We’re almost done with travel for the year, whew! Roy was at Upperside Conferences’ SD-WAN/SASE (Paris), Linux Foundation ONE Summit (Seattle), followed by AWS re:Invent (Las Vegas) this week. One more European trip left for Layer 123 World Congress in London at the QE II centre with BT as the host operator.
Upperside’s SASE show had a strong showing, with 500+ attendees from over 30 countries. A nice recovery post-pandemic. Content was unsurprisingly focused on SASE, SSE and zero-trust. Nevertheless, a strong showing from leading SD-WAN/SASE providers as they worked to differentiate their offerings from each other.
ONE Summit showcased substantive content in the open networking and edge world, featuring leading operators like AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, and TELUS, discussing their open networking progress. Check out progress with CAMARA – the cross-carrier API framework for 5G network and edge cloud programming that’s part of the GSMA Operator Platform initiative, and the new Project Sylva for a European telco cloud stack.
AWS re:Invent 2022 saw 50K+ cloud devotees converge in Las Vegas. This was an uptick from almost 30K in 2021 and approaching the 60K peak in 2019. AvidThink was surprised at the increasing prominence of and interest in telco at the typically enterprise-only show. Telco sessions were upgraded to mid-sized rooms from previously tiny rooms. Telco and edge-related demos at the main expo hall and in the tent city outside Caesar’s Forum were uncharacteristically busy. AWS showcased a wide range of joint activities with telcos, ISVs, and global SIs. Details provided on making telcos cloud-savvy through co-development and cultural transformation efforts lead us to believe that there is real and substantive progress on this front.
NEW: 2022 OCP Global Summit Showcase
Our media partner, Jim Carroll of Converge Digest, captured thought leadership videos at the recent 2022 OCP Global Summit. They are now available on NextGenInfra.io — compelling content on disaggregation, composability, and sustainability. Check out videos from Schneider Electric, IBM, Inspur, Meta, Marvell, Open Compute Project, and others.
Finally, reach out to us at email@example.com if you are interested in participating or sponsoring upcoming sites: telco and edge infrastructure, the new middle mile, SD-WAN/SASE, private mobile networks, data center networking, and infrastructure security. On with the news!
Nokia Bell Labs picks Keysight for sub-THz testing
Nokia Bell Labs selected Keysight Technologies’ sub-Terahertz (THz) test bed to verify the performance of 5G-Advanced and 6G transceiver modules. Keysight said that Nokia picked its technology to help it accelerate research and development that’s critical for 5G-Advanced and 6G use cases that leverage millimeter wave (mmWave) and sub-terahertz (THz) frequencies. Nokia designed its transceiver modules, power amplifiers and antennas by using a complex modulation technology that uses D-Band (110 GHz to 170 GHz) and E-Band (60 GHz to 90 GHz) spectrum. The two companies demonstrated the 6G test bed in combination with Nokia’s radio-on-glass technology at last month’s 2022 Brooklyn 6G Summit.
Ericsson to invest $11.9M in U.K.-based 6G research program
Ericsson is spending $11.9 million over the next ten years on a U.K.-based 6G research initiative that will include academics, service providers and members of the vendor community. The program will focus on 6G research areas involving network resiliency, security, artificial intelligence, cognitive networks and energy efficiency. Ericsson plans to hire 20 researchers to run the program, as well as several Ph.D. students.
Ericsson will use its Vonage acquisition to help develop 5G use cases
Ericsson purchased Vonage Holdings for $6.2 billion a year ago, and now the company is revealing how it plans to use that acquisition to help wireless operators better monetize their 5G investments by developing strong 5G use cases. Vonage’s EVP of Product and Engineering, Savinay Berry, said that one of the big obstacles that application developers run into with 5G is that there is no standard interface. Instead, developers have to work with siloed functions in the 5G network. Berry compared it to having a bunch of LEGO blocks that are hidden and need to be unlocked before they can be used to develop applications.
Dish launches website for developers
Dish Network launched a new website for developers that will help them write applications for the company’s new 5G network. In addition, Dish hosted a “level up your dev” developer competition in conjunction with AWS re:Invent trade show that was held this week in Las Vegas. The competition is intended to give developers a chance to test out its offerings, work with developers already in the space, and meet the Dish executives focused on the effort.
T-Mobile launches 5G standalone on 2.5 GHz spectrum
T-Mobile rolled out 5G standalone (SA) on its 2.5 GHz spectrum, which it says will dramatically improve the 5G experience, particularly network latency. T-Mobile President of Networks Neville Ray said that T-Mobile first deployed an SA core network in the company’s 600 MHz spectrum in 2020. That initial deployment provided the company with some performance advantages in its low-band spectrum. However, by adding both the SA core and SA radio network to the operator’s mid-band spectrum, Ray expects to see a much bigger impact on the network’s performance and capacity because 5G SA is much more spectrally efficient.
Dish raises $2B for its 5G network buildout
Dish told investors during its Q3 earnings call that it raised roughly $2 billion for its 5G network buildout through an offering of senior secured notes. The company needs to rapidly expand its 5G network in the next several months to meet the FCC-imposed mandate that it covers 70% of the U.S. population with 5G by June 2023. Analysts at New Street Research and Raymond James praised the move, noting that meeting the FCC-mandated 5G network buildout goals is probably the most important issue for the company. Tom Cullen, EVP of Corporate Development at Dish, told attendees at a telecom conference last month in Denver that Dish has deployed more than 10,000 towers and is adding 1,000 towers per month. The goal is to have 10,000 towers operational by June 2023. Analysts at New Street Research estimate that the company will need 35,000 cell towers to meet the FCC’s final mandate of covering 75% of the U.S. population by June 2025.
Complexity and cost are big challenges for network slicing
A new Heavy Reading survey on 5G network slicing found that operational complexity and cost are the two big challenges operators face as they try to commercialize the technology. When asked specifics about those operational challenges, 34% of respondents to the survey said that “cross-domain coordination, design and solutioning” was a problem and another 33% said that “the need to transform network operations” was a big hiccup in their plans. For now, only 8% of respondents said that the need for service level agreements (SLAs) was a challenge to network slicing’s deployment. However, Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown noted that he expects SLAs to rise up the list of challenges as network slicing moves closer to becoming a reality.
Indian telcos are hesitant to adopt Open RAN
Although a developing country like India seems like a perfect opportunity for Open RAN to be deployed because it will allow service providers to innovate and keep costs in check, mobile operators in the country are hesitant to take the Open RAN leap. Instead, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have awarded 5G contracts to the traditional vendors, Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung. With all the deals going to traditional telecom vendors, open RAN is conspicuously missing from the 5G deals. Vodafone Idea is the only private telco and the only one yet to announce 5G vendors.
Rakuten Symphony picks Juniper Networks’ RIC
Rakuten Symphony picked Juniper Networks’ RAN intelligent controller (RIC) for its Symworld Platform. Symworld is Rakuten Symphony’s Platform that brings together all the pieces of Rakuten Mobile’s experience building an Open RAN network and makes it available for other wireless operators around the world to purchase. Rakuten Mobile CEO said that Juniper had been involved in Rakuten from the early days of its buildout, and Rakuten Mobile embedded Juniper’s virtual, cloud-native routing stack in its distributed unit (DU).
Open RAN may improve the total cost of ownership
Open RAN is now on track to make up more than 5% of global RAN revenues this year, but most operators want to know if the technology can deliver the same performance and total cost of ownership (TCO) as proprietary RAN or even offer better. According to Dell’Oro Group’s quarterly tracking of the mobile infrastructure market, RAN accounted for nearly one-fourth of total wireless capex in 2021 compared to about one-fifth of total wireless capex during the LTE era. But Dell’Oro says that some of that uptick in costs is due to the higher prices of cement, steel, services and other equipment. Meanwhile, cumulative site opex to support recurring costs such as transport and site leases, electricity, O&M, and other services are comparable in size to the capex component. Dell’Oro estimates that RAN as a share of the combined capex and site opex is in the 10% to 15% range on average.
Xcel Energy will lease Anterix’s 900 MHz Spectrum for a private network
Xcel Energy signed an $80 million 20-year contract to lease Anterix’s 900 MHz spectrum throughout the company’s service territory. The agreement will allow Xcel to use Anterix’s dedicated 900 MHz spectrum to deploy a private LTE network that will support the utility company’s grid modernization project. The 20-year contract comes with two optional 10-year extensions. Xcel provides electricity services to 3.7 million customers and natural gas to 2.1 million customers. Anterix is the largest holder of licensed spectrum in the 900 MHz band in the U.S. The company plans to build a private network intended for utilities so they can share the technology and the data.
Ericsson builds private wireless ecosystem with industrial partners
Ericsson is working with a number of industrial partners to expand its reach into the private wireless market and work with more enterprises in countries that make spectrum available for private wireless networks. The company’s Cradlepoint division, which oversees its private wireless business, is working with partners such as Becker Mining, which has a non-exclusive contract with the infrastructure vendor to sell and deliver its private wireless service in multiple countries. The mining industry is well-suited for private wireless because mines are often located in remote areas that are not well covered by public carrier networks, and they are too large to be adequately covered by Wi-Fi. The three largest network equipment vendors – Ericsson, Nokia and Huawei – have all targeted the mining industry with private 5G services.
TIP develops program to make 5G private wireless networks easier to deploy
The Telecom Infra Project’s (TIP) 5G Private Network group, which is chaired by Telefonica, developed a solution that it says will make private 5G networks easier and more cost-effective to set up. TIP trialed the new solution, which uses Rakuten Symphony’s Symworld Orchestrator and Symworld Cloud Native Platform components and Tech Mahindra’s open-source automation tool chain for installation, configuration, testing and operation of software components and infrastructure. In addition, TIP member NTT Data integrated the open source, disaggregated 5G non-standalone core from the Open Networking Foundation and Nokia provided the 4G/5G RAN components. The solution uses a cloud-native platform supported by virtualized and containerized network functions and extends across the customer premises at the edge and the cloud, creating a hybrid cloud.
Tower firm SBA Is getting aggressive with edge computing
Cell tower firm SBA Communications revealed during its Q3 2022 earnings call with investors that it in the midst of building 30-40 edge computing sites around the country. SBA CEO Jeff Stoops said that location is the key to success with these sites because when it’s close to or on top of existing fiber, it is more attractive. He added that the cost to deploy each site is about $100,000. Demand for these edge computing sites is encouraging, Stoops said, but the financial return is still small. SBA built its first edge computing site in 2018 in conjunction with Packet, which was then acquired by Equinix.
Startup EdgeQ wants to take on big players like Intel, Marvell
EdgeQ, a small Santa Clara, Calif.-based company garnered attention last month when Vodafone announced that it was going to trial the company’s technology. EdgeQ makes an accelerator card that can work with servers from Dell, HPE and others and is designed to handle the baseband or Layer 1 processing that happens in the radio access network. However, the company’s accelerator has some differences in that it is offering both hardware and all the Layer 1 software that sits on top of it. But it doesn’t sell silicon when another company’s software is going to be ported onto it. EdgeQ believes that operators want this model because it will make portability easier.
IBM teams with Colt on edge cloud lab
IBM is partnering with Colt Technology Services to launch a lab in the U.K. where companies can trial edge cloud services. Colt will provide its cloud SD-WAN technology and Colt edge computing platform while IBM will contribute its Cloud Satellite hybrid cloud and Maximo Application Suite. The two companies are initially targeting the manufacturing sector with three edge use cases: visual inspection-based inferencing, supply chain telemetry; and threat monitoring and data protection. This isn’t the first collaboration between the two companies. Colt supports IBM’s Direct Link service for enterprises and its Cloud Direct Link service.
Cisco restructuring plan will result in 5% workforce cut
Cisco revealed in financial filings that it plans to reduce its workforce in the coming months and focus on growth areas such as enterprise networking, security and platform offerings. The company said it expects to spend $600 million to make the switch to these areas, and it will include layoffs and new hires as well as a reduction of its real estate portfolio to reflect an increase in hybrid work. The company told FierceTelecom that the move would result in a 5% reduction to its workforce, or the loss of about 4,100 jobs.
VMware unveils new enterprise soft client
VMware expanded its SD-WAN product portfolio by adding a soft SD-WAN client that it says will allow enterprises to more easily manage their applications. The soft client “sits” on the end user’s device will being connected to an enterprise’s applications and resources, the company said. Making this soft client means that enterprises don’t have to physically deploy an edge device or deploy the edge on a server. VMware said the client would be available for all major operating systems, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux.
Startup Cloudbrink offers a new twist on SD-WAN
Startup Cloudbrink emerged from stealth mode earlier this month and proposed a novel way to provide distributed connectivity. The company says its software provides hybrid access-as-a-service, which means it is designed to address a lot of problems traditional SD-WAN products have with performance, latency, security and mobility. Basically, the company says its software compresses the traditional connectivity stack into an app that can be downloaded to any device and doesn’t require specialized hardware at either end of the connection.
Cradlepoint says its SD-WAN is optimized for 5G
Ericsson’s Cradlepoint division released a new SD-WAN product that it says is optimized for 5G networks. Called NetCloud Exchange SD-WAN, the product is an extension of Cradlepoint’s Network as a Service offering and can optimize traffic over LTE and 5G and provide hybrid WAN connections to improve the customer’s quality of service. NetCloud Exchange also supports zero-trust network access, and provides simplified management with named-based routing, adaptive traffic control and built-in traffic orchestration.
More enterprises are moving to multi-cloud, Cisco report says
Enterprises are shifting to a multi-cloud environment at a rapid pace because they want a more agile application development process and better security. In addition, they also are looking to reduce cloud costs. According to Cisco’s 2023 Global Networking Trends report, 42% of IT executives said they want to use multiple private and public clouds for a more agile development environment as well as to better manage network security. Business agility (40%) and resilience (35%) ranked slightly lower in importance, while 34% of respondents said they would transition to multi-cloud primarily to reduce cloud costs. Cisco surveyed more than 2,500 IT executives across 13 countries for its study. Although 34% of respondents said they wanted to transition to multi-cloud to reduce costs, that is actually a lower percentage than in the past, which Cisco said is notable.
AWS offers new supply chain app to help customers identify risks
Amazon Web Services (AWS) unveiled a new Supply Chain application that will allow its cloud customers to visualize their operational data and spot potential problems and risks. During the company’s re:Invent conference this month, AWS CEO Adam Selipsky said that cloud customers have been asking for a product that will help them plan and respond to supply chain disruptions. AWS used the logistics expertise that Amazon.com has developed for its retail operation to develop AWS Supply Chain. The software integrates data from various sources to give companies a holistic view of their supply chain.
Fortinet offers cloud-native firewall
Fortinet’s new FortiGate Cloud-Native Firewall, which it released on Amazon Web Services, is now available for enterprises that use AWS and want an enterprise-grade firewall with cloud-native support. The company said that FortiGate provides real-time threat detection and can protect against malicious internal and external threats. The product also uses traditional firewall capabilities like packet filtering, network address translation and virtual private networking capabilities.
AWS doesn’t emphasize security, and that’s by design
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is by far the leading cloud provider, but unlike Microsoft and Google, the cloud giant doesn’t talk a lot about security. That doesn’t mean AWS is less secure or less invested in cybersecurity than its peers, says the CybersecurityDive newsletter. Instead, the company’s security messaging leans heavily on the “shared responsibility” model, which means it promises to manage the security of the cloud but leaves its customers to secure what’s in the cloud. AWS also helps shape security governance through its participation in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s advisory committee.
TIP Picks Dublin to Trial Open Wi-Fi
The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) picked Dublin, Ireland, as the first city to test its open Wi-Fi initiative, which is open-source software for Wi-Fi. This is the first time TIP’s open Wi-Fi will be used by a municipality, and it complies with the WiFi4EU requirement, which is a European Union program that is intended to bring free Wi-Fi to popular public places throughout the EU. The EU subsidizes WiFi4EU programs. TIP executives are hopeful that once the open Wi-Fi trial is over, Dublin will decide to implement it and that other European municipalities will follow. TIP’s Wi-Fi technology enables the disaggregation between the access points and the controller. This allows customers to be able to buy access points from one manufacturer and a controller from a different supplier.
And that wraps it up for November. We’ll see you back here at the beginning of 2023 for our December 2022 edition. For our readers impacted by the ongoing tech correction, we wish you the best of luck and a fruitful 2023. In the meantime, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones as the year winds down. Stay safe and healthy!
The AvidThink team