Ericsson enables smarter networks that learn and improve

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) launches its Network Data Analytics Function (NWDAF) solution, based on smarter data-driven networks that learn and improve. Ericsson’s NWDAF enables service providers to improve customer experience by using the data generated by the network to flag and fix problems, thus improving service quality.

For 5G, automation is a continuous endeavor ranging from automating specific simple and complex tasks to supporting zero-touch autonomous networking, which requires the application of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and reasoning. NWDAF achieves this by getting the right data at the right cost to feed into the AI/ML models.

NWDAF enhances network operability by providing insight that helps the service provider identify and solve network problems on different levels as well as input for taking valued business decisions. One example is automated closed loops (data retrieval, analytics processing, insights generation and action enforcement) on different network and application levels.

Ericsson’s NWDAF can drive up to 45 percent reduction in OPEX and CAPEX compared with typical third-party NWDAF implementation with event exposure. Smart data acquisition allows more efficient integration and testing, simpler orchestration and optimal footprint.

Neil McRae, MD Architecture & Strategy, BT Group Chief Architect says: “At BT we connect for good and our customers increasing reliance on the network requires us to think differently. With Ericsson we are working on cloud native solutions for 5G Core architecture to support multiple generations of technologies and we see the need for greater automation and analytics to manage complex networks and ensuring the best quality experience for our customers. I’m pleased to see that Ericsson is launching NWDAF building upon Ericsson’s built-in software probes and Expert Analytics (EEA), a natural next step development to enhance closed loop automation and service assurance that could benefit BT’s Customer Network Experience (CNE) platform.”

Monica Zethzon, Head of Solution Area Packet Core, Ericsson, says: “Everything 5G, especially 5G Core networks, must be automated. Automation will improve operational efficiency, reduce time to market for new services and is required to handle the magnitude of tailor-made services that will be introduced with 5G. With the launch of NWDAF we build the automated closed loop and assurance, enabled by AI and machine learning, to leverage data-driven operation based on network data.”

James Crawshaw, Principal Analyst, Telco IT & Operations, Omdia, says: “Ericsson’s NWDAF adds intelligence to the 5G core, bringing new insights that enable automation and optimization. With this solution, Ericsson shows its technology leadership in 5G Core.”

NWDAF is a reusable set of microservices integrated into Ericsson’s cloud-native dual-mode 5G Core and in Ericsson Expert Analytics . Flexible deployment scenarios and model portability enable the NWDAF to be located both centrally and as a built-in NWDAF in the 5G Core products. NWDAF is based on 3GPP Release 17, defining a distributed network analytics architecture where inference and training, and data repository are separated.

www.ericsson.com

Nokia unlocks unlicensed private wireless networks with the world’s first MulteFire solution

Recently Nokia mentioned that CBRS in the US leads the world on vertical spectrum and that Nokia is addressing this opportunity with some key partnerships and innovations. Nokia is now unlocking the global unlicensed spectrum with the industry first MulteFire 4.9G/LTE private wireless network solution. This solution features the industry’s first certified MulteFire device: the Nokia Industrial MulteFire router 700.  

The availability of licensed spectrum is often seen as a barrier to the deployment of new private wireless networks. While the situation has improved in quite a few countries, it is not yet ideal for all markets. When it comes to unlicensed spectrum, some countries allow the use of LTE-U on the unlicensed 5.8 GHz bands, which are traditionally used by Wi-Fi or wireless backhaul. But these bands are mainly used for static point-to-point applications and mobility is not allowed.

MulteFire now makes it possible to quickly set up and tear down a private LTE/4G network anywhere that Wi-Fi is allowed in 5.x GHz spectrum without worrying about spectrum availability, site footprint and boundaries, regulatory consent or licensing costs. It is a new very important option for small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs), and we hope it will help take private wireless to the mass market.

Communication service providers (CSPs) should also rejoice because MulteFire gives them a tool to tap into the SME market and offers private wireless more easily in countries where they don’t own any spectrum. Value-added resellers and distributors will also find MulteFire private wireless networks to be an ideal fit for their high-volume models.

One of the cherries on the cake with MulteFire is the potential to add capacity to existing licensed networks by deploying a few extra MulteFire access points. These access points can use the existing core network and operations and maintenance (O&M) functions.

Finally, MulteFire opens-up many new segments that lack access to licensed spectrum for some of their use cases. For example, MulteFire could be used to build temporary networks for events, construction sites, broadcasting, public safety operations, defense sites or field operations.

The Nokia Industrial MulteFire router 700 can break free from deployment and regulatory constraints to reliably connect a broad and growing range of IoT and digital assets in areas such as:

  • Communications, including LAN, business- and mission-critical communications, Industrial Ethernet and Machine Type Communication (MTC)
  • Visual intelligence, including video surveillance, image recognition and video analytics
  • Asset insights, including tracking, predictive diagnostics and supply chain management
  • Cloud automation, including automated guided robots (AGRs) and vehicles (AGVs) and remote machine control

By opening the world, new uses and making private wireless easier for SME, MulteFire further enhances Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) plug & play and easy-of-use capabilities. The solution can be delivered using an as-a-service package approach with a quick set-up service and includes a catalog of applications. 

With such announcement, Nokia opens-up the field of the unlicensed spectrum to drive growing MulteFire ecosytem and pave the way for the future 5G NR-U market and use cases.

Google Cloud and Ericsson partner to deliver 5G and Edge cloud Solutions

Google Cloud and Ericsson announced a partnership to jointly develop 5G and edge cloud solutions to help communications service providers (CSPs) digitally transform and to unlock new enterprise and consumer use cases.

Globally, industries with edge presences – including communication service providers, retailers, manufacturers, transport businesses, healthcare and media/entertainment providers – face pressures to build more digitized businesses and new digital experiences for their customers.

To help businesses address this shift, Google Cloud and Ericsson are working together to develop new solutions at Ericsson’s Silicon Valley D-15 Labs, a state-of-the-art innovation center where advanced solutions and technologies can be developed and tested on a live, multi-layers 5G platform.

Ericsson and Google Cloud have already completed functional onboarding of Ericsson 5G on Anthos to enable telco edge and on-premise use cases for CSPs and enterprises.

As part of the partnership, Google Cloud and Ericsson are also piloting enterprise applications at the edge on a live network with TIM. The project, which will automate the functions of TIM’s core 5G network and cloud-based applications, will use TIM’s Telco Cloud infrastructure, Google Cloud solutions and Ericsson’s 5G core network and orchestration technologies.

The joint offerings will help enterprises in the automotive, transportation, manufacturing and other sectors improve efficiencies and lower latency by bringing connectivity close to companies’ physical locations.

Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud, says: “Organizations have a tremendous opportunity to digitally transform their businesses with 5G and cloud capabilities like artificial intelligence and machine learning at the edge. We are proud to partner with Ericsson to help build a foundation for communications service providers and enterprises alike to take advantage of cloud technology and cloud-native services, from telecom network core to the  edge and enterprise premises.”

Niklas Heuveldop, President and Head of Ericsson North America, says: “5G is a powerful innovation platform. Combined with edge cloud capabilities, 5G has the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of virtually any sector of industry or society. We are excited about our partnership with Google Cloud as we engage with our customers to leverage our combined capabilities to solve real-world business challenges for the benefit of consumers, enterprises and society at large.”

Ericsson and Google previously formed a services partnership to enable the digital transformation of operator networks and application migration through cloud-native, container-based solutions.

www.ericsson.com

Verizon partners with IBM and Red Hat to deploy its 5G network as an open hybrid cloud platform

IBM and Verizon have a long and successful history of collaboration, built on a shared vision to drive continuous innovation for consumers and businesses in all industries. Therefore IBM is delighted to announce the next major step in their partnership. Verizon has chosen IBM and Red Hat to help build and deploy an open hybrid cloud platform with automated operations and service orchestration as the foundation of its 5G core.

This work with Verizon comes at a critical time for the telco industry as telcos position to deliver on the fundamental transformation potential of 5G. With increased bandwidth, reduced latency and cloud native capabilities, telcos now have the opportunity to leverage their unique and trusted role in communications to capture value from enterprise 5G adoption. 

Why is this so crucial right now? Because it’s the kind of platform transformation that enables telcos to play a leading role in bringing connectivity and compute together for the 5G era. And the value that can be driven from this is clear, as 91% of high performing CSPs surveyed by the IBM Institute for Business Value expect to outperform their current financial expectations in five years as a result of using 5G-enabled edge computing.  In simple terms, telcos must become platform businesses, or face competing with them. 

Think about the rate and pace of innovation we are all experiencing, including heath care – evolving from telehealth doctor visits to network enabled remote surgeries. Or consider factory workers who can now gain access to video and real-time, augmented reality tools to improve quality and yields while they predict maintenance and repair needs before they happen. Or complex modern power grids that can support clean energy and more intelligent, real-time monitoring via 5G-enabled sensors.  All of these innovations must be powered by agile network platforms that can support AI and data intensive use cases as low latency edge computing moves closer to where data is created and captured.  

Verizon is a great example of a communication services provider that is on the forefront of this transformation, by embracing an open hybrid cloud platform that enables a world-class operations environment, aligned to their next-gen vision of an intelligent, highly automated and efficient 5G network. With this transformation, they can scale and deploy new services across a variety of environments, speeding innovation that delivers new value to customers.

By working with Red Hat and IBM Global Business Services (GBS) to build their 5G core network services on Red Hat OpenShift, Verizon is evolving to an open, cloud-native, containerized webscale platform that is ready to harness innovative applications that can support advanced 5G use cases. This open hybrid cloud foundation is designed to help them draw on the power of the immense up-stream open source community, while retaining the architectural control necessary to speed new features, offerings and services like network slicing and multi-access edge computing to market. And they can retain choice over what cloud (public or private), on-prem or Edge environment is best to deploy these solutions.

IBM Global Business Services, a leading systems integrator in the telco industry, is also integrating Telco Network Cloud solutions into Verizon’s Service Orchestration Platform to automate and manage services much more efficiently. This integration is designed to improve the service quality, predictably and automation of virtual network functions and comply with Open Network Automation Platform interfaces.

Taken together, today’s news is an enormous step forward in how IBM is supporting Verizon’s position as a network-as-a-service leader in 5G. With this approach, Verizon gains more control over how they choose to drive new value for their customers. They have flexibility in how and where they move their data, and what tools and technologies they choose to develop these emerging 5G-enabled business solutions.

We all know change and opportunity go hand in hand, and Verizon has long embraced forward thinking – especially now, when the industry is racing to create and capture new value as the market adopts 5G. As we look towards a future with 5G, IBM and Red Hat are deeply engaged, and working hand in hand with leading telecom operators all over the globe, to co-create and deliver open hybrid cloud platform solutions that will enable them – and the enterprises they serve – to thrive in this next era that combines the power of “connectivity + compute.”

www.ibm.com

MTN to launch OpenRAN in Africa

MTN Group is leveraging our expansive footprint across Africa to test and ultimately deploy OpenRAN – an innovative  technology that will enable us to launch new services more quickly, cost-effectively and seamlessly, supporting our strategy, Ambition 2025: Leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress.

We plan to modernise our radio access networks using OpenRAN. This is in line with one of five vital enablers of our strategy: to build technology platforms that are second to none, thereby allowing for the rapid expansion of 4G and 5G population coverage across our markets.

With up-to-date technology, we can expect a reduction in our power consumption and associated carbon emissions. This, in turn, supports our plans to decarbonise our network and achieve net zero emissions by 2040, our Project Zero.

OpenRAN allows for the disaggregation of hardware and software elements of a network, enabling telcos to build a network using components with the same specifications and scale from a diverse base of vendors. A disruptive trend, it is gaining popularity as the industry seeks to promote an open and interoperable ecosystem between various vendors.

We at MTN aim to roll this out by the end of 2021 in collaboration with our partners Altiostar, Mavenir, Parallel Wireless, TechMahindra and Voyage.

As an early adopter, MTN first rolled out open-source technology in 2019 to improve rural coverage. This was in line with our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. To date, we have deployed over 1 100 commercial sites in more than 11 countries and were among the pioneers of open-source adoption, facilitating cost-effective deployment in unconnected areas.

For all mobile network operators, radio access network (RAN) makes up the bulk of capital and operating costs. By applying OpenRAN, MTN targets further innovation and cost efficiencies.

“At MTN we are alive to the potential of open interfaces. There is a lot of value that dominant players bring to the business, but telecommunications today is as much about the stability of the network as it is about new services,” says MTN Group Chief Technology and Information Officer Charles Molapisi. “Customers measure us against the speed with which we can deploy the latest technology and we are committed to finding faster and better ways to do that.”

The many benefits of OpenRAN include diversifying the vendor landscape, disrupting the cost flow, and removing dependencies on proprietary suppliers. It also promises cost savings and flexibility as it allows operators to use generic hardware and open interfaces. It enables a so-called ‘Lego architecture’ where many different vendors supply the components and software products that together make the end-to-end radio network work. By modernising the network, we reduce our power consumption and emissions in support of our Project Zero. 

“While OpenRAN brings a new architecture to mobile networks and more suppliers to deal with, it gives telcos much-needed flexibility,” says Amith Maharaj, MTN Group Executive: Network Planning and Design. “This means that MTN can now look at building a network that can meet cost and capacity requirements of specific markets, or even rapidly deploy 5G and/or 4G seamlessly with existing legacy services. This is a real game-changer for mobile advancement in emerging markets.”   

While the technology is still in its early days and widespread adoption is likely years away, MTN has already collaborated with a number of global players to reap the benefits and trigger innovation. In efforts to drive OpenRAN standardisation, we are also participating in Facebook’s Telecom Infra Project.

“Early adoption gives us the ability to improve and deploy appropriate network architecture underpinned by technology, both tried and tested, and disruptive, to ensure we continue to deliver an exceptional experience, and ultimately play our part in harnessing the power of technology to lead digital solutions for Africa’s progress,” concludes Molapisi. 

www.mtn.com

Samsung introduces 8nm process to improve 5G RF chips

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today introduces its newest radio frequency (RF) technology based on 8-nanometer (nm) process.

This cutting-edge foundry technology is expected to provide a ‘one chip solution,’ specifically for 5G communications with support for multi-channel and multi-antenna chip designs. Samsung’s 8nm RF platform extension is expected to expand the company’s leadership in the 5G semiconductor market from sub-6GHz to mmWave applications.

Samsung’s 8nm RF process technology is the latest addition to an already broad portfolio of RF-related solutions, including 28nm- and 14nm-based RF. The company has established its RF market leadership through the shipping of more than 500 million mobile RF chips for premium smartphones since 2017.

“Through excellence in innovation and process manufacturing, we’ve reinforced our next-generation wireless communication offerings,” said Hyung Jin Lee, Master of Foundry Technology Development Team at Samsung Electronics. “As 5G mmWave expands, Samsung’s 8nm RF will be a great solution for customers looking for long battery life and excellent signal quality on compact mobile devices.”

With continued scaling to advanced nodes, digital circuits have improved significantly in performance, power consumption, and area (PPA), whereas the analog/RF blocks haven’t enjoyed such an improvement due to degenerative parasitics such as increased resistance from narrow line width. As a result, most communications chips tend to see degraded RF characteristics such as deteriorated amplification performance of reception frequency and increased power consumption.

To overcome the analog/RF scaling challenges, Samsung has developed a unique architecture exclusive to 8nm RF named RFextremeFET (RFeFET™) that can significantly improve RF characteristics while using less power. In comparison to 14nm RF, Samsung’s RFeFET™ supplements the digital PPA scaling and restores the analog/RF scaling at the same time, thereby enabling high-performance 5G platforms.

Samsung’s process optimization maximizes channel mobility while minimizing parasitics. As the performance of RFeFET™ is greatly improved, the total number of transistors of RF chips and the area of analog/RF blocks can be reduced.

Compared to 14nm RF, Samsung’s 8nm RF process technology provides up to a 35-percent increase in power efficiency with a 35-percent decrease in the RF chip area as a result of the RFeFET™ architectural innovation.

www.samsung.com

Ericsson launches private 5G set to transform secure on-site connectivity

Ericsson launched Ericsson Private 5G. It offers secure and simple 4G LTE and 5G Standalone (SA) connectivity primarily targeting but not limited to manufacturing, mining and process industry, offshore and power utilities, as well as ports and airports.

Ericsson Private 5G optimizes and simplifies business operations with cloud-based network management, keeps sensitive data on-premise, has zero downtime upgrades and guarantees high performance through Service-Level Agreements (SLAs).

It is easily installed within hours at any facility and can be scaled to support larger coverage areas, more devices and higher capacity when needed. The product is designed to be flexible and will support a range of deployment sizes, depending on requirements, to suit varied needs. Businesses can manage their networks and integrate with IT/OT systems via an open API.

Ericsson Private 5G builds upon Ericsson’s 4G/5G radio and dual mode core technology, enabling a wide variety of use cases for both indoor and outdoor environments while integrating well with business operations, devices and applications. As a result, companies can improve productivity, give their customers more value and provide better working environments for employees.

Innovative use cases include tracking assets and real-time automation to improve productivity in warehouses, and a digital twin that can help to optimize manufacturing operations. Efficient quality inspections can also be performed via augmented reality or smart surveillance drones to increase worker safety, particularly in potentially hazardous environments such as ports and mines.

Ericsson already has a significant track record of operational 4G and 5G private network deployments with customers worldwide. Ericsson Private 5G builds on the success of that solution portfolio and deployment insights, as well as insights from projects such as 5G-Industry Campus Europe.

Peter Burman, Program Manager Mine Automation, at Swedish mining company Boliden, says: “Automation, and safety through automation in our mining operations is an absolute must for us. Ericsson Private 5G is exactly what Boliden needs to bring high quality, fast and secure connectivity into potentially hazardous environments allowing us to mobilize efficiency and safety improving use cases.

Niels König, Coordinator 5G-Industry Campus Europe, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT: “Private 5G networks are highly attractive for producing companies because of the uncompromised performance that 5G can bring, allowing them to tackle the challenges of production. Efficiently deploying and using network solutions in enterprises requires simplicity in installation, flexibility in connecting to existing production IT and lean operations while at the same time being able to scale the network to meet future challenges. Ericsson Private 5G delivers exactly these capabilities.”

Leo Gergs, Senior Analyst, ABI Research, says: “With this new offering, Ericsson will be able to address key trends in the enterprise cellular market.  The value proposition will appeal to operators and service providers as the solution hides technology complexity and therefore reduces the barrier of entry to deployment for many different flavors of enterprise networks.”

Thomas Noren, Head of Dedicated Networks, Business Area Technologies and New Businesses, Ericsson, says: “With Ericsson Private 5G, we take the best of Ericsson’s current portfolio and top it up with the best of our new technology. We do this to give businesses what they need to improve productivity, enable new offerings and give employees a better working environment. With Ericsson Private 5G, we also give operators a better way to serve business customers and leverage their assets – in short, to grow beyond mobile broadband.”

www.ericsson.com