per unit, operating in the 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz ISM and U-NII bands and options for 3G and Wi-Fi operations. Since WavePoint enables multi-purpose communications and can operate in multiple frequencies, customers can integrate it with existing Local Area Networks (LAN), Wide Area Networks (WAN) and more, thus protecting their existing network infrastructure investments. The guiding idea of WavePoint is that organisations can deploy several network elements, such as wired network access, cellular network backhaul, local area communications, high speed backbone communications, Wi-Fi Hotspot access, and mobile mesh networking through a single platform. <b>Wireless for industry Part 2.</b> <a href="">Red Lion Controls</a> will be able to add LTE from Rogers to its series of IndustrialPro cellular routers and RAM cellular RTUs. With 4G LTE wireless connectivity organisations of all sizes can leverage increased data speeds for primary or backup WAN connectivity for remote sites, video surveillance applications and remote automation environments. Red Lion's routers and RTUs provide wireless connectivity to remote locations and as a primary WAN connection or a backup to existing network links. <b>Contract NEWS:</b> <b>Alcatel-Lucent scores IP transformation deal with China Mobile</b> <a href="">Al-Lu</a> hailed a one year frame agreement that could add up to EUR750 million to move the provider to an all-IP platform. That would pave the way for future NFV and cloud-based services, the companies said. In 2013, China Mobile selected Alcatel-Lucent as part of its vendor list, to provide lightRadio 4G TD-LTE overlay, Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and small cells technology to support its new 4G network. <b>Allot Communications doing video optimisation somewhere in Asia</b> Allot said a "Tier-1" operator in Asia is using its VideoClass optimisation product to handle video QoE for its 15 million subscribers. The unknown customer is a new one for Allot. <b>Aviat Networks in Papua New Guinea</b> <a href="">Aviat</a> selected by Telikom PNG to deploy a total turnkey microwave transport system to support its National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout. Aviat will supply its WTM 6000 microwave trunking platform for the project. <b>Axell Wireless at World Trade Centre, New York</b> <a href="">Axell Wireless</a> will deploy DAS system, at thenew World Trade Center complex in New York City, including One World Trade Center - the world's fourth tallest building. The deployment is the largest public safety system installed by Axell and is also the largest public safety system in the USA. It includes optical master unit, fibre head end units, directional couplers, VHF filters and distribution amplifier packages covering 88 channels for UHF, VHF, and 800 MHz frequency bands. The high-speed system involved laying over 5 miles of high-capacity optical fiber to create the largest public safety system in the USA. <b>Ruckus Wireless knows the way to San Jose</b> <a href="">Ruckus Wireless</a> will provide free WiFi for a new 18,000 seat stadium being built for the San Jose Earthquakes. The service will be based on its "Smart WiFi" tech, designed to overcome the deployment and interference issues stadium deployments can give WiFi. TMN has no idea what sport the Earthquakes play, but stadium wireless is a key market at the moment. Other Ruckus stadium builds include Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC; the 50,000 seat Chennai Stadium in India; Rio Tinto Stadium, a 28,000-seat venue in Salt Lake City, UT; Imtech Arena in Hamburg, Germany; the National Stadium of Lima, Peru, and two of Brazil's largest soccer stadiums - the 68,000 seat Estadio Nacional de Brasilia and 52,000 seat Estadio Octavio Mangabeira in Salvador. <b>Telsasoft has six customers for its monitoring tech</b> Six regional US carriers have signed up for <a href="">Telsasoft's network monitoring tools</a> to monitor performance, manage faults, and view subscriber experience on their 2G, 3G, and 4G networks.. The carriers are NewCore Wireless (Minnesota), Pioneer Cellular (Oklahoma), Thumb Cellular (Michigan), James Valley Communications (South Dakota), Mid-Rivers Communications (Montana) and Blue Wireless (Buffalo). en-us Processor companies target next level NFV and SDN environments The development of Software Defined Networks alongside the deployment of virtualised network functions will place new demands on supporting system and chip platforms. Two companies - Broadcom and Xilinx - have each today launched new products aimed at enabling more flexible and faster NFV and SDN rollouts. <b>Softly soft approach in data plane from Xilinx</b> Xilinx has announced a product that it says will enable the data plane in SDNs to be programmable, as well as the control plane. It says it has done this by developing a new <a href="">Software Defined Specification Environment for Networking</a> (SDNet), with functional specifications compiled into Xilinx's FPGAs and SoCs. It calls its concept <b>Softly Defined Networks</b>, rather than Software Defined Networks. It says that this is because it is based on a programmable data plane with content-intelligence and a southbound API control plane connection. <i>"In contrast to traditional SDN architectures, which employ fixed data plane hardware with a narrow southbound API connection to the control plane, Softly Defined Networks are based upon a programmable data plane with content-intelligence and a rich southbound API control plane connection." (Press release)</i> <b>Benefits</b> Xilinx says that chief benefits of benefits of its Softly Defined Network solutions enabled by SDNet and its FPGAs and SoCs include: <i>Support of wire speed services that are independent of protocol complexity Provisioning of per-flow, flexible services Support for revolutionary in-service "hitless" upgrades while operating at 100 percent line rate Improved, highly flexible Quality of Service (QoS) Flow and session aware capabilities Fully programmable hardware data plane and I/O Support for NFV at wire speed including user defined, custom capabilities Scalable line rates from 1G to 400G</i> "The first phase of SDN (Software Defined Networking) enables data centre and WAN operators to customise and improve their network in software. In the next phase, we can expect a drive beyond fixed-function hardware data planes. "Adding high-level programmability and more sophisticated functionality to the data plane, accessed via standard software APIs, means that networking resources will be managed more intelligently and efficiently, increasing the rate of innovation," said Nick McKeown, professor of computer science at Stanford University. <a href="">Full Release from Xilinx</a>. en-us Roaming regs leave operators with dead parrot investment in competitive market The European Parliament's approval of the proposed regulation for a "Connected Continent" (telecoms single market) is another step towards confirmation of the end of the roaming premium within and between EU countries. Commissioner Neelie Kroes hailed the result, saying, "In 2010 I promised to end roaming charges by the end of 2015, and now we are one step away from achieving that result." EU member countries are set to review the regulation, and then final approval will be in place for zero roaming. The end of roaming is just one goal of the single telecoms market regulation, but few seem aware that there's already law in place that makes it mandatory for European operators to invest in technology to support a market structure originally intended to bring about just that result - zero roaming. This is the competitive roaming environment which was proposed as a mechanism to support the growth of an alternative roaming contract market that separates home contracts from roaming contracts. Read more on this story on TMN: <a href="">HOW ROAMING PACKAGE MAY MAKE US ALL ROAM-ANIANS</a> <a href="">Operators risk wasting millions on under-threat EU roaming project</a> Under Roaming III Regulation operators have until July 2014 to implement, at their own cost, technical support for a market structure that will, by the EC's own words, not achieve the goal it was set up to achieve. Let's be clear. Although operators are being forced under law to invest in the charging, signalling, security and billing systems to support Roaming III, even the EC doesn't think the new market will achieve the zero roaming goal by itself. Here's the EC's proposal from September 2013: <i>"While the Roaming III Regulation with its structural measures will inject greater competition into the market it is not expected of its own to create a situation where customers can confidently replicate their consumption behaviour in their home Member State when travelling abroad and thereby to end roaming surcharges overall in Europe."</i> In other words, R III R will not achieve the EC's end goal. Yet operators have to do it anyway. So then what? Well, then the EC offers the possibility for operators to voluntarily make deals that would let users roam at home prices. <i>"The proposal introduces a voluntary mechanism for mobile operators to enter into bilateral or multilateral roaming agreements which allow them to internalise the wholesale roaming costs and to gradually introduce roaming services at domestic price levels up to July 2016 while limiting the risk of price arbitrage...The proposal however requires they are notified to improve their transparency. The proposed voluntary regime is designed to induce the pass-on of such legitimate scale economies to consumers through the provision of roaming services at domestic price levels, under conditions which ensure that roaming throughout the Union is covered and that consumers throughout the Union benefit in due course from such offers."</i> What this means is that operators are being offered the window <i>and</i> the door as a way out - a competitive roaming market and price-led controls. But the question is, what's the point of the competitive market if operators are being "encouraged" to offer home-rate roaming (achieved via roaming alliances) in any case? Who would try to set up as an alternative provider if cross-European roaming is being offered at home prices by "home" operators? What was the point of Roaming III? This is a point acknowledged by Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA, in a statement to TMN. He said, "Mobile network operators will continue to implement the complex provisions of the current roaming regulation, including the separate sale of roaming and domestic services by July this year. These pro-competitive measures risk being undermined by the successive waves of detailed and intrusive retail price regulation." Ryan Heath, EC spokesperson on Connected Continent, said to TMN in an email that if operators abolish roaming premiums then the "potential loss of income and customers" that comes from extra competition could be avoided. In other words, if operators offer no-premium deals then the driver for a competitive market goes away. Heath said in an email to TMN: "The operators could simply abolish roaming premiums today if they wanted - thereby avoiding the potential loss of customers and income that come from the extra competition in Roaming III. This has already happened in France and some parts of Scandinavia to a greater or lesser extent. It's their business choice to keep them, not an EU regulation that keeps these premiums in place." en-us Last Call - Small Cells World Summit | Market Update <b>This official supporting publication for the event will include:</b> *Operator interviews - key strategic achievements and targets of operators involved in small cell deployments *Full market update - a series of articles covering latest small cell products, software platforms, chip technology designs and supporting services and software. *Mapping the Small Cells Network update <a href="">(see here)</a> - an update on TMN's eye-catching map of the small cells ecosystem *Market infographic <b>Contribute your news and opinion to the editorial</b> To make the publication as comprehensive as possible, make sure you submit news of your recent product launches, contract wins, and key market developments to TMN's <a href="">editorial team </a> <b>Advertising and sponsorship - rates from 2,000 GBP</b> This official publication will have full, high profile distribution to all event attendees, and through The Mobile Network and Avren Events' digital and online channels. To book your advertisement, thought-leadership piece or to sponsor the bespoke market infographic contact <a href="">Shahid Ramzan</a> or call +44 (0) 798 6546 740 <b>DEADLINE: 18th MAY 2014</b> en-us Small Cells World Summit - Official Publication Landowners urged to push back against Cornerstone's reduced rental demands A Scottish property services company has urged landowners not to concede too much ground in negotiations with Cornerstone, the infrastructure partnership set up by O2 and Vodafone in the UK. CKD Galbraith claimed that Vodafone and O2 "have been writing to individual landowners requesting their agreements are assigned to Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL) and proposing changes in their favour." CTIL is the venture tasked with building out a network on a merged grid that Vodafone and O2 are building in the UK. As such, some sites are being targeted for decommissioning. CKD Galbraith claimed that CTIL has been intimating that landowners who don't agree to reduced rents risk losing the site altogether. The property company said: "Requests for significant rent reductions, frequent tenant's break clauses and more relaxed agreement terms are commonplace, sometimes giving the impression the site will be decommissioned if suitable terms can't be agreed." It added that landowners could call Cornerstone's bluff on this last point - in its opinion reduced rent terms will make "little difference" to whether Cornerstone decides to decommission a site or not. "While some sites will be decommissioned as part of the network consolidation plans, agreeing to the operators demands could make little difference as to whether a site is retained as part of the wider network," a press release from CKD Galbraith claimed. According to Mike Reid, Head of CKD Galbraith's Utilities Department, property owners should not necessarily concede to the operators' demands and bear the brunt of cost savings. "Some landlords will actually be in a very good position to renegotiate to their own advantage," said Reid. "Often the situation is presented as a problem that only the mobile operators can solve but even when owners feel they have little bargaining power, there is usually more than one course available. "Reviewing the existing agreement terms often shows the operator cannot implement their proposals without the owner's consent. We have helped many property owners in such circumstances reach an amicable settlement with their much larger tenants where, in some cases, rents have been increased and other terms improved in the owner's favour." en-us Why VoLTE performs better for users and operators than VoIP apps In a <a href="">recent blog post</a>, NSN released results of tests its Smart Labs team conducted on the performance of different VoIP clients. The tests found that devices with the VoLTE client showed, on average, 40% better battery performance, generated up to ten times less data, required 20-40% less data throughput and generated 100-200% less signalling load. Overall, the quality scores (MOS) between VoLTE and the OTT apps were about the same, and in some cases the VoIP apps actually scored higher, although VoLTE had significantly lower "ear to mouth" time (about 94% lower) and the OTT apps required much more resources to achieve the same quality as VoLTE. So why the disparity, and what does this mean in terms of how operators can view VoLTE both in terms of user experience and its impact on their network? First off, were the results gamed towards VoLTE in some way? Not at all, said Gerald Reddig, Portfolio Marketing Manager for NSN Mobile Broadband, which includes the Smart Labs unit which carried out the tests. In fact, Reddig said, if anything the results were helpful to the OTT clients, as they were conducted on good radio conditions, in an uncontested cell environment. A congested cell would be expected to make things even harder for the OTT clients, Reddig added, given QoS support within VoLTE for adaptation to radio conditions. Further results of tests conducted in congested scenarios will be released later this year, Reddig said. <b>Methodology</b> Devices were tested in the lab on a simulated network in stand-by mode, with display off and the VoIP app running in background, and also in busy mode, with calls of differing durations and speech simulated by transmitting various audio samples. Both originating and received calls were tested, and one "unanswered" call was included. So for instance over a 20 minute period a test profile might be, 1 minute originating call, one minute break, two minutes receive a call, 2 minute break, 4 minute call, 6 minute break, one non-answered call, and so on. Measured KPIs for the tests were Current Consumption (which impacts on battery lifetime), radio and packet core signal load (which impact on control plane dimensions), the number of data sessions, number of SIP sessions, data volume, and MOS and delay measurements (which effectively measure user experience). <i>(Note: NSN did not want to make public the performance metrics of specific clients, but among the clients it tested were major VoIP apps, as well as non-native and native VoLTE clients.)</i> <b>Results</b> So what was causing the disparity in performance? One thing to keep in mind is that some VoIP clients delivered superior User Experience KPIs (better call quality) - it's just that they required much higher battery and data resources to do so. (By the way, 3G Circuit Switch calling consumed by far the least power). Another thing to keep in mind is that not all of the OTT clients presented similar results, some were in fact much more akin to the VoLTE client in terms of data and signalling requirements, although all of the VoIP clients required more battery/power resources than native VoLTE. Reddig's view is that one explanation for the differentiation in battery performance is the way that signalling is not optimised within certain OTT implementations. For instance clients that are not mobile optimised have a greater number of "keep alive" signals across the network and a higher number of SIP refresh sessions, generating both a higher signalling load and battery requirement. The results showed that during a busy period, some clients were generating over 1000 RAN signalling messages, compared to fewer than 300 for the native VoLTE client. That lack of optimisation also translated to data performance. In one case, a specific client required over 100 IP data connections compared with fewer than 20 over an equivalent session for other clients. Additionally, non-native VoLTE clients and one client using codecs not optimised for mobile were generating 4-5x the data load of the native VoLTE client. Another aspect Reddig highlighted was the mandatory requirement for Voice Activity Detection in VoLTE. Some clients don't use VAD at all, and some use a non-standardised profile. But VoLTE voice activation gives a much faster response than non-standardised voice activation in OTT clients. One well known VoIP client generated over 4Mb of total data (UL & DL) over a call period, compared to just over 1.1Mb for the VoLTE client. This combination of client and codec settings meant that a native VoLTE client on a two minute call had a current requirement of 231.8mA, compared to a requirement of 328mA from one of the OTT clients. <b>So what?</b> So what of it? Aside from battery life, which is an obvious issue, does it make a difference to the users what network resources a client uses, as long as quality is OK or better than native "telephony"? Well, one thing of note for Reddig is that operators now are considering their response to increasing competition from the likes of WhatsApp's intended voice service launch, Facetime and KakaoTalk, with internal teams making the case to management for investment in VoLTE as an answer. Marketing teams are also grappling with what their messaging can be around VoIP. Understanding both the user experience and the network impacts of specific clients, and native VoLTE, can inform to those investment cases. Reddig also pointed out that even if an operator is planning to go "open garden" and transition to a super-bit pipe model (and many have no choice but to do that), it would still have to consider the QoS profiles of different clients, as well as network loads that would impinge upon control and data plane planning. en-us LTE World Summit 2014 en-us Does M2M need a silo network outside of 5G (whatever that is)? Head of Mobile Research at BT, Dr David Wisely, has said that cellular technologies will not be able handle the wide range of IoT use cases, and that "5G" definitions may require a "silo" network technology dedicated to M2M. Addressing the topic of what constituted a 5G network and asking "Is 5G going to be the network to deliver everything" at a recent <a href="">Cambridge Wireless event</a> Wisely asked: "Do we create a 5G that's all encompassing, [providing] mass-market data to consumers and SMEs, and M2M. Or do we say it can't be both, you need a different piece of spectrum, a way of doing M2M so you end up with a silo? An example would be TV Whitespace, is that a silo outside of 5G?" Wisely said that some of the demands of some M2M applications - ubiquitous coverage including in basements, very low power, low cost, very high location accuracy - would mean "cellular evolution would not support all M2M applications". In that case, non-cellular technologies in dedicated spectrum might be the answer - as is the case with proposed TV Whitespace standard Weightless. The difference between demand profiles of mass consumer and enterprise data, including video content and the sort of quick-fire demands of sensors and other M2M communications has exercised other research minds too. You can read a TMN article on <a href="">alternative radio technologies</a> for M2M here. Since that article was published UK start up Senaptic, led by ex-Ubiquisys founder Will Franks, also <a href="">recently grabbed some attention</a> for its narrowband tech approach. And you can read the <a href="5G--will--be-about-new-radio-interfaces-(as-well-as-other-things).html">thoughts of head of wireless research</a> at Bell Labs here. Do you think wireless support for the IoT will operate on non-cellular (ie non-5G) technologies, or is the point of 5G to design a network that can support multiple use cases? en-us EE to launch LTE Broadcast in 2016 as it builds video distribution capability EE will have live LTE Broadcast services in 2016, according to Matt Stagg, Senior Manager of Network Strategy. The operator will carry preliminary trials at a sporting event in 2014 [TMN has heard independently this may be at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games] and further trials through in 2015 as well as a stadium deployment. A wider commercial eMBMS rollout would then take place in 2016, Stagg said, dependent on there being sufficient compatible devices in the market to justify the business case. Stagg said that LTE Broadcast would be viewed as a tool within a box that would deliver the best video distribution network. Its best use case is in cells where multiple people are likely to be watching the same content, such as at music festivals or sports events. That means we will not see a network-wide LTE Broadcast deployment from the operator. With video dominating data traffic volumes across LTE networks, EE has recently tasked Stagg's team with looking at what a video distribution network would look like. So what technologies does EE think will form part of this video distribution network. <b>1. Optimisation.</b> Current video optimisation techniques will not scale to future demand, Stagg warned, and operator controlled manipulation of content could also bring risks of litigation from content owners. "Optimisation platforms will move away from the mobile network doing traditional transcoding and transrating. It will be too expensive to do that in the core. We have to make use of all the capacity we've got in the RAN so we don't want to be spending a lot of money on the core. I also think we will start to get litigation on that in the next couple of years [from content providers]. It's not the mobile operators' content, so un-wrapping it and changing it... I think we'll start to see some litigation on that now." Stagg said he is trying to move from a view of video optimisation to customisation: a configuration based on a basic set of parameters, such as device type, access technology and time of day and what the user has paid for. "These are levers in the network and then they become business rules, so you can start to get some innovative tariffing and services with content customers want, at the quality they want and that the content provider wants to see them in." <b>2. Adaptive Bit Rate</b> One thing Stagg turned his attention to is the limitations of Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) technologies in LTE. "ABR is designed to work on networks with low capacity, and it works really well, but LTE networks don't have low capacity." ABR technologies tend to mean that all video is constantly trying to stream at a higher definition. So a device will always tend to receive content at the highest available bit rate - meaning that a user may be receiving high def content on a device that they can't tell the difference on, yet still be paying for the extra data. They also make it impossible for operators to charge for, or users to understand video usage, on a volume basis. "We have no way of knowing in advance how much data half an hour of video on ABR is," Stagg said. "We need to take a step back and say, 'You have 10hrs standard def, 5 hours hi def and unlimited hi def outside of busy hour'." <b>3. Edge caching</b> Edge caching - ie caching popular content at the base station - is intended to reduce backhaul load and also provide a more responsive customer experience, but it is a technology that comes with its own issues. It means that billing, content filtering (adult filters for example), policy and subscriber related decisions that currently happen in the core ("Gi services" as Stagg termed them) will have to happen at the edge, requiring increased processing support. Stagg said the time had not yet come for edge caching but in backhaul-constrained locations, for example, edge caching will have a role. It will come, but not just yet. en-us Video analytics the battleground for monetising next gen content distribution networks Yesterday we reported the views of one operator network strategist that <a href="">video optimisation platforms would not be fit for purpose</a> as operators develop their networks into something that looks more dedicated for video content distribution. Today video optimisation company Skyfire showed that optimisation providers are addressing some of those concerns by becoming the latest optimisation company to announce the launch of new video analytics capabilities. Opera Software's Skyfire unit has released <a href="">Rocket Insight</a> as part of its Rocket Optimizer platform. The idea is to provide real-time analysis of mobile video so that operators can view metrics such as stall rates, video start times, bitrate distribution and mean opinion score, and then use this data to improve their overall network traffic management. Interestingly, Skyfire has not tied the analytics platform to its own optimisation platform; it can be deployed alongside existing mobile video optimisation hardware. Skyfire also said the module is compatible with its traffic steering partners such as F5, Procera Networks and ConteXtream. The company said that traffic management analytics have been limited to packet or URL-level data, which were often a poor proxy metric for application session quality, and did not allow for session mitigation actions in real time. By contrast, Rocket Insights enables operators to see the impact of video on their networks, down to individual subscribers and their (anonymised) location in the network.Th "Video stall rates are the one KPI that a mobile operator in 2014 should never be without", said Nitin Bhandari, Skyfire CEO. "In a world in which video QoE is an essential part of the overall customer experience, we're happy to have risen to the challenge of quantifying mobile video playback analytics in an immediately actionable manner for operators with the release of Rocket Insights." That focus mirrors a demand made by EE's Stagg (see linked article above), that operators need to get video to be "good" first, and then think about moving to monetisation on top of that good experience. Certainly increasing analytics capabilities is not just something on Skyfire's to do list. In February Kontron and Vantrix announced a <a href="">combined approach</a> to provide high performance data optimisation and analytics on Kontron's SymKloud platform. The messaging from the companies heralded much of Skyfire's. For example: "Operators are challenged to make accurate business decisions because they do not have enough insight or analysis of the traffic flowing across their networks, the quality with which it is delivered and the usage patterns and viewing habits of their subscribers. This solution provides rich insights into that traffic for making strategic decisions." Also in February Citrix announced ByteMobile Insight, another "Big Data" platform - this time aimed at a more all-encompassing analysis of mobile data usage as against a targeted video analytics approach. en-us Webinar: Macro RAN, Small Cells and Backhaul Trends with Maravedis-Rethink and EJL Wireless <a href="">Register for webinar</a> We would like to invite you to an exclusive Webinar entitled "RAN and Backhaul Latest Trends" We are excited to invite you to this unique webinar featuring two of the most prominent wireless analysts in the industry who will provide their respective views on the latest developments of small cells, macro RAN and wireless backhaul. Both Maravedis-Rethink and EJL Wireless will present highlights of their latest research on backhaul, microcells, base station markets and operator trends. Speakers: Caroline Gabriel, Research Director, Maravedis-Rethink Earl Lum, Principal, EJL Wireless Research Adlane Fellah, Moderator, Maravedis-Rethink Duration: 30 minutes <a href="">Register for webinar</a> en-us Maravedis Small Cells Webinar - Is 2014 the Breakthrough Year? View the webinar <a href="">FREE on demand</a> The traditional methods of dealing with increased traffic have a theoretical limitation that will be reached in high traffic areas in the next five years. Leveraging unlicensed spectrum, re-using licensed spectrum and improving spatial efficiency will be essential to meet the capacity and performance expectations of the future. This webinar, run in partnership with the Dell'Oro Group, covers: - the status of small cells - what are some of the drivers/adoption barriers - what will the impact of small cells be on the incumbent RAN and backhaul vendors - what is the potential market opportunity for small cells equipment. Programme include: Introduction from Stefan Pongratz, Director, <b>Dell'Oro Group</b>. Presentation from Tony Conlan, Radio Access Networks Vendor Manager, <b>Telefonica</b> Presentation from Jim Parker, In-Building Wireless Solutions: Neutral-Host DAS, Wi-Fi & Small Cells, <b>AT&T</b>. A live Q&A. View the webinar <a href="">FREE on demand</a> en-us Yoigo, the challenger challenged It might be stretching it a little to say that Yoigo was born out of a dream, or to try to argue that its lean operating structure as much a virtue as a necessity. This national, spectrum-owning, license-holding operator, exists with fewer than 100 employees. It hires 2G national roaming coverage from Telefonica. It subcontracts building and management of its network. It outsources customer care. It outsources IT development and operations. Its retail and distribution structure operates on a franchise basis. Although it has a 7% market share and its owner now wants to sell it, it still has 4 million customers under management. Yoigo was in fact born out of a combination of a necessity and an opportunity that looked too good to pass up. Back in 2006, a fourth operator license had been lying unused in Spain since 2001. Efforts to establish a new operator, operating only a 3G network, had run aground, supposedly dashed on the rocks of an immature 3G equipment supplier market. By 2006 the current majority owner - Vivendi - had decided that it didn't, after all, want to go ahead. In six months' time, the license would have to go back to the regulator if no network had been built. Minority owner TeliaSonera was faced with a quandary. It could write off its investment to date in the carrier - standing then at about EUR100-150 million, or it could try and do unto others as it had been done by in its home markets in Scandinavia. In Sweden where it was the incumbent it had seen its market disrupted by low cost player 3, with retail prices dropping 70% in three years. In Finland, Sonera had gone from 33% EBITDA positive to -21% EBITDA in 15 months. What if it could do something similar to Telefonica and the other two main carriers (Orange and Vodafone) in Spain? As one party close to the action at the time says: "Telia Sonera was faced with question: "What the hell do we do? Do we sell the company... but there were no buyers. Do we close down the company... which would have meant a cash loss of about 100-150 million Euros. Or do we start it up and see what happens, and if we start it up can we cap it at 1 billion Euros peak funding?" If TeliaSonera wanted to go ahead, it had six months to get a network (of sorts) deployed and start operating services, otherwise the regulator would have the license back. Faced with two things, the certain loss of its stake if it pulled out, and the temptation of being the low cost disruptor in a Western European market for a change, TeliaSonera decided to go ahead. What happened next? <a href="">READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN TMN QUARTERLY...</a> en-us Small cells or Cloud RAN? Do you understand the trade-offs? <b>By Frank Rayal</b> Mobile network operators (MNOs) have more choices of radio access network elements today than ever before. The need to densify the wireless network based on the premise that more access nodes leads to higher network capacity has fueled innovation on how to achieve this objective within stringent cost constrains imposed by the ability of MNOs to monetize mobile data services which constitutes the bulk of traffic in the network. Small cells in the form of compact base stations are one aspect of densification while distributed antenna systems (DAS) and distributed radio systems (DSR) based on base station hotel concepts, where centralised baseband processors are connected to remote radios, are other forms. In the last couple of years, a new concept has emerged which provides yet another approach for network densification: Cloud RAN. Read the FULL ARTICLE in <a href="">TMN Quarterly, Issue 6</a> <b>SAMPLE QUOTES:</b> "Cloud RAN was originally conceived for macro cell deployments... however it holds much promise for deployment in heterogeneous network. In fact, this is where Cloud RAN can have its debut in active networks." "This brings us to the challenge facing Cloud RAN implementations: how to balance the greatest in performance benefits against the cost of fronthaul?" "Small cells have high flexibility on the quality of backhaul which sacrifices performance. On the other hand, Cloud RAN provides the ultimate in performance at the cost of high fronthaul requirements." Read the FULL ARTICLE in <a href="">TMN Quarterly, Issue 6</a> en-us What is HetNet coordination anyway, and what are the key technologies to know about? <a href="">Go to full article on HetNet coordination</a> The main reason why HetNets are interesting and challenging as opposed to the traditional Hierarchical Cell Structure (HCS) approach is that the deployments of different sizes of cells generally takes place in the same frequency (co-channel) as opposed to different frequencies (inter-channel). It would not take a lot of understanding to point out that this would give rise to interference and may make the network unusable. As you can guess, the standards are well aware of this. During the last few releases, 3GPP has been working hard to overcome this challenge of interference and make sure the network behaves as expected. We will look at some of these approaches below. <b>Click through to article to read more on:</b> X2 - the magical interface Evolved or Enhanced ICIC (eICIC) Cell Range Expansion or Extension (CRE) Further enhanced ICIC (feICIC) <b>Key Quotes:</b> "The initial deployments of LTE did not place too much emphasis on X2 interface being present. Inter-operability was another issue for which X2 didn't work very well. One of the major benefits of having an X2 interface is that different base stations or eNodeB's (hereafter referred to as just eNB's) can talk to each other and coordinate to make sure interference is kept at the minimum, especially on the cell edges." "There will nevertheless be pre Release-10 devices that are unaware of this interference management arrangement. These devices may experience significant interference while on the edge of the Small-cell." <a href="">Go to full article on HetNet coordination</a> en-us Why C-RAN fronthaul is a big challenge to existing network infrastructure technologies Cloud or Centralised Radio Access Network (C-RAN) is a new cellular network architecture promising to boost efficiency and lower costs when deploying public access small cell RANs. The C-RAN architecture separates the Base Band Unit (BBU) from the Remote Radio Head (RRH) using the Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI). Centralising BBUs at macro cell sites or central office locations enables more precise spectrum control and interference coordination while reducing power consumption, footprint and complexity of small cells deployed at street level or in indoor locations. The clear advantage of C-RAN has resulted in first live network implementations in dense environments such as stadiums, malls, tall buildings and city centres. The increased flexibility and efficiency on the radio access side however comes at the expense of fronthaul connectivity challenges. CPRI is a digitised, serial radio interface with capacities in the range of multiple Gigabits per second, well beyond the data rate of the user traffic it actually carries. In addition, CPRI has very strict requirements on transmission latency and jitter in order to guarantee faultless system operation and therefore superior user experience. <b>Challenges of dark fibre</b> The requirement for Gigabits per second transmission capacity with strict low-latency performance between pooled BBUs and distributed RRHs has driven mobile network operators to build their first C-RAN deployments using dedicated, direct fibre connectivity - often referred to as dark fibre. Building on dark fiber is a viable method, but is not practical in the future when the public access small cell rollout reaches the next level. As opposed to network infrastructure technologies such as Optical Transport Network (OTN) and Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), dark fibre is difficult to manage and troubleshoot. The missing monitoring capability of dark fibre networks does not support detecting faults and service impairments. In many cases, a fibre break cannot be isolated from a failure caused by the RRH. Contrary, infrastructure technologies such as OTN and MPLS cannot be applied due to their system latency, jitter performance and phase shift characteristics that do not support the CPRI specification. The significantly increased connectivity cost compared to dark fibre would be prohibitive due to the cost-sensitivity of CPRI-based fronthaul. en-us Six stories for the first morning of Small Cells World Summit <b>PRODUCTS:</b> <b>1. AIRVANA INTRODUCES ONECELL</b> <i>Multi-operator C-RAN for the enterprise</i> <a href="">Airvana</a> has launched OneCell, an LTE small cell system for enterprise and public spaces that "can act as a multi-operator small cell solution with up to a 10x performance improvement, at a fraction of the cost of distributed antenna systems (DAS)". OneCell consists of a Baseband Controller and multiple radio points, connected via existing Ethernet infrastructure, that together form a single "super" cell that delivers LTE service across indoor spaces ranging from 50,000 to 1,000,000 square feet without handovers or inter-cell interference issues. "OneCell is well-distinguished from solutions that address this space [indoor enterprise environments] using macrocell BBUs, and is particularly attractive compared to the cost of traditional Distributed Antenna Systems," said Ed Gubbins, senior analyst with Current Analysis. By eliminating handovers and interference zones, OneCell also provides the low latency needed for services such as voice over LTE (VoLTE). "Operators and building owners look for cost-effective, IT-friendly ways to deliver small cell capabilities in enterprise and public space facilities," said Ken Rehbehn, principal analyst with Yankee Group. "An approach like Airvana's, which leverages standard Ethernet networks, hides complexity, isolates signaling activity, and aims to make a virtue out of small cell overlap in dense network environments, promises substantial capacity and performance gains." For more information on OneCell, you can watch <a href="">this video</a>. <b>2. RADISYS, AIRHOP AND BROADCOM INTEGRATE SON FOR SMALL CELLS</b> <i>AirHop does the SON, Radisys the software platform, Broadcom the chip integration.</i> <a href="">Radisys Corporation</a> and <a href="">AirHop Communications</a> have announced the integration of AirHop's eSON software with Radisys' Trillium LTE TOTALeNoden solution and <a href="">Broadcom Corporation's</a> BCM617xx Series small cell silicon. The integrated SON solution for LTE and LTE-Advanced small cell networks is designed to enable operators to quickly deploy interference management functionality across a broad customer base. Trial deployments of the integrated SON solution are underway with operators. AirHop's eSON is a cloud-based client-server architecture enabling coordinated optimisation across small cell layers as well as between small cells and macrocells. Radisys' TOTALeNodeB software is a small cell solution that simplifies the development and integration of LTE small cells while cutting product development time. <b>EASING DEPLOYMENT</b> <b>3. ARQIVA TRIALS SMALL CELL TECHNOLOGY IN SOUTHAMPTON</b> <i>Working with a number of vendors to validate Arqiva's Small Cell RAN managed-services proposition.</i> <a href="">Arqiva</a> has been trialling Small Cell backhaul technology with <a href="">Intracom</a>, <a href="">CCS</a> and <a href="">Siklu Communication</a>, in operator trials in Southampton (UK) that will run until the end of June. Arqiva announced in February 2014 that it had won the exclusive rights to provide outdoor wireless connectivity in Southampton, together with a number of London Boroughs and other city centres, including Manchester. Intracom is trialling its StreetNode product in both Point-to-Multipoint and in Point-to-Point configurations, claiming the a worldwide first demonstration in the field of a small cell backhaul radio operating at 2048 QAM modulation providing almost 1GBps capacity. CCS trialled its self-organising microwave backhaul solution, with features including automatic re-organisation and re-alignment. Siklu is demonstrating 60 GHz, V-band backhaul with its EtherHaul-600T product covering the small-cell street-level. <b>4. CISCO LAUNCHES PARTNER PROGRAMME TO EASE PATH TO ENTERPRISE SMALL CELL DEPLOYMENTS</b> <a href="">Cisco</a> has launched <a href="">Small Cell Enterprise Select</a> - a programme aimed at accelerating operators' small cell enterprise deployments. Cisco has defined a service methodology that allows mobile operators to certify Cisco partners and support the market opportunity for lower cost and faster in-building deployments of enterprise small cells. Small Cell Enterprise Select is composed of the following elements: <b>Enterprise In-building Partners:</b> Cisco channel partners will be certified to sell and deploy in-building 3G/LTE services in collaboration with a mobile operator. <b>Technology:</b> Cisco Small Cell Solutions, which features Quantum Self-Optimizing Network (SON) capabilities of the Evolved Services Platform and Cisco's portfolio of enterprise small cells that take advantage of existing power, real estate and backhaul provided through the enterprise Wi-Fi infrastructure. <b>Increased Service Offerings:</b> Cisco partners enable the creation of additional services and enterprise value over and above existing offerings. Partners in the programme include World Wide Technology and Block Solutions. en-us Qualcomm releases chip for small business and neighbourhood cells Qualcomm, which has been winning small cell design business with the likes of ip.access, Alcatel-Lucent and (reportedly though unconfirmed as yet) Cisco with its FSM99xx chipset, has released a <a href="">cost-reduced version that it is calling the FSM90xx</a>. Nicholas Karter, VP Product Management at Qualcomm Atheros, said that the new chip is a cost-reduced version Qualcomm, which has been winning small cell design business with the likes of ip.access, Alcatel-Lucent and (reportedly though unconfirmed publicly as yet)Cisco with its FSM99xx chipset, has released a cost-reduced version that it is calling the FSM90xx. Karter said that the new chip provides LTE and WiFi functionality for cells with at about the 100mW power level and that support 16 simultaneous users. The target market is manufacturers of small cells suited for small businesses, but also for "neighbourhood" small cells - a term that only Qualcomm tends to use but can be understood to delineate a cross between public access metro cells and dedicated small cells that support a few simultaneous users only. The neighbourhood cell enables public access, but is smaller than a metro or pico cell. Deployment of many of these cells in areas of high capacity demand would require tight HetNet integration, supported by Qualcomm's UltraSON technology and LTE-A features such as eICIC and FeICIC. It's a market Qualcomm would like to build, as it suits its chip development which leverages device chip capabilities and is better matched for the smaller end of the small cell market. The focus is to allow OEMs to optimise the entire BOM for smaller small cells with a 28nm four layer design that Qualcomm claims offers superior power performance, integrated SON [UltraSON], its IPQ processing engine, hardware accelerators and is compatible with software that partners have already developed for builds on the 99xx series. The FSM90xx SoCs are expected to sample in the second half of 2014, Qualcomm said. Karter said that other base station system chip vendors that have tried to enter the small cell market have found it difficult. "It's not a clean P&L," he said. "It takes a lot of money to build these [small cell] chips as a standalone business case." Qualcomm's stated advantage is that it can leverage developments for its device chipsets and modems, especially in relation to RF technology. That means if you want to know where the big Q's small cell designs are heading, it's worth looking at its work in the device space. (<a href="">See more on Qualcomm's network chip development here</a> ) The company will continue to leverage its very aggressive mobile device development for its small cell base station products, Karter confirmed. en-us Bringing SON and small cells together: free TMN eBook to download <a href="">"Bringing SON and Small Cell Together"</a> describes the journey of SON through the network, what SON does for the operator, and how the industry can best deliver SON capabilities to operators as they plan, deploy and manage heterogeneous networks. <b>The publication contains:</b> - main feature article that explains foundations of SON, main SON architectures, how SON can be designed in small cell deployments, how to bring SON to the small cell market. - market infographic on SON development and operator SON deployments. Download the eBook: <a href="">Bringing SON and Small Cells Together</a>. en-us Huawei shipping tens of thousands of LampSite radio units per month Huawei is shipping more than 10,000 PRRUs (Pico Remote Radio Units) per month in some countries and regions for its <a href="">LampSite</a> in-building system, according to Peter Zhou, Huawei's President of Small Cell & WiFi, Wireless Network. Zhou said that in China, Thailand, the Middle East and Latin America*, Huawei is shipping over 10,000 (in some cases well over) PRRU radio units a month. <i>(*UPDATE: Since this article was written, Huawei has asked TMN to point out that Zhou accidentally misspoke and should in fact have referred to Europe, which is one of Huawei’s key markets for PRRU shipping, instead of Latin America.)</i> PRRUs are the distributed radio nodes that, in Huawei's LampSite system, connects back through a hub unit to a centralised Baseband Unit. Huawei launched LampSite publicly in February of 2014. Zhou puts its success down to the presence in these countries of large buildings and dense populations, and the fact that it is time for new, non-DAS solution for providing in-building capacity and coverage. "DAS is one cell or one sector capacity only. With Lampsite, installing multiple small cells, I can increase capacity 10-20x, supporting multiple technologies in one box over Cat 5 cable." In-building solutions are becoming a hot property at the moment, with Ericsson's <a href="">Radio Dot</a>, Nokia's <a href="">FlexiZone</a> for indoor, SpiderCloud's <a href="">E-RAN</a>, and Airvana's <a href="">OneCell</a> all offering a variation on a theme of distributed units (either small cells, radio remote nodes or antennas) connected to some central entity. But how do they differ? First off, LampSite, Zhou said, is not a DAS. "I would say it is different because in a DAS all the antenna connect to one radio unit, sharing one radio unit resource so it's one cell. LampSite is antenna and radio unit together, so the small box [PRRU] itself can be regarded as one small cell. That's different and that's why we regard LampSite as an indoor cloud baseband solution, with all these small units connecting to one base station indoor," Zhou said. Zhou said the "simple difference" between LampSite and [Ericsson's] Radio Dot is that "Dot just supports one mode, we support multi-modes and multi-band. Dot sits in the middle between DAS and LampSite. LampSite is a very deep evolution on traditional network deployment." What of the solutions that have more complete small cells connected back to an edge controller? "The issue for SpiderCloud is that each unit also has the baseband processing, so it's a small base station. Whereas with LampSite the baseband processing is centralised on one box, so you don't need to worry about interference between those PRRUs. SpiderCloud needs to worry about that." Zhou did concede that Huawei's Service Anchor (see diagram below), which sits between the core network and the hubs that aggregate LampSite nodes, and can also connect directly to small cells (Huawei Atom cells) is "quite similar" in architecture terms to the FlexiZone and E-RAN services controller nodes, including its ability to host third party applications. Huawei's Service Anchor also integrates functionality such as interference coordination for its AtomCells, and support for WiFi integration, and can connect to LampSite BBU as well. "So you can regard Service Anchor like a single radio controller - the open platform for third parties is just part of it." en-us This is not the small cell you are looking for: why ip.access' presenceCell will make operators money by rejecting users <b>What's different about a presenceCell?</b> The cell itself is optimised to gather data. What we are doing is specifically optimising the device to gather data that can be used for analytics, m-commerce, those kinds of apps. It's not about providing capacity or coverage. It's purely set up to gather data. Now, we could combine the functionality into a single piece of hardware but for the time we're saying that's a presence cell that does just that. <b>So how do you optimise something to gather data - what does that mean?</b> You allow it to communicate with a handset but just to take the information it needs; to gather your IMSI data then time stamp it and send it back to a central server so you've got a record of what was there, when it was there, where it was - job done. <b>So the device has to attach to the cell in the same way as to a serving cell...</b> No, there's no attachment at all. I'm not going to go into too much detail because that's slightly confidential. There is no attachment to the small cell or macro network, from handset to the device [presenceCell]. The presenceCell recognises the handset, it is an active communication but there's no attachment, registration or record that it took place. Simply put, the phone will ask to register, the cell will say, "No you can't but thanks for talking, goodbye." But in the meantime it has recorded that information. <b>Do you need to have an operating license to put one down?</b> Given the device is active and does operate in licensed spectrum it does need to be used in conjunction with an operator, so the target for the product is an operator. <b>Does it cost the same to manufacture as a "normal" cell</b> It's of the same sort of order of cost. From an operational point of view it's very simple. It's not integrated back into the core network, it literally just requires a pipe to signal the data back. We're aiming for a jiffy bag install - you mail the cells to a site and put them on the wall. <b>What are the advantages of the presenceCell approach over other methods of accessing presence data to feed the Big Data engines?</b> There are a number of carriers who are using macro and WiFi technology to explore user analytics, but you have a granularity issue. The cells in those methods are a certain size, but we can control the cell size to give a much more accurate map of where people are - we could say where you are exactly to a few metres. Carriers that have trialled it have recognised that it solves a number of problems that have so far been unsolvable, and we've seen significant interest from carriers who are already in this space. Another issue is, if you are to gather this amount of data and you push all of that back through your MSC you create a signalling and traffic load that is quite disruptive and unsettling for the core network. We feed that back without touching the core network. We are unique in having that capability. The last thing operators want to be doing is loading an expensive MSC with this data. To get the data direct to a simple blade server is very valuable. And if you compare it to Beacon type or Bluetooth tech, that's opt-in technology. Ours is universal, it's not something you opt into. It's something you have to say no I don't want to do this. <b>How are operators making use of this data?</b> A number of operators are forming relationships with big data customers and using the data they are gathering in an anonymised safe manner for big data purposes. We provide the level of granularity that these guys need. It's opening up new revenue streams and sets of income beyond the traditional play, and is a substantial line of income. This is not a trivial revenue stream. <a href="">More from ip.access on the presenceCell.</a> And here's what <a href="">operators and enterprises make of it</a>. en-us Alcatel-Lucent looking at new class of multi-personality small cell Dr Robert Soni, CTO, Small Cell Program at Alcatel-Lucent, told TMN, "We will be building new metro radios that take on multiple personalities - that either can be a metro cell with distributed baseband alone, an MRO (MetroCell Radio Outdoor) or something in between to support the use case." "We are looking at an asset that takes on the personality that's required according to what the backhaul actually supports. So if you can do full CPRI [on the backhaul/fronthaul], you want to centralise all your asset base in one particular place and you don't want to be dependent on anything at the end point then the box is an MRO. If the backhaul is constrained or shared or doesn't meet CRPI restrictions on delay, distance, jitter, then we are looking at an all-in-one base station architecture." However, he described another scenario that would see some processing carried out on the device, and some in the cloud. "There's something in between where potentially the backhaul may have an ability to scale beyond supporting typical IP requirements, in which case we look at splitting the processing between the edge node and the cloud," Soni said. This sort of product would work in conjunction with Alcatel-Lucent's work with Intel on virtualising its RAN portfolio, and making sure that the company can scale support for inter-layer and inter-frequency management. Soni is sceptical of the edge services gateway/node approach (see Huawei Service Anchor, Spidercloud SSN, Nokia FlexiZone, Airvana Onecell baseband controller unit) that controls distributed small cells from a controller node at the edge of the network. "The real question is do you gain a lot from having the interference management capability that is bandied about by SpiderCloud and Airvana. There are a lot of dependencies on release type and terminal types, particularly with the Airvana solution. And maturity with SpiderCloud is yet not clear, specifically with regards to eICIC which is not commercial yet in any network. So there's lots of dependency on interference cancellation techniques that are available on a per-release, per UE type. It's not clear you can leverage that today." Soni added that other approaches, such as Ericsson's Radio Dot, which are claimed to work over shared backhaul on Cat5/6/7 cabling, also have limitations. "While we see the value of having a standard interface across shared backhaul... there's always something. When people tell you that it can operate on shared backhaul, don't always believe it. When somebody's trying to push so much data across Cat5/6/7 cable there's very little else that can go across at the same time. And more importantly when something else does go across it disrupts. So I think there's a lot of talk, but no-one ever really talked about the fact that there's nothing else you could do with that cable." Soni added that the total cost of ownership of fibre vs cable was insignificant. "Sure the cost differential between the fibre and cable itself is significant but the total cost is dominated by the cost of labour to install - that's where I struggle a little bit with those solutions. Alcatel-Lucent, Soni said, is exploring the possibility of scaling down its gateway product to work as a local solution, as well as using its "Core in a Box" [virtualised EPC] providing full EPC functionality at the large enterprise, bypassing the need to wait for R12 SIPTO local breakout functionality. "We are looking at this in addition to our existing gateway architecture and whether it can be scaled down and be localised. Operators are giving different requirements for what they expect and need. As we already have a commercial gateway an enterprise could do a local gateway solution or potentially do a full EPC. I tend to think operators like standardised interfaces and boxes, if we can show them the value of having a core in a box in the enterprise that will create a lot of value from them." en-us EE takes innocent tech bloggers down the VoLTE rabbit hole The timing of the VoLTE introduction is tied to a) the testing programme b) device support at chip level for SRVCC c) service availability on 800MHz spectrum that will give EE an even wider reach for LTE (there's not much point having VoLTE if you're going to be handing in and out of coverage all the time). Speaking to journalists and bloggers taken on a trip round EE's test centre north of London, Tom Bennett, Director of Network Services, EE, said, "This is the most complex thing I've ever worked on in 20 years." "With most services the difficult thing is getting something working the same way over and again. With VoLTE, getting it working once has been a pain," Bennett added. EE has 50 of its own engineers testing the service, and will later extend that to 450 customers connected to its test systems. Bennett claimed that the introduction of LTE itself required seven new "systems" - referring to the EPC-SAE architecture mandated by LTE - whereas VoLTE has required 17 new "systems" and 74 new interfaces, he claimed. This is a reference to the introduction of the IMS - and the supporting signalling and control resources - required to support VoLTE. From what I could see, in the test centre EE is running a Mavenir MRF - I saw both COTS-based on HP servers and ATCA Blade - and a Huawei TAS (Telephony Application Server). Not sure about the rest of its IMS to date. Journalists were shown both a VoLTE call and a VoWiFi call between two devices over live networks, supported by EE's test IMS. In the subsequent Q&A it was instructive to see the reaction of journalists who have not been exposed to the world of IMS and VoLTE before come to grips with it. So, asked one, if it's so complex why are you doing it - what are the advantages to the consumer? Lower set up times and better quality, came the reply - although quality is similar to 3G HD Voice (it's the same codec) at the moment, so the quality uplift is more based around future improvements to the codec. What about revenue opportunities? No, there won't be any revenue increase from VoLTE, although there may be some future IMS-based services that may be revenue additive. Why is it so complex? Didn't you [the industry] know this would happen when LTE was designed? "Well, when LTE was specified, everyone thought IMS would long be deployed by now," came the answer. So you could see the wheels going round in the heads: it's very complex - therefore expensive, many of your current devices can't support it, it's not going to make you any more money and you're not going to market it as a service in itself. (And these questions were without EE telling them that devices are going to need SRVCC (single radio voice call continuity) support at the chip level (so not just a firmware upgrade)) So why do it? The advantages lie mostly with the operator, EE admitted. In fact, the proposed benefits to operators of VoLTE are well-rehearsed: with VoLTE ubiquity they can eventually switch off 2G/3G services gaining much higher spectral efficiencies from existing spectrum, they can benefit (perhaps) from introducing new revenue-generating services over the IMS, and there are potential operational savings from switching to all IP instead of a CS core. For more of those operator benefits, see this <a href=",-moving-from-delay-to-deploy:-free-eBook.html">eBook</a> produced by TMN in association with Radisys (incidentally, Radisys is the platform provider for Mavenir, whose kit EE is using). Put simply, operators sort of have to do it - they can't have calls falling back to 3G all the time, it's just too annoying for consumers and signalling intensive. So they need to support VoLTE - and to do that they need the IMS. The justification for this investment is that as voice is a key service (900 million calls a week on EE's network from its 27 million customers) it's worth investing in, even if it won't actually increase your top line. It's a slightly confusing world where you need an IMS because you need VoLTE, and you need VoLTE to justify your investment in the IMS. en-us One of EE's test devices sits in its test box, waiting for a call Dali Wireless throws hat in in-building innovation fight with high capacity distributed radio <a href="">Dali Wireless</a>, which markets a distributed radio system based on an element it terms the <a href="">RF Router</a>, has released a "High Density System" version of its product - offering 10Gbps throughput across 300MHz bandwidth on a single fibre. Although at first sight similar in concept, Dali says it is different from Digital DAS products (such as <a href="">Axell Wireless' idDas</a> ) because its RF Router takes RF signal and digitises and packetises it into IP, CPRI, or IP/CPRI-like packets. It then addresses and routes these radio packets to remote radio nodes, which then reassemble the packets and distribute them. The company says that this architecture means it is the only company that can deliver a many-to-many relationship between base station sectors and the antenna, and is also well suited to the virtualisation of base station processing resources. This creation of an "IP pipe" also gives it the ability to plug IP modules such as Wi-Fi access points and video cameras to the remotes of the cellular network and offload the content to remote management centres through the IP backhaul. Dali's VP Business Development, Wolfgang Weber, a former CTO with Swisscom and Telefonica, said the HDS delivers 10Gbps/ 300MHz over a single fibre, and with system latency of 65ns, is capable of supporting MIMO. Currently, Dali's system delivers 6Gbps at 170MHz bandwidth. The RF Router architecture looks similar to Digital DAS systems, but can be much more flexible in terms of how signal is distributed, Weber claimed. "If you really try to understand [Axell Wireless'] idDAS, you see it's still a 1-2-1 relationship between one hub and one sector. Yes you can have one sector connected to multiple radios, but we can have many sectors to many radios. With a solution like iDDAS you cannot change capacity because you have one sector at your disposal. It's a bit like if you turn on all the lights in a building, and can then selectively turn a couple off - that's idDAS. Well, the RF Router brings additional lights where they are needed, that’s the difference." en-us Vodafone to have hundreds of LTE small cells in Netherlands in 2014 Vodafone Netherlands is in live trials of public access LTE small cells in the centre of Amsterdam, and will have 200 sites commercially active within the next six months in the city. The operator will have "hundreds" more cells actively deployed in four other cities in The Netherlands within the same time frame. Matthias Sauder, Head of Network, Vodafone Netherlands (VFNL) told a "Het Nets and WiFi Offload" conference track at LTE World Summit that the small cells will be used to create what the operator will call Performance Zones - areas of high capacity in urban hotspots. Sauder said the operator was still in "vendor selection" for the deployment, but confirmed that the operator will be using a different vendor (or vendors) for the deployment than its macro LTE provider Ericsson. It will be using fibre backhaul wholesaled from KPN and Colt. The cells themselves will operate at about 200-300 metres in radius, Sauder said, which appears to suggest the cells in the trial are likely to be micro cells, in the 5W of output power range. They will be sited on lampposts and street furniture, he confirmed. (See grainy picture below for the actual products VFNL is using. Do you recognise them?) Vodafone is not using SON to support its deployment so far, and will manage the small cells as a separate layer from the macro layer, which will be used to provide underlying coverage. <i>(The operator was at one time working at Group level on developing a SON strategy it calls OneSON, with Huawei as its chief partner. Huawei said recently to TMN that the project was still live)</i> VFNL has 2x10 MHz at 1800MHz and 10MHz at 2.6GHz and will use both for the small cells. Where there is interference at 1800MHz the operator will use 2.6GHz for its small cells, Sauder said. "Yes we are using 1800 MHz and 2.6GHz for our small cell deployment," Sauder said. The trials had shown up "no big issues" Sauder said. "We were really surprised at how well it was working." If the carrier does move to SON, it will be dedicated within only the small cell layer, he said. "When you look at interworking it's really about performance management and we will have that in place to make sure both [macro and small cell layers] are working properly together," he added. "Performance-wise, interworking [SON] even in the same frequency band is not a big help. You know at the beginning I would have thought operating small cells in the same frequency band would not fly, but in the end if you make sure there is a certain distance between the macro cells and the small cells it will fly. And otherwise it's good if you have a second frequency spectrum as we have with 2.6 GHz." VFNL also has basic coverage at 800MHz, with 10MHz of spectrum. "Later on", Sauder added, the operator will also combine the 800 and 1800 MHz frequencies using Carrier Aggregation features. en-us Commercialised Full Duplex radio by next year claims Kumu Networks founder Full duplex wireless, which allows radios to transmit and receive on the same channel by cancelling out Self Interference, will be "a reality very soon" and could be deployed in multiple applications across the market, revolutionising some aspects of the wireless network, according to one of the key players trying to commercialise the technology. Sachin Katti, Chief Scientist and Co-Founder of <a href="">Kumu Networks</a>, and also a Professor at Stanford University where the technology that Kumu Networks is marketing was developed, said that operators are right now evaluating full duplex as an option. "We have units that show working in-band Full Duplex radios being tested and verified by Tier One operators. Full Duplex radios are going to be a reality very soon," he said. "Almost every carrier has mentioned 5G as a candidate for 5G technology," Katti said, but he doesn't think we will be waiting 5-10 years for commercialisation. "We will see commercialisation of this technology next year, probably," he claimed. Full Duplex works by isolating the receive path from interference leaking from the transmitter, allowing the receiver to "hear" received signal at the same time as its transmitter is transmitting. Katti likened trying to "listen" to an incoming signal whilst also transmitting as akin to trying to hear a whisper while you yourself are shouting. Transmitted interference can be "billions" of times more powerful than received signal, he said. Full Duplex, Katti said, has a number of applications, from device, to cellular and WiFi access to backhaul. Kumu's interference cancellation technology could be applied as a "building block" that sits in front of the radio in a variety of products and devices, with Katti describing a "simple front end to any radio" that would create a "tunable radio head" allowing a wide variety of applications. The cancellation technology can work for any frequency and air interface, including any potential new waveforms, Katti said, providing a tunable radio head that could be used to: - Create universal roaming phones that work on all bands - by allowing phones to be tuned to the available frequency band in the market instead of relying on static filters to handle cross-band interference. - Double the capacity on LTE access networks by sending and receiving on the same channel. - Double the capacity on wireless backhaul links - Enable small cells to "self-backhaul" by using the same frequencies at the same time for backhaul and access. - Enable tight HetNet coordination by creating enhanced interference coordination, enabling what in effect is a very low latency control plane by receiving control channel data at the same time as transmitting, thereby mititgating the need for high capacity fronthaul to carry co-ordination. - Allow increased use of under-utilised spectrum, for example by allowing LTE-U (LTE in unlicensed bands such as 2.4GHz and 5GHz) and WiFi to co-exist by avoiding LTE signals "leaking" to WiFi channels. - Although not stated by Katti in this talk (to LTE World Summit in Amsterdam) Full Duplex would also render invalid the distinction between TDD and FDD, by effectively allowing uplink and downlink in the same spectrum, without the need for unpaired spectrum technology. en-us Nokia gets loaded and puts VoLTE to the test Remember this story from Nokia about <a href="Why-VoLTE-performs-better-for-users-and-operators-than-VoIP-apps.html">VoLTE vs VoIP app performance</a>? If you do you may remember that although the VoIP apps did use up more resources (signalling, battery etc) they also performed roughly the same as VoLTE in terms of call quality. However, those tests were conducted in "ideal" uncontested radio and cell conditions. Nokia said it would come back with some further tests that put VoIP and VoLTE under the microscope in loaded cell conditions. TMN wrote at the time, of the first tests: <i>"If anything the results were helpful to the OTT clients, as they were conducted on good radio conditions, in an uncontested cell environment. A congested cell would be expected to make things even harder for the OTT clients, Reddig added, given QoS support within VoLTE for adaptation to radio conditions. Further results of tests conducted in congested scenarios will be released later this year, Reddig said" </i> Well, Nokia's Smart Labs unit has now conducted those further tests, and the results (perhaps unsurprisingly) meet Reddig's expectations. In a <a href="">blog post</a> Nokia's Gerald Reddig quickly runs through a couple of parameters where VoLTE, because of its inbuilt QoS mechanisms, dealt better with loaded cell conditions than the tested VoIP apps. It seems that VoIP app call quality drops when under low to medium load conditions and call sessions drop altogether when under medium to high network load. Nokia said that VoLTE, protected by having its path smoothed through the network, performed just fine under the increased load. I'm not sure of exactly what conditions Nokia tested in, and what QoS mechanisms they invoked, but what this appears to show us is that if you define QoS into a service to support the delivery of packets across the network, transport, GTP (GPRS Tunnelling Protocol), IMS and application layers of the LTE bearer path, and include things like codecs that adapt to radio conditions, the service indeed works better than apps that have to fight it out on the open seas. At that level it's a validation of VoLTE's quality advantage over other VoIP apps. Perhaps what Nokia's Smart Labs can demonstrate next is the level of VoLTE's performance and quality advantages over on-network 3G HD voice, because although it's nice to know your own service will work better than the so-called "OTT" apps, this <a href="">3G voice versus VoLTE</a> decision is the investment call that operators are having to make right now. en-us Internships for journalist positions at The Mobile Network At The Mobile Network we have two positions for paid internships, starting summer 2014. This would be a great opportunity either for someone who is training as a journalist or similar, or who has just completed training and is looking for a step to a full time job. We will offer you the London Living Wage to an agreed amount of hours per week to suit both you and us. These are internships so there will be support in your role. That said, these are not general admin positions, the posts will offer you the chance to: *Build a variety of content in a fast moving industry *Generate your own portfolio of stories and content *Participate in the development and launch of a new title and new site You will be covering the fast-moving mobile technology sector so an interest in tech and mobile would be useful. If you are interested in this opportunity, please <a href="">contact TMN's editor</a>, Keith Dyer, with your details. Please respond by 20 July, 2014. en-us Webinar: The 3 C's: Carrier and Capital Coordination en-us TMNQ Magazine Issue 7 Editorial Framework <b>Radio revolution:</b> More than just another 5G update - this feature will have a proper look at some interesting new developments in radio technology: new research and product directions that will provide the high capacity-low latency requirements of those defining 5G. <b>What TMN needs:</b> News and views on new radio interface developments: from massive MIMO, full duplex, new waveforms. <b>Getting Clever, getting beyond:</b> Real Time Analytics/ network intelligence - big data in the network - blah blah, right? Well, perhaps not so blah. We're talking data analytics plus SON, for instance, or local-local small cell level analytics for service partnerships. <b>What TMN needs:</b> People with a story to tell about this stuff. Bring us your network big data stories, yearning to be free in the pages of TMN. en-us Experience Continuity - The Key Enabler for Connected Cars? <a href=""><img alt="" height="29" src="" width="162" /></a> The Connected Car market is already growing rapidly and is set to become much bigger as it reaches down from the luxury sector to mainstream vehicles. Automotive manufacturers, mobile operators and other service providers all hope to tap this huge market, yet to unlock those revenues, it is essential they understand how Experience Continuity is imperative for success. Without consistent connected services that work no matter the location, all their promises will count for nothing. For automotive manufacturers, the connected car brings an opportunity for differentiation and for an ongoing relationship with their customers. For operators, the automotive market offers the potential to extend their smart and connected home strategies and is also a key vertical for their B2B IoT platforms. Both sectors will rely heavily on being able to deliver the required level of user experience across different network access technologies, user interfaces and devices. Managing this Experience Continuity to the necessary level will make the difference between delivering services that add value to the in-car experience, and those that hamper it. <b>Join this webinar to hear:</b> - Custom research and forecasts within the North American and European Connected Car markets, together with first-hand insight from within the ecosystem on why and when Experience Continuity matters to your business. - Analysis of the real-world practical challenges of delivering Experience Continuity within the Connected Car environment and the impact it can have on a company's bottom-line. - How to build a playbook for ensuring Experience Continuity for your Connected Car offers. <b>EXCLUSIVE WHITEPAPER OFFER FOR ALL REGISTRANTS: "Experience Continuity - The Key Enabler for Connected Cars?"</b> All registrants to the webinar will qualify for pre-release delivery of a specially commissioned whitepaper on the North American and European Connected Car experience from Rethink Research. <a href=""><img alt="" height="29" src="" width="162" /></a> <b>SPEAKERS:</b> en-us What Allot's Charging Trends Report means for demand in the core network Allot's MobileTrends Charging Report H1 2014, which includes the results of a survey of the data plans and charging trends of 175 mobile operators worldwide, has thrown up a few interesting nuggets. First off, there is the news that the vast majority of operators now make explicit use of what might be termed 3rd party or OTT content or applications within their data pricing. This might be a bundle that includes Spotify, for example, although Allot found that Facebook was the most popular "zero rated" app. 37% of operators had at least one OTT partnership and 45% of operators offer at least one zero-rated app. But a very high 85% of all operators had at least some sort of application-centric plan. And over 40% now offer some sort of multi-device shared data plan. So, from a network point of view, what? Well, multi-device or shared family data plans, data tariffs that escalate with usage of certain volumes of apps, plans that offer "zero rated" usage of other apps, all of this requires real time intelligence in the network from rating and charging, but also to policy control and enforcement engines. Systems need to ask and then answer: What app or content is this person accessing, are they allowed to do that, what do we charge for that, who do we charge for that, are we partners with this app provider, when and how do we make the charge, what space does the user have left on their volume cap, should I send an alert or confirmation message? All of that requires more visibility into what users are actually doing on the network - app and content recognition through DPI, for example, and integration of content recognition with real time charging and policy elements. It requires more signalling capacity across the network as well, to handle all those messages between elements, and especially the capability to handle peak and "unpredictable" signalling loads. If you would like to read more, you can download the whole report <a href="">here</a>. en-us LTE ASIA 2014 en-us Broadcom releases next gen small cell designs with 300Mbps Carrier Aggregation support <a href="">Broadcom</a> has included support for 2x20MHz Carrier Aggregation within a new series of small cell chipsets that it says can offer double the capacity of previous generations of product. The BCM61735, BCM61755 and BCM61765 SoC (System on Chip) devices form Broadcom's third generation of small cell platforms, with all of the series offering triple mode (3G, LTE, WiFi) support via Broadcom's new generation BCM61297 RF transceiver. LTE is supported in both TDD and FDD modes, and there is a dedicated processor core for WLAN as well as support for dual-band concurrent 802.11n and 801.11ac Wi-Fi. The 61735 is a lower cost, low user number, option aimed at residential small cell applications. The 61755 is a mid-range enterprise platform while the 61765 design is targeted at large "venue" size products. It is this highest spec design (61765) that offers capacities of "up to" 300Mbps - meaning that it can provide support at a small cell level for 20MHz + 20MHz Carrier Aggregation. The multicore platforms also include integrated SON support with features such as network listening or GSM/UMTS/LTE sniffing. The chipsets also include Envelope Tracking technology in order to be more power efficient. The small cell chip market has seen fluctuation as early dedicated players that made the market, such as PicoChip (which exited into Mindspeed and then Intel), have seen tougher competition from the likes of Qualcomm and Broadcom. Qualcomm and Broadcom number between them a clutch of major design contracts with OEMs (eg Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco) and with the small cell platform providers (eg Aricent, Node-H, Radisys) who integrate the chip designs with their own software and then provide that platform to be used by manufacturers. Broadcom's latest generation product comes after launches from Qualcomm of its FSM99xx family in June 2013, a 28bnm product with Dual Carrier LTE support, and its cost-optimised version, the FSM90xx, <a href="">released in June 2014</a>. <a href="">Read full Broadcom press release</a> . en-us Acatel Lucent establishes Bell Labs mini-site to take video-centric networking to next level Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs is to open an "antenna" site in Cambridge, UK, to research technology that will enable the next generation of video-centric networks. The site, which will have about ten permanent employees, will feed into and interact with Bell Labs' core sites. Alcatel Lucent CTO Marcus Weldon said that if successful the site could transition to a full site. It has been located in Cambridge because Alcatel Lucent already has an asset based there (<a href="">Velocix</a> - a content distribution technology company it bought it 2009) and because it hopes to tap in to general excellence in video tech innovation in the location. Weldon said, "This is the first time Bell Labs has expanded its innovation footprint in the UK, and there are very few expansions of Bell Labs historically." The company will open one other antenna site this year - in Tel Aviv. The company has recruited Bo Olofsson, most recently heading up the product research group at British Sky Broadcasting, to be Head Of Video Research. So what will the new unit be researching and developing? Olofsson said he expected initial research to look at four areas. First, advanced analytical capabilities to be able to provide scene-level metadata on all sorts of video. He also expects to see work on the "next step of optimisation of delivery of video over mobile networks." Then there will be work on how applications and the network talk to each other, so that applications and network can be aware of each other in terms of network conditions and context. An example of this might be using predictive analytics to know when a user might be about to enter an area of poor capacity or coverage (eg a train tunnel or congested site), and buffer more of a video to the app, so that it will play until the user is back into better conditions. Finally, Olofsson said Bell Labs is looking at new ways of encoding video, also describing development of a concept called <a href="">compressive sensing</a>, where a signal or object - in this case a video - is given a mathematical representation to allow it to be reconstructed. en-us Webinar confirmation: Experience Continuity - The Key Enabler for Connected Cars? You will have received a confirmation email from us with your unique link to join this webinar. You can accept a calendar item from that email, and we will also send you reminders nearer the date. As a registrant you also qualify for a free download of Rethink Research's White Paper <i>"Experience Continuity - The Key Enabler for Connected Cars?"</i>, which will contain market survey, analysis and forecasts. We will send you a download link immediately after the webinar. Thank you, and we look forward to you joining us on the 2nd September. See here for <a href="">full webinar outline</a> and speaker details. en-us Free White Paper: H-QoS & &#956;-Shaping Bandwidth Performance Optimization With the rise of cloud computing, mobile small cell deployments and prioritized content delivery networks for web applications comes increased interconnect of performance- sensitive services over large-scale service provider networks. Data center connectivity is one example, where application, database, storage and desktop hosting make low-latency, high-throughput connections between enterprises and the data center a must. To download the full white paper for free please fill in the short form below. en-us Free White Paper Download: Small Cell Backhaul Performance Assurance <b>Small Cells - Big Impact</b> There is no doubt we are attached to our mobile devices, to the point where they now outnumber the global human population. Mobile data will increase 1000-fold between 2014 and 20201, with users expecting service quality to keep in step. RF capacity has its limits, and is unable to keep up with demand unless a new radio access model emerges. To download the full white paper please fill in the short form below. en-us Japan's NICT gets 40Mbps in TV White Space trial in crowded London environment Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) has successfully deployed a 3.7km link, and achieved downlink data rates of more than 40Mbps between a base station and a device, using TV White Space spectrum in London. NICT said that an antenna deployed on a rooftop in Denmark Hill in South London established a 3.7 km "backhaul" connection to a second site near London Bridge. A second trial, using an LTE-based system developed by NICT, provided throughput at more than 40 Mbps between a base station and a <a href=",-you're-going-to-need-LTE-whitespace-phones.-Here's-one..html">specially designed mobile terminal</a> in central London. The LTE-based system operated in TDD mode using one channel and in FDD mode using two separate channels, and achieved that 40 Mbps throughput (downlink) when operated in FDD mode by using 20 MHz bandwidth of three consecutive channels. The backhaul communications system (between the two fixed points located separated by 3.7 km) achieved more than 2 Mbps throughput at maximum transmission power 36 dBm (EIRP) based on the operational parameters provided by the database. The trial was within the framework of Ofcom's TV White Spaces pilot, and used a database of available frequency compiled by NICT. That database has now passed the qualification tests to be included in Ofcom's databases list. Ofcom's TV White Spaces Pilot provides an opportunity for stakeholders to conduct tests with their systems and to provide feedback to the development of white space communications regulation. NICT joined Ofcom's pilot as both device developer and database developer. Because of the intensive and dynamic use of the spectrum in a large city such as London, the database must use the most up to date information on broadcasters' spectrum use to calculate operational parameters for the devices in real-time. That means the devices regularly communicate with the database to exchange information on locations, occupied channels, transmission power and transmission. NICT said in a press release: <i>"It should be noted that in central London there is a very high power TV tower nearby. There are also many PMSE (Programme Making and Special Events) users who operate at different locations, channels and schedules. <b>It was a big challenge for us to operate the TV white space communications systems in such environment by looking for suitable channels and suitable transmission power.</b> "The trials reminded us about the unique characteristics of spectrum usage in the TV bands in large and crowded cities, and clarified the performance requirements to TV white space communications systems operating in this environment. It is expected that the experiences and the results obtained from the trials will contribute to the R&D of TV white space communications systems, and to the development of regulations regarding TV white space communications."</i> NCIT's TV White Space database holds values for antenna location, antenna height, device type and device class etc. Based on these values the database calculates maximum transmission power in each channel and the validity time then provides these operational parameters to the devices. The database has to update within a specified time after receiving power adjustment requests or scheduled/unscheduled updates of PMSE information. This means the maximum transmission power in each channel varies from time to time and channel availability can change after a short time. NCIT said this functionality was also verified during the London trials. en-us Anite enters core network test market with high capacity, NFV-ready Triton Test company <a href="">Anite</a>, which has a background in device and radio access network testing, has continued its journey through the network by releasing a test product aimed at the mobile core network. Anite's Triton product is a multi-purpose tool designed to verify signalling flows between EPC entities such as the HSS, MME, and serving and packet gateways, and the eNodeBs and Internet (SGi). <i>(See diagram above for interface support).</i> A range of applications - network discovery, roaming analysis, cell visualisation and device tracking - are included to sit on top of the core solution which provides 4 x 10GbE data capture capacity. Richard Jacklin, Busines Development Director, said, "The concept is to have a range of different applications, some of them geared towards testing network protocols, and some more towards a set of QoS paramters, like loading in different eNodeBs, protocol errors or latency. "With Diameter signalling for inbound roaming that's something you would expect from a product for a centralised NOC. We've taken a different approach, something more innovative." Jacklin added that Anite is introducing the product to meet two main needs within operators. The first is the requirement to meet the need for solutions that can prove that operators' core networks can withstand increasing volumes of the signalling data that are expected to materialise as LTE continues to be adopted. The second anticipated driver is for solutions that can provide interoperability testing and acceptance for multi-vendor core networks as operators move to installing elements as virtualised functions on standardised hardware. Anite's view is that as operators drive for operational flexibility (and reduced cost), the adoption of virtualised core elements will bring with it the requirement for test and monitoring methodologies between virtualised functions provided by different vendors. "Operators are going to have a competitive environment for different parts of the EPC, and need interfaces between those functions to be visible to the outside world to check what's going on. Today we can connect to an aggregated port that brings logical interfaces into a single physical port, NFV will need the same scenario. What's clear is that there will be some testing and monitoring ports made available for proper QoE and end to end visibility," Jacklin said. en-us Opera says it has compressed data equivalent to the size of 116 Libraries of Congress Opera Software has produced an <a href="">infographic</a> that claims to show where growth is happening in the mobile web. As you can see Asia and Africa are the fastest growing regions, in terms of percentage of new users and absolute growth. However, as Opera Software says in <a href="">this blogpost</a>, there's still a divide between developed and "development markets" in terms of affordability of mobile data. Breaking down that divide, Opera says, could help connect the "next billion". For example, to purchase 1 MB of data consumers in development markets must spend 12 times the percentage of their per capita GDP as U.K. or U.S. consumers. For Opera Software, of course, that plays into promotion of its compression and optimisation platforms - less data to transport means more affordable mobile internet access, and perhaps more efficient transport over slower networks. Also, many of these customers are on pay as you go plans, which puts them on a per-Mb tariff - making efficient optimisation of data pretty desirable. So, although we tend to think of mobile networks as a pure coverage and capacity play, worth remembering that there are techniques that can effectively "expand" a network. In Opera's case, it says that has been to the tune, to date, of 116 libraries of congress. en-us Cornerstone gets access to thousands of Arqiva sites Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL) has <a href="">signed a ten year deal with Arqiva</a> to put equipment on Arqiva's sites as part of its consolidated network grid. As the release is quite jargonny - sample quote: "working in partnership with CTIL we are supporting the provision of the core footprint for the future of 4G in the UK" - we asked Al Davidson, Director of mobile and fixed networks at Arqiva, for more information. Here's our brief Q&A. <b>TMN</b>: In a nutshell, the release is saying is that CTIL is going to lease sites owned by Arqiva for ten years? <b>CTIL</b>: Yes <b>TMN</b>: How many sites are included in the deal? <b>CTIL</b>: The agreement allows for full sharing rights on all existing sites and a number of new installations. Arqiva currently has 8,700 active sites and a total of more than 16,700 sites available for sharing. <b>TMN</b>: Will these sites also host equipment for MBNL, EE, Three? <b>CTIL</b>: Arqiva announced in 2008 a site-share deal with MBNL (EE / Three) and they currently share around 5,000 of our sites. <b>TMN</b>: Is this just for macro sites or does the agreement include "small cell" inventory such as street furniture, lamp posts, bus stops etc, in cities where Arqiva has concessions? <b>CTIL</b>: This agreement does not include small cells and inbuilding, however as Arqiva's role is neutral host infrastructure operator, we do market those facilities to all operators. * Telefonica and Vodafone set up a JV called Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL) in 2012, expanding on a prior passive network sharing and purchasing JV vehicle called Cornerstone. CTIL is buying and building a consolidated network "grid" that both companies will use for their 4G networks. Arqiva owns and operates cell sites (towers, rooftops etc) across the UK, as well as neutral host small cell and in-building infrastructure. en-us LTE Africa en-us Procera gets onto something new with device side RAN Perspectives The company's new RAN Perspectives product works by installing an applet on the SIM. Procera's applet sees signalling information like signal strength, and delivers that along with cell ID location information over the air to Procera's RAN Pro engine which allies that information with its Packet Logic DPI-based product. That means that information about user location and the signalling strength they experience can be correlated with actual application usage. The proposed benefit of this is that instead of having merely network level information about a cell site - but not visibility into actual user experience - or conversely lots of knowledge about application usage but no idea of QoE, now you can have both. Another benefit is that you can gain some insight into network conditions without having to roll out a network of high performance probes sitting on network interfaces (Abis, IuB, X2). So what is different about what Procera is doing? Well, it's the device-side aspect combined with the IP/application intelligence. Sure there are plenty of assurance + DPI players out there attempting to do something similar. What we've seen is probe-based companies also partner with DPI providers to add richness to the network-level data they get from the probes. So, for example CommProve, Empirix and Polystar all use Qosmos for DPI, while Radcom partners with Allot. Rhode & Shwarz comes at this from a more test-based background, but is another company looking to get into more a cross-network assurance play, and to that end recently acquired DPI specialist ipoque. The upside of the probe approach is you get much more richness of data than is reported by Procera's applet, and can "see" a lot more devices that just devices enabled with an app. The downside is it costs a lot more. It really depends on the level on information you want and the use cases you are trying to fulfil. One probe based assurance provider said to TMN, "Our [approach] is better in terms of scalability because we pick up all the users and we are not limited by having to transfer information captured on the handsets to some central location over the air interface. We also have to transfer information but we can do it over the fixed line data network without having to consume precious radio resources." But that same vendor also agreed that Procera was onto something different: "[We] do agree that their approach is unique and first of a kind, to some degree. It is so, because of the combination of DPI and handset side radio info based on the SIM app." And there have been device-side apps and clients before. Most famously the behavioural visibility of something like a CarrierIQ. What else goes on the device? Well, there are device agents that act as "policy on the device" clients - with something like ANDSF being invoked. This is about having control of the device to do something like select the same network, and here there are companies such as GoS Networks, GreenPacket and SmithMicro. As making a network selection requires an assessment of the network, companies here too have seen the potential for using these device-side agents for carrying out performance monitoring. But Procera's approach is slightly different. Its applet on the SIM is a lot more limited in what it can "see" than an app like CarrierIQ, which has behavioural and usage visibility. But when combined with what Packet Logic knows about the application usage, you get that single view of QoE information. en-us