Huawei unveiled a bewildering number of new hardware products and solutions under its ‘Make It Possible’ theme – all designed to boost network optimisation and performance. Ryan Ding, senior VP of Huawei, said: ‘Huawei will remain committed to meeting customer needs, focus on the pipe business, and provide operators with pipes that have a diameter as wide as the Pacific Ocean.’
One key offering was its SoftCOM ICT network architecture built on cloud computing and SDN, designed to help operators expand IT services beyond networks and slash costs by structurally improving network utilisation and operating efficiency.
The company’s FusionSphere cloud operating system provides network virtualisation capabilities and resource pool management. Huawei said that in tests, FusionSphere ‘outscored the mainstream cloud operating systems by running a total number of 240 virtual machines and 40 computing blocks’.
Its SoftMobile design architecture for mobile broadband network equipment supports software-defined modular pipes of large diameter, which will help to resolve equipment problems. related to multi-mode and multi-frequency networking.
Samsung Networks Business
Samsung is the smallest of the main players in the mobile telecoms OEM infrastructure space and concentrates on LTE equipment. Recent wins with Three UK and Telefónica in Chile are helping to boost its profile.
IP Hong, VP Head of Marketing Group, Global Sales & Marketing Team, Networks Business, said that more contracts are pending in Europe, which will help the company’s position in that market as a trusted LTE equipment vendor.
In Asia, Hong said Samsung won the biggest TD-LTE contract in the region in the third quarter of last year, but can’t say who it is yet.
There was much talk of caching data at the edge of the network this year, but as Hong pointed out, Samsung announced this service at last year’s MWC. ‘We put a general purpose IT service in our eNodeB LTE base station, so you can get HD video locally and we commercialised smart mobile caching in Q2 2012.
‘At the moment it requires two boxes, the IT server and the base band, but later on we will integrate them into a compact design.’
He noted that the service can be used for transmission or retransmission of TV programmes using HD LTE. ‘The mobile operator has caching services, so while the broadcaster cannot recast, the operator can cache the programme in the local base stations and broadcast and unicast it.
Nokia Siemens Network
Nokia Siemens Networks’ (NSN) big message was all about helping its carrier customers monetise their network investments. Rajeev Suri, CEO, NSN, said: ‘Operators have to leverage the value of their networks. There is a lot of talk of it being a dumb pipe, but that is pretty dumb too. It can be leveraged in lots of ways.’
He added: ‘We are pushing into the future to enable operators to deliver 1GB per user per day – profitably.’ He continued: ‘We are targeting: enhancing capacity; reducing latency to milliseconds; teach networks to be self-aware; flatten total energy consumption; and reinvent the telcos for the cloud era.’
NSN’s big announcement was its Liquid Applications product, which adds intelligence through computing power to the base stations at the edge of the network. It is an internet cloud server really close to the customer, where information can be cached. Local caching of content is not new in itself, but NSN has gone a step further by turning base stations into local hubs for service creation and delivery.
‘Liquid Applications redefines the role of the base station and will transform the mobile broadband experience,’ said Marc Rouanne, head of Mobile Broadband, Nokia Siemens Networks. ‘The beauty of Liquid Applications is in the simplicity of using information that has always been there in the network, to fundamentally change the definition of personalised service and shatter forever the perception of the network as just a bit-pipe. Liquid Applications will drive innovation and new business models across the mobile industry.’
Ericsson president and CEO, Hans Vestberg described the company’s big theme as the networked society – ‘anything that can be connected will be connected’.
The company is focusing its efforts on five key areas: network performance (done by improving and densifying the macro layer and adding small cells); operational excellence; customer experience; growth opportunities; and telecom/IT convergence.
The Cloud will be another way for carriers to find revenue, according to Ericsson CTO Ulf Ewaldsson. ‘No one is unaffected by the internet component of the industry. Many developments are blind to the network, so we are working to make the network relevant to the Cloud in a new way to provide the right speed, latency and security control in the network.’
Ericsson is working on its network-enabled Cloud system designed to ensure that every node in the network is capable of hosting applications and its Service Provider SDN concept to provide carriers with the tools to build real-time platforms that will allow them to offer cloud services to customers and enterprises. It argues that SDN needs to focus not just on the data centre, but needs to be extended right across the telecom network.
Vestberg added that moving towards customer-centric managed services was the next step for Ericsson in leadership and said that Ericsson was ‘clearly No.1 in the industry for mobile infrastructure, OSS/BSS, services, media compression and delivery. OSS/BSS is a fragmented area with many players, but it is enormously important to carriers and end users. We have 30% of the BSS market now, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. OSS/BSS and managed services are the areas that are growing fastest – we are No.1 in all three, so we need to maintain that.’
Alcatel-Lucent’s focus for 2013 and beyond is to concentrate its efforts on those mobile operators who want to be first to market with LTE to put them in a winning position and to do so with minimal disruption.
The company is keen to differentiate itself from the competition using its range of backhaul solutions and its expanding portfolio of lightRadio Network solutions. It is touting its CloudBand ‘cloud-in-a-box’ solution as an industry first, along with its New Conversation APIs, which are designed to turn IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystems) into a platform for rapid innovation.
Glenn Booth, VP Product Management, Wireless Division at Alcatel-Lucent, said mobile operators split into two camps when it comes to LTE. ‘Some operators see LTE as HSPA+ and are building it as an obligation almost. Others are building LTE networks to win customers and beat the competition. The goals are different, so the approach is different.
‘Where operators are using it to differentiate themselves, their real aim is to capture the best subscribers: i.e. those using the most data and paying them the most. The devices are available to facilitate that now; smartphone users on LTE v ones on 3G are using 80% more data.’
He continued: ‘All those smart devices are designed to consume data and that is really driving them to the top tier of the pyramid. LTE enables operators to fight back against pre-pay. Those that have made the move to LTE are achieving significantly better revenues – and that’s data only, remember. When it is bundled with voice and especially VoLTE (voice over LTE) subscribers will get better voice, plus applications.’
ZTE used MWC to launch a new series of small cell backhaul solutions; a UMTS radio performance solution that delivers a 40% improvement in spectrum efficiency; the Magic series of remote radio units – 58% smaller than the industry standard; and a full outdoor microwave system for large capacity data transmission on LTE networks.
ZTE also unveiled a 4G cloud radio solution designed to help operators solve a series of key problems during network evolution progress to 4G, such as unbalanced load in 2G, 3G and LTE networks.