Actualités internationales sur la 5G

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General

Amdocs seals cloud gig from Vodafone Ireland

Vodafone Ireland selected Amdocs to shift the operator’s infrastructure and workloads to the cloud, a move the pair claimed would pave the way towards rapid 5G adoption and a better customer experience.

The operator stated it will use Amdocs’ Customer Experience Suite offering to migrate its on-premise infrastructure to the cloud, giving it more flexibility with its network offering and capacity to support future growth.

Mairead Cullen, CIO at Vodafone Ireland, stated moving to the cloud was “a key part of our strategy” to become more agile and responsive to customers.

Amdocs has made a big play around offering cloud services, cashing in on an increasing number of operators migrating towards hybrid, disaggregated networks.

Its deal with Vodafone in the Republic of Ireland follows a wider agreement with the operator group struck in April 2022 to modernise its inventory management covering mobile and fixed networks in Germany, Romania, the Czech Republic and Albania.

Amdocs ultimately was tasked by Vodafone to provide a data foundation to automate networks and smooth the process to rolling out 5G.

The following month, Amdocs struck a deal to acquire network assurance and optimisation specialist Mycom OSI to bolster its SaaS-based cloud and service assurance offering.

Anthony Goonetilleke, group president of technology and head of strategy at Amdocs, said it is taking a “central role” in Vodafone Ireland’s cloud strategy.

General

Orange, Ericsson steel themselves for 5G

Orange’s business arm and Ericsson claimed to have launched the largest industrial 4G and 5G network, with a deployment for steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal.

The companies stated the steel company is expanding its use of mobility technologies to aid carbon-reduction efforts. Ericsson supplied its private network expertise and Orange Business Services its 5G services.

ArcelorMittal is employing tablet PCs for data collection, entry and sharing. It also employs the connectivity to conduct inspections and safety audits.

The network is also contributing to the company’s efforts to boost sustainability through assessments of steel density and composition.

Future use cases developed at ArcelorMittal’s sites include initiatives around autonomous rail and road vehicles, along with VR and AR applications.

The French government-funded project has been in the works since November 2021 and is now fully operational.

General

NextWave marks milestone with Airspan in NY private wireless deployment

NextWave marked a milestone this week with infrastructure vendor Airspan Networks, announcing 120 eNodeB base stations deployed as part of NextWave’s ongoing private network rollout in the New York metro area. NextWave revealed plans last year to leverage its Band 41, aka 2.5 GHz, spectrum capabilities to provide what it describes as a unique wide-area, high-speed private networking offer for mission-critical services.

The first phase of its deployment includes 23 high-power macro sites, with typically six eNodeBs on each site, according to John Dooley, a director at NextWave. These sites cover large areas due to their configuration and the high-performance nature of the industrial radios that use them, he said, adding that they’re sort of like conventional carrier macro sites on steroids.

The coverage and site count is ramping up significantly in Phase II, he said. The company stated last year that its second phase would cover the entire New York metro area of about 15 million people by early 2023.

Notable history 

The company ties its roots back to the company, also called NextWave, made notable for its years-long legal fight over spectrum licenses the U.S. government seized when NextWave was under bankruptcy protection. NextWave won its case at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008.

NextWave did not get its 2.5 GHz spectrum in last year’s FCC auction. Its holdings go back many years, predating the auction. The company holds significant amounts of spectrum in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Las Vegas and the Los Angeles areas.

With Phase I complete, it’s expanding the New York network and beginning the build process in the San Francisco and Philadelphia markets as part of Phase II, Dooley said.

The build in Phase I is a macro overlay of 4G LTE, as it will be the basis of the initial Phase II expansion in New York, he said. In the current 3GPP standard for Band 41, LTE allows NextWave to use smaller channels alongside its broadband channels, he explained. “These have much higher dynamic range, allowing us to meet critical service reliability requirements for customers, even in dense urban environments,” he told Fierce via email.

“Facility-based (small cell) services going into customer facilities are now 5G NR on some of our channels,” he said. “The system will ultimately be 5G NR everywhere as the standard and equipment availability evolves.”

Conventional RAN 

He also gave a shoutout to Airspan, saying it’s been a great partner for this type of build and provided the kind of support and attention that a larger vendor wouldn’t be able to give. In fact, that’s why they were able to complete Phase I in record time, he said. NextWave also likes the ability to influence the next-generation product line so that it better meets its customer requirements.

NextWave is using a conventional RAN architecture, “but we are excited by the open RAN potential. I think the direction that open RAN is going makes a lot of sense for private networks,” he said.

The company isn’t naming names when it comes to customers but it’s working with large anchor customers in the tech sector, with hopes of making public announcements in the near term. As they build out, there will be opportunities to accommodate smaller customers, he said. 

As for reports about private wireless not talking off as quickly as some predicted, he said NextWave isn’t seeing any slowing. “I think the difference here is that we can offer a true private network, with dedicated spectrum and an existing overlay network,” he said. “This allows for security and performance guarantees that the conventional carrier offering cannot. Band 41 further accelerates our ability to provide service, since the consumer and industrial device ecosystem is near-universal.”

The conventional carriers can generally only offer slicing or perhaps CBRS small cell solutions, which is a different proposition and it doesn’t meet the requirements that NextWave is fulfilling in its part of the market, he said. “If we have a market issue, it is that we cannot accommodate all of the present opportunities and still meet our strict performance commitments,” he added.

In a press release, NextWave said its New York Metro service is one of the first private networks to prioritize seamless transitions between in-facility 5G coverage and urban 4G+5G transportation channels. “This will allow private network users to maintain high levels of security and performance, even when they leave their facility, with the added value of this spectrum being supported by popular smartphones and other widely available mobile broadband devices,” the release states.

Dooley said that NextWave isn’t roaming onto T-Mobile, the carrier with the largest contingence of 2.5 GHz spectrum in the U.S. Rather, “our own wide-area network is the off-facility connectivity for current users/applications, and it covers essential corridors in the New York market,” he said. “When in areas not covered by our private overlay, users default to their conventional carrier capabilities.”

General

Verizon to test integrated access & backhaul with Verana technology

All has been quiet on the integrated access and backhaul (IAB) front for a while. But today, Verana Networks says that Verizon will trial its 5G IAB technology on its millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, later this year.

IAB, in a nutshell, means that an operator dedicates a portion of its spectrum resources for wireless backhaul. This saves the operator from the expense of having to deploy fiber to every base station for backhaul. The downside is that the operator must sacrifice some of its spectrum that would normally be used for mobile access.

Amit Jain, chief commercial officer of Verana Networks, told Fierce that IAB is especially useful with mmWave spectrum. This is because mmWave has limited range, so operators, such as Verizon, have to build a lot of small cell sites to use mmWave for their 5G mobile service. 

But a lot of small cell sites require a lot of fiber if fiber is chosen as the backhaul technology.

And mmWave spectrum is often used in dense urban areas to increase capacity. But those locations are places where it’s especially disruptive and expensive to deploy fiber.

“Millimeter wave spectrum is abundant and inexpensive, but providing 5G coverage using this spectrum is cost-prohibitive today,” said Vedat Eyuboglu, CEO and co-founder of Verana Networks, in a statemet. “To transform the economics of mmWave 5G deployment, Verana is building a mmWave 5G RAN solution with integrated multi-hop wireless self-backhaul.”

Multi-hop IAB

Verana’s technology includes the radio hardware and software as well as IAB. “We also provide a software CU and our management system; basically a complete 5G RAN,” said Jain.

Verana’s IAB is a “multi-hop” backhaul. Jain explained that an operator would set up a first cell site connected to fiber. Then the radio on that site is able to search for other nearby Verana radios and provide wireless backhaul to those. And those radios can, in turn, search for other nearby radios. “It helps you take the capacity of site and spread over a large area,” he said.

Jain said mmWave is well-suited for IAB because the spectrum “creates narrow beams.” This enables the carrier to dedicate spectrum resources efficiently to provide just what’s needed for backhaul.

Asked about the reach of the backhaul before it starts to degrade, Jain said “it depends if you have line-of-site.” Each hop can be over a kilometer.

Verizon’s focus to date has been to use mmWave in high density areas. But Jain said Verana also thinks its technology will work well on mmWave for fixed wireless access (FWA) services in less dense areas.

Jain said to his knowledge, no one else in the telecom industry is building an IAB solution for mmWave at this time.

Verizon

Verizon plans to do a field trial with Verana’s technology later this year.

Bill Stone, VP of technology and planning at Verizon, stated: “Millimeter wave spectrum is the foundation of Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service, providing faster speeds and massive bandwidth. Verana’s multi-hop IAB solution promises to enhance our 5G network performance even more.” 

Verizon’s venture capital arm, Verizon Ventures, is also a strategic investor in Verana.

Verana has conducted two rounds of funding, raising $43 million to date, and Verizon Ventures invested in both rounds.

General

US and India vow to collaborate on telecoms and tech

The US has moved to further isolate China by deepening its relationship with regional rival India.

A broad-ranging collaboration between the two countries was announced yesterday under the banner of ‘the initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET)’. It’s actually an expansion of that initiative, which was first unveiled in May of last year. The nature of this tech collaboration was revealed by the fact that the inaugural meeting of iCET was led by national security advisors from each country.

China isn’t named in the fact sheet issued by the White House, but frequent use of coded phrases like ‘democratic values’ leave little doubt over what this is all about. India has managed to largely sit on the fence when it comes to the latest iterations of the Great Game, so it’s fair to regard this declaration of mutual regard as a significant win for the US and its allies in their bid to isolate and suppress China.

“Its economic practices, its aggressive military moves, its efforts to dominate the industries of the future and to control the supply chains of the future, have had a profound impact on the thinking in Delhi,” said US national security adviser Jake Sullivan, in reference to China, as reported by the FT. “This is another big foundational piece of an overall strategy to put the entire democratic world in the Indo-Pacific in a position of strength.”

The telecoms industry is directly addressed in the agreement, with talk of ‘Advancing cooperation on research and development in 5G and 6G, facilitating deployment and adoption of Open RAN in India, and fostering global economies of scale within the sector.’ That feels like code for trying to make sure Indian operators don’t use Chinese kit and comes hot on the heels of reports that the US is ramping up its hostilities against Huawei.

Chips, space and defence are all covered too in a move that the US apparently hopes will make India less reliant on Russia for weapons and give the US more non-Chinese supply chain options. This uncharacteristically calm and balanced op-ed by the Chinese government-controlled Global Times suggests the CCP doesn’t think this development is such a big deal, but it definitely represents another incremental win for the US in the region.

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