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Network vendors at MWC - who has announced what so far
|10 февраля 2011|
Mobile World Congress starts earlier each year. This year some of the major network equipment vendors have already made a small clutch of announcements in the week prior to the show. It can be hard to keep up with who has said what, so here we have - on a company by company basis – a round-up so far.
Many of the announcements look to be geared at helping operators move to a more cost-efficient, flexible, automatically managed and optimised mix of network technology. You will hear Al-Lu and Ericsson, and possibly others, refer to this as the heterogenous network (or HetNet). As SON capabilities become a reality, vendors and operators are faced with the realistic prospect of layered RAN networks that can automatically manage neighbour cell relations and all be plugged into the same management, signaling and control layers. That's why, capacity and revenue crunch aside, networks look set to be a hot topic at Congress this year.
Ericsson will launch new products in the RAN, IP networking and network management space at Mobile World Congress 2011. Jan Häglund, vp of the networks business unit, said that the company will be launching a next generation evolved packet product, as well as a next generation SGSN/MME product. MME is the node that handles signalling for LTE. The next gen MME will be available in the second quarter of 2011, Häglund said.
The vendor will also be launching a new network management product for IP transport, Häglund added. In the RAN, Ericsson will be pushing the capabilities of its products to combine within an overall operator-managed environment to form a heterogeneous network, the Hetnet - combining multi-modular RAN products, SON/OSS capabilities and EvoRAN backhaul.
This will include products extending down to picocells, all of them manageable within operators' existing network management and operating systems, Haglund said.
As part of its drive for more flexible networks, Ericsson has also announced an antenna integrated radio unit: AIR. This integrates the antenna into the radio unit, is intended to enable operators to cut energy consumption and installation time because AIR has fewer units and fewer interconnections compared to traditional site solutions. Field trials in customer networks proved a reduction of integration and installation time of up to 30 percent.
Nokia Siemens Networks:
NSN has released a slew of announcements prior to the show – many of them related to LTE. We’ll concentrate just on the product based ones, and ignore the contracts and professional services type releases.
Working backwards – today it announced that it had conducted the world’s first successful demonstration of LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation on commercial equipment. The showcase was based on the company’s Flexi Multiradio Base Station. Carrier aggregation is a feature of LTE-Advanced that enables operators to create larger “virtual” carrier bandwidths for LTE services by combining separate spectrum allocations. The benefits of this aggregation include higher peak data rates and increased average data rates for users.
In the core, NSN has announced a suite of products based on open called the Open Core System, a suite of products based on off-the-shelf ATCA hardware. The Open Core System is intended to delivery evolution to all-IP core, with higher processing capacity. The Open Core System comprises of the Open MSS (mobile softswitch); Open MGW (multimedia gateway); Open IMS (IP multimedia subsystem); Open VoIP Server; Open PCS (policy control server); Open HSS (home subscriber server); Open SAM (signaling application manager); Flexi NS (network server incorporating serving GPRS support node and system architecture evolution gateway); Flexi NG (next generation, incorporating gateway GPRS support node and packet-switched gateway); and HLR (home location registry).
NSN has also lifted the lid on its Smart WLAN Connectivity Solution – a product that removes the need to manually switch a device’s data connection between Wi-Fi and cellular broadband, handling the transition without interrupting service.
NSN said that the Smart WLAN Connectivity Solution allows the integration of Wi-Fi and mobile networks, providing increased overall network capacity. The solution also allows operators to use the existing services and functionality supported by its packet core network such as authentication, charging, policy control and traffic management for both mobile and Wi-Fi traffic in a unified way. With O2 being just one company that has targeted a smarter WiFi plus 3G offering, you can see where NSN is headed with this one.
Alcatel-Lucent has so far gone for the big concept, rather than hard product. It introduced the idea of an active antenna divorced from other base station components, with control and network intelligence being centralized and based in the cloud. Aided by a nice, cubed antenna, Al-Lu called the strategy lightRadio.
The antenna, called lightRadio cube, is a multi-mode (2G, 3G, LTE) array with the ability to allow vertical beam forming, which Al-Lu said could increase capacity in urban sites by 30%. The antenna is designed to save space and allow more flexibility in installation.
Allied to the antenna design, base station components move to SoC: Freescale Semiconductor and Al-Lu are working to put base station components onto programmable hardware, with the idea being that network processing can take place either where it does now, at the site, or "in the cloud". Al-Lu is also working on a compression algorithm to reduce the amount of bandwidth needed to backhaul traffic, and virtualisation software from HP that is intended to allow dynamic load balancing, delivering a "cloud like" architecture for controllers and gateways.
The announcements are all positioned as saving on power, site cost, and bandwidth - to reduce the cost of operating future mobile networks, and meet the demand for more smaller, high capacity, cells in heterogenous networks.
But at the moment they form a vision more than any reality. The active antenna is intended to be ready by 2012, with trials later this year. Other elements of the program will be available from 2012 at the earliest, Al-Lu said, with other elements being available into 2013 and 2014
Yes, not a
network infrastructure vendor as such, and in fact the company has proved that
by announcing a non-equipment based network technology. It announced it would
be launching FlashLinq, a peer-to-peer technology designed to “enables devices
to discover each other automatically and to communicate without the need for
FlashLinq is based on synchronous TDD OFDMA technology (sounds similar to the Flarion technology Qualcomm acquired years back, the acquisition through which VP Andrew Gilbert entered the company). Although Qualcomm is the expert at delivering air interface technology to the market, do operators and device vendors really want to start the process of validating, testing, introducing, deploying and licensing a new one? One operator reported to be having a look is SK Telecom in Korea.
Of the other vendors, Huawei and ZTE have kept it relatively tight, with little actual product announcements, and NEC has said it will have a focus on small cells and femtocells for LTE, as well as on its iPASOLINK platform for backhaul networks.
Источник: Mobile Europe