December was super-busy with the ONF bowing out, successful WRC-23 outcomes for the mobile industry, RIC performing well in multi-vendor environments and more. Annie Turner reports
e& boosts hyperscale computing
e& (formerly Etisalat) completed a world-first trial of 1.6Tbps per wavelength technology on an optical transport network using equipment from Huawei. E& reckons this will address the growing demand for: capacity from cloud-based business services; enhanced 10G home broadband; and advanced 5G services.
Apparently the test consumed 65% less power per gigabit than other technologies. Khalid Murshed, CTIO at e&, said, “This is part of our network transformation journey to provide one of the fastest and [most] energy-efficient connectivity for hyperscale computing.”
BT embraces Nokia’s Network as Code
BT Group and Nokia signed an MoU to develop 5G monetisation opportunities through APIs on the vendor’s Network as Code platform and developer portal. The platform was launched last September, with the US’ DISH Network as its first operator customer.
It comes with software development kits and APIs, plus a ‘sandbox’ in which to create software code, simulate use cases and test them. Code ‘snippets’ can be used to build applications while developer analytics track usage.
Reza Rahnama, Managing Director, Mobile Networks at BT Group, commented, “5G-era networks are fundamentally software-based and rich in capabilities – such as improving network quality on demand – that can really make a difference to enterprises and consumers in ways that were not possible years ago.
“[The] new platform [will] help us better tap into those capabilities that we have been aggressively building into our 5G network.”
BT strives to improve streaming with MAUD
BT also announced it is pioneering technology designed to enable more reliable and sustainable, better quality streaming in the shape of MAUD for Multicast-Assisted Unicast Delivery. Major broadcasters, including the BBC, will help evaluate and possibly trial the tech for various live content the operator says.
Unlike unicast delivery, where each viewer consumes content via a dedicated internet stream, MAUD groups single streams into a shared one. This is much more efficient for broadcasters, content delivery networks and internet providers, with MAUD using up to 50% less bandwidth at peak times.
Fewer caches are needed, which reduces the amount of power required, and freeing up internet capacity should result in better quality transmission.
MAUD is also claimed to be superior to ‘standard’ multicast streams because its integration is transparent to the applications. Hence content service providers do not need to modify their customers’ apps to use the technology, saving them time and money too.
Intelligently managing multi-vendor RAN
Rakuten Symphony successfully trialled RAN intelligent controller (RIC) handling multi-vendor connectivity at Rakuten Mobile’s testing site. According to Rakuten Symphony, this showed that RICs can manage RANs’ efficiency, reducing overall power consumption in 5G and 4G Open RAN networks.
Rakuten Mobile has been conducting R&D on RIC applications, working with Rakuten Symphony’s RIC platform, since February 2023 as part of a project commissioned by Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). The project’s aim is to realise advanced RAN infrastructure beyond 5G.
Orange expands cloud expertise
Orange Business acquired French consultancy Expertime for an undisclosed sum. The consultancy specialises in Microsoft cloud, data and AI services and has about 165 staff, mostly based in France.
The acquisition is intended to “support the fast growth in digital, public cloud, AI and data” and help Orange Business achieve its ambition becoming “the leading network and digital services integrator in Europe, while reinforcing existing Microsoft expertise within Orange Business”.
WRC-23 “ground-breaking” for mobile
The GSMA, which represents the world’s mobile network operators, heralded spectrum decisions from the month-long World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23) as “ground breaking”.
The treaty conference is held every four years, under the auspices of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to allocate and harmonise the global use of spectrum for various kinds of communication through consensus.
John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer at the GSMA, stated, “WRC-23 has provided a clear roadmap for mobile services to continue to evolve and expand for the benefit of billions across the globe.”
Decisions and plans of action towards future decisions were reached for spectrum bands including 6GHz, which is key for 5G, 6G (and Wi-Fi), low-band, the mid-spectrum 3.5GHz and direct-to-cell satellite services. More information here.
Goodbye Open Networking Foundation
The end of 2023 saw the end of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) after 12 years. Its projects will be taken under the Linux Foundation’s (LF) wing. The rationale is that the move “creates independent, community-led governance for the three major project areas – broadband, Aether and P4”.
Aether provides 5G mobile connectivity and edge cloud services for distributed enterprise networks while P4 – for Programming Protocol-independent Packet Processors (P4) – is an open-source, domain-specific programming language for network devices.
Nick McKeown, a founder of ONF and P4, commented, “ONF was launched at the dawn of [software-defined networking], starting with the stewardship of OpenFlow…Today, ONF’s project portfolio has all the software needed to build networks that are fully programmable top-to-bottom and end-to-end. These projects are ready for a bigger community of developers, and LF is the ideal partner to help grow these projects.”