Happy New Year to all of you! May 2023 bring all that you’re hoping for you and your loved ones.
As part of his crazy travel schedule the last few months of the year, Roy made one last trip to Europe for the Layer 123 World Congress in London at the QE II Centre (Westminster Abbey was just across the street!) with BT as the host operator. L123 was a cozy gathering of many veterans of the SDN and NFV movement, now focused on telco clouds, AI/ML, blockchain, quantum networking, and extreme automation. The highlight of the event was the Network Transformation Awards which had Roy on the judging panel. We applaud the winner of charity of the year — Kolo. Ukrainian tech workers founded Kolo, and it supports frontline Ukrainians with donations of tech gear like drones, thermal cameras, and night vision monoculars. Thanks to Ray Mota of ACG Research for collaborating with us on finding them.
The remainder of December was uneventful, with Roy recovering from his 8 weeks of almost non-stop travel since mid-October. His need for a better optimized routing algorithm is evidenced by the map of his recent travels below — tromboning routes and inefficient next-hops. To be improved in 2023!
Meanwhile, in between spending time with our families, the AvidThink team been busy prepping two NextGenInfra.io sites for you.
SNEAK PREVIEW: 2023 Predictions Showcase
Following the unmitigated success of our 2022 Predictions series, we are doing it again for 2023. After all, who doesn’t like to make or watch predictions — or rate people on how they did! We are uploading videos to the site daily as fast as our partner, Jim Carroll of Converge Digest can process them. The site’s not ready for launch yet, but here’s a sneak peek of Predictions 2023 for your eyes only — please don’t publicize the link until we officially launch. Feedback is welcomed at email@example.com.
LAUNCHING NEXT WEEK: 2023 Telco Cloud and Edge
We have our telco cloud and edge ready to launch next week. We’re putting on the finishing touches, and you’ll see us promoting it via email, on our AvidThink site, and social media. Stay tuned!
MWC 2023 Barcelona Showcase Offering
For organizations planning to be at Mobile World Congress 2023 and looking to amplify your message or generate awareness, consider working with Converge Digest and us. Check out our past showcases for 2022 MWC Barcelona and 2022 MWC Americas in Las Vegas, and if you like what you see, book one of our promotional slots for our 2023 showcase.
As always, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating or sponsoring upcoming sites: the new middle mile, SD-WAN/SASE, private mobile networks, data center networking, and infrastructure security. On with the news!
USCellular expands 5G coverage thanks to a software upgrade
USCellular said a software update allowed the operator to expand its 5G network coverage to 1.4 million more people. The software allowed the operator to use X2 coordination to extend its 5G service to neighboring sites. UScellular said this expansion is part of its long-term network modernization plan and represents a 5% increase in the company’s 5G coverage, which now spans over 50% of its footprint.
NSA report says network slicing makes operators vulnerable to breaches
A report published by the National Security Agency (NSA), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) claims that there are potential security risks when implementing 5G network slicing. The report warns that operators who do not carefully manage 5G network slicing may allow malicious actors to access data from different slices. But making sure each network slice is secure can be cumbersome, and there are no specifications that provide specific instructions to operators on how to develop and implement security for each network slice.
T-Mobile launches cloud native 5G/4G converged core
T-Mobile is working with Cisco on a cloud-native converged network core gateway that will handle the company’s standalone (SA) 5G traffic in addition to its LTE and non-standalone 5G traffic. Before this, T-Mobile used separate core networks. This converged core network is distributed across T-Mobile facilities and its on-premise private cloud. It is based on Cisco’s cloud-native control plane, optimized with Kubernetes-orchestrated containers on bare metal. The container-based technology frees over 20% of the central processing unit cores. T-Mobile said the move to the cloud-native core has immediately boosted performance for customers with more than a 10% improvement in both speed and latency.
Chinese operators are using 5G network slicing
China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom are implementing hundreds of network slices every month, according to analyst Joe Madden, and more than 9,000 enterprises have some type of special services that support private use cases with service level agreements (SLAs). In addition, some Huawei and ZTE customers outside of China are also using network slicing, such as Hutchison Drei Austria, which is using a network slice to deliver fixed wireless access. According to Madden, Drei can offer its FWA customers guaranteed throughput because of its network slicing capabilities.
Dish and Verizon push open RAN growth
Research firm Dell’Oro Group says that more than 80% of the year-to-date growth in the open RAN market comes from big macro deployments in North America, or more specifically, Verizon and Dish Wireless. While Verizon hasn’t explicitly said it was using open RAN radios and basebands from Samsung, the vendor is known to be one of Verizon’s major vendors, along with Nokia and Ericsson. Dish has said it is deploying mostly Fujitsu radios and using Mavenir for the baseband. Dell’Oro identified Samsung, Fujitsu, NEC, and Mavenir as the top four open RAN vendors. However, the research firm also said the uptake of open RAN is so far having little impact on proprietary RAN suppliers such as Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE, Samsung, and Huawei.
Nokia exec says open RAN will be used in 40% of radio systems by 2030
Mike Murphy, Ericsson’s CTO for North America, told attendees at the Open RAN North America 2022 event that open RAN technologies will be used in roughly 40% of the world’s radio systems by 2030 but that the remaining 60% of the market will still be using proprietary RAN technology at the time when 6G is expected to hit the market. Meanwhile, research firm Dell’Oro Group predicts that open RAN will account for 6% to 10% of the RAN market in 2023. Upstart operators like Dish Network and Rakuten are using open RAN principles to try to disrupt the wireless market. Still, traditional operators like Verizon are taking a more careful approach and deploying the technology while protecting their existing RAN investments.
Open RAN still lacks security specifications
Open RAN security still lacks complete security specifications from the O-RAN Alliance, but that isn’t stopping operators like Rakuten Mobile from deploying the new technology. Speaking at the Open RAN North America 2022 event, Rakuten Mobile CISO, John Carse said that the operator is moving ahead with its deployment of open RAN and baking in its own security, and open RAN also benefits from the security that is built into the 5G network. The company is also working closely with the O-RAN Alliance on developing a security standard. The O-RAN Alliance has formed a working group to address security in open RAN. And Rakuten is a member of the group.
Verizon is using 10K vRAN cell sites
Verizon revealed that it has deployed more than 10,000 virtualized radio access network (vRAN) cell sites and is making progress toward reaching its goal of having 20,000 vRAN sites deployed by 2025. The operator is using Samsung vRAN gear but also added Ericsson vRAN equipment, referred to as Ericsson Cloud RAN. Ericsson Cloud RAN uses Intel and Red Hat gear for its processing and cloud-native orchestration functions.
Celona eyes Nokia’s lead in private wireless
Celona CEO Rajeev Shah told FierceWireless that his company is setting its sights on becoming the world’s No. 1 vendor in private wireless and is planning to debut a new product portfolio in February that targets the global market and different spectrum bands.
Shah said that, next to Nokia, he believes his company has the second largest market share in private wireless, and its customers are only in the U.S. right now. According to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association, which keeps track of private wireless customers, in the third quarter of 2022, the number of customers deploying private mobile networks reached 955 globally. There was a net addition of 66 customers in the third quarter.
Sacramento awards $1.4M for private wireless to close the digital divide
The City of Sacramento in California awarded $1.4 million in funding to a group of vendors to create a permanent private 5G network for a school and two public housing communities in the city. This group of vendors has been working on a CBRS private wireless network for a couple of years for the school, which is located in an underprivileged area of Sacramento. The vendors involved in the project include Athonet, Federated Wireless, Intel, JMA Wireless, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Future Technologies Venture. They joined forces to create a model for private CBRS networks, which they hope to scale statewide in California.
Nokia claims its private network in Calais, France, is the largest
Nokia claims that the private industrial 5G network it built for an Alcatel Submarine Networks factory in Calais, France is the largest private network so far. The network was financed by the French government’s Recovery Plan and the Future Investment Program. Alcatel Submarine Networks makes submarine cables for operators, public cloud providers, and other companies that connect infrastructure across oceans. Meta is the company’s largest customer. The private 5G network covers 55,000 square meters, including 11 buildings, a deck, and an underground tunnel through which the cable is routed to go from the factory and storage tanks to vessels. Nokia deployed 55 remote radio heads indoors and two outdoors. It also deployed a network core at a small dedicated data center near the factory, which hosts edge computing infrastructure.
AWS says private networks are appealing to corporations with remote locations
Corporations with a large number of remote locations are interested in private network solutions and are turning to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for private networking solutions. AWS said it currently has about 190 private networks in production, most of which use LTE. AWS leadership predicts that transcontinental private networks will start being deployed in 2023 and said that energy companies, particularly those that support energy production, make up a large part of AWS’ private networks customer base. Another key market for private networks, according to AWS, is the public sector, including state and local governments and educational institutions.
Federated and AWS are building a private 5G network for Cal Poly
California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) is building a 5G private wireless network for its campus with the help of Federated Wireless and Amazon Web Services. Cal Poly is creating a distributed private 5G network using CBRS General Authorized Access (GAA) spectrum. Federated will manage the deployment of the network as well as provide support and network maintenance. It will also provide the software to mediate access to the shared spectrum. AWS will supply the edge devices. The Cal Poly deployment is centered in a network innovation center and currently includes just two radios, one inside and one outside. Because the 5G network software is integrated with the AWS edge devices, the network will expand on campus as AWS cloud infrastructure expands.
AWS and Microsoft awarded government cloud contracts
Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft both received substantial government contracts. The U.S. Navy awarded AWS a five-year, $724 million enterprise software license agreement, and Microsoft joined 90 other companies to be part of a $900 million dollar contract from the Air Force for the development of multi-domain systems capabilities. The AWS contract will provide the Navy with access to AWS’ cloud environment, and AWS will also provide professional services, training, and certification courses. The contract will end in December 2028. Microsoft’s contract covers a broad scope of technology, and it was awarded just weeks after the government announced that both AWS and Microsoft Azure were part of the $9 billion contract for the Joint Warfare Cloud Capability Project.
EU probes Broadcom/VMware deal over competition concerns
European Union regulators are investigating Broadcom’s $61 billion proposed purchase of VMware. In an official statement, EU’s executive VP in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said she was concerned the deal would adversely impact competition. Vestager said in a statement that the regulatory agency’s initial investigation has shown that it is essential for hardware components in servers to interoperate with VMware’s software and that it is concerned that after the merger, Broadcom could prevent hardware rivals from interoperating with VMware’s server virtualization software.
Microsoft to acquire 4% stake in London Stock Exchange Group
Microsoft will purchase a 4% stake in the London Stock Exchange Group, the company that owns the London Stock Exchange, as well as several other businesses. The stake is part of a bigger 10-year partnership in which the London Stock Exchange Group will spend a minimum of $2.8 billion on cloud computing services, and it will migrate its data platform and other technology infrastructure to Microsoft Azure.
Dell’Oro: SASE revenue expected to top $8B in 2023
Secure access service edge (SASE) revenue is expected to hit $6 billion this year and top $8 billion in 2023, according to research firm Dell’Oro Group. The firm previously predicted that SASE revenue will grow to $13 billion by 2026. The company said that key players in the SASE space include Cisco, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec/Broadcom, Versa Networks, VMware, and Zscaler. Interestingly, Dell’Oro Group analyst Mauricio Sanchez also said that Microsoft is a company to watch in the SASE space. Even though Microsoft is not a significant player today, Sanchez believes it has all the technology elements to do SASE and be a key competitor.
Starlink provides customers with SD-WAN from MetTel
Managed service provider MetTel is providing software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) technology using SpaceX’s Starlink satellite service. MetTel is currently providing SD-Wan service to two commercial companies and two federal clients. MetTel CTO Ed Fox told FierceWireless that the Starlink satellite connection is used in addition to traditional connection methods like LTE and fiber. Because Starlink satellites operate in low-Earth orbit, the satellite connection works with SD-WAN; however, Fox said that higher orbit satellite systems, such as those that operate in geosynchronous orbit, don’t work well with SD-WAN because of latency issues.
Demand for edge computing may be stalled
Analysts at Wells Fargo that follow companies like data center company Equinix and Verizon executives recently admitted that demand for edge computing is taking longer than expected to develop. The Wells Fargo analysts said in a research note that while Equinix can transmit data with less than ten milliseconds of latency to more than 80% of the U.S. population, there currently are no use cases today that require that type of low latency. Likewise, Verizon executives have said that while they are well positioned to deliver mobile edge compute (MEC) services to customers, they are finding the demand is currently below expectations. Verizon has pushed back its expectations for MEC revenues to late 2023 and into 2024 as opposed to 2022 and early 2023.
Telecom Italia and Google Cloud launch 5G edge cloud
Telecom Italia (TIM and Google Cloud launched a 5G edge cloud platform in Italy that will support new smart mobility applications such as self-driving cars. The 5G edge cloud is targeted at different vertical markets, including public administration, and is intended to accelerate Italy’s digital transformation. The edge cloud platform combines Google’s distributed cloud software with TIM’s cloud and 5G infrastructure. The two companies said that Italy’s automated driving lab, Modena Automotive Smart Area, and the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia will be the first to use the 5G edge cloud and will use it to test new self-driving applications.
Open RAN may be a driver of edge computing
A lot of companies are investing in edge infrastructure, but one open RAN executive recently said that he believes that open RAN development is going to be a driver for edge computing. Bejoy Pakajakshan, EVP and CTO of Mavenir, said that he believes the RAN Intelligent Controller, or RIC, which he compared to an app store for the RAN, will allow more agility in the network. In addition, he said he believes the RIC will be able to host applications turning the RIC into a “flavor” of edge computing and bringing intelligence deeper into the network.
Maersk uses edge computing to revolutionize the supply chain
Danish shipping giant Maersk is using the power of edge computing and private 5G to transform its business and elevate the efficiency of the container ships that it uses to transport cargo across the oceans. Gavin Laybourne, global CIO of Maersk’s APM Terminals business, told CIO that edge computing provides the company with the ability to analyze data in near real-time, something that is not possible with the cloud alone. The company is working closely with Microsoft on its edge infrastructure and moving its cloud data to the edge. The company has migrated about 40% of its APM Terminals’ cloud data to the network edge and has a target of moving 80% of the terminals to the edge by the end of 2023.
And that wraps it up for the slower news month of December. We’ll see you back here at the beginning of February when we prepare for MWC Barcelona 2023. For our readers impacted by tech layoffs, we wish you the best of luck, and let us know if we can be of assistance.
Once again, happy new year, and please stay safe and healthy in 2023!
The AvidThink team