MWC19 Warm-Up: 5G, IoT & Enterprise WAN

If you are one of the 100,000 Mobile World Congress telecom pilgrims heading for Barcelona next week, like me you are probably struggling with what to pack. From the warm and sunny 2017 edition and it’s crowded outside café terraces between halls, to the cold snow show of 2018, packing this year will be quite a dilemma, especially if you are going to be there for the full tour of duty. As a busy business community we really should be influencing fashion designers more and challenging them to come up with better all-weather connected solutions. The market is huge and well worth a crowdfund or two.

Unfortunately, uCPE doesn’t stand for Universal Clothing which you can slice, unzip and repurpose depending on temperature, humidity and the elements in general. The royal UCPE that many of us will be discussing at MWC is about consolidating virtual networking functions onto open, commercial-off-the-shelf servers or network appliances (we often refer to them as white box uCPEs at Advantech). Hot Topics – this year they will be about adapting uCPE at the edge to bridge between 5G and IoT and overall orchestration from sensor to gateway to edge cloud and cloud.

On the 5G side we are definitely anticipating some enterprise backhaul interlocks at MWC, and with certain members of the Intel Xeon D-2100 family offering us so much compute headroom, we’ll probably be talking fronthaul options too, with a touch of software defined radio (SDR) running on some of the cores.

uCPE Mobile Backhaul

On an entry level uCPE, a 10GbE copper uplink to a 5G modem might prove more cost effective than fiber on Atom C3000 and Intel Xeon D-2100 white box uCPEs. Fiber could be the way to go to extend cable lengths to outdoor antennas – let’s see. MWC is always a great touchpoint for feedback and we expect to get into some deeper discussion about how verified Intel Select Solutions for uCPE can help.

White box Fronthaul – don’t think big! think small!

Meanwhile on the fronthaul side where the boundary of the Virtual Edge is still being redefined, we expect small cell connectivity to be on the design-in discussion check-list as well as Private LTE and 5G.  In the new virtual edge, very diverse radio protocols need to be supported and co-exist with other network functions (as well as new revenue generating applications of course). At previous editions of MWC, Advantech demonstrated how its PAC-6009 carrier-grade blade server with nearly 300 Intel Xeon cores truly excels there. It is rugged and compact, easily connected to existing CPRI fronthaul and to additional small cells (up to 108 new Ethernet-ready Remote Radio Heads). The system accelerates the process of building solutions for NB-IoT and vRAN. Thanks to skillfully written vRAN software from Amarisoft and the support of AW2S we were able to demonstrate how to extend the same programming and deployment environment of the cloud to existing aggregation sites requiring a complete NFV makeover. Watch out for Amarisoft at this year’s show they will be demonstrating their gNodeB for 5G on commercial off the shelf servers at booth #5K13.

vRAN in a box

Since the previous edition of MWC, processor core density has rocketed, with 28 Intel Xeon scalable cores now possible in a compact single socket white box server. Count 56-cores in a deeper 1U or short-depth 2U enclosure. Servers and Whitebox UCPEs based on the Intel Xeon D-2100 family are also now available enabling further innovation at both the enterprise edge and in initiatives relating to the outdoor access network. This year, we will not only see UCPE and SD-WAN functions running in extremely compact white boxes – the extra processor headroom will also enable the addition of SDR and vRAN functions making small-footprint whitebox uCPE fronthaul real for small cell and Private LTE networks. Watch out at MWC because a white box revolution is in the making with true server-class processing along with rich and secure connectivity options that can provide low latency data pre-processing, stream processing and analytics. 2019 will be the year of the converged platform.

Convergence and NGCO – more cores please!

Advantech’s SKY-8000 servers have been designed to harness that compute power for the transformation of traditional central offices into open and programmable aggregation points ready to host the 5G converged smart edge. To accelerate deployment, commercial software solutions from selected Intel Network Builder partners are now available, with virtual edge functions such as vBNG, vEPC, vCMTS, vSecGW or vPE able to serve tens of thousands of subscribers in a small Next Generation Central Office (NGCO) rack. Dual-socket servers capable of 200Gbps per socket of balanced I/O are now available for both 600mm telco and 900mm data center racks with no change in software loads. In addition, the Intel Select Solutions for NFVI initiative has helped Advantech partners benefit from readily available and verified platforms. These benefits can now be passed on to CommSPs to help further accelerate time to deployment.

MWC18 – Building the IoT Infrastructure

CommSP booths at MWC18 started to look like CES displays as a new generation of applications and services came together under the 5G promise in order to sell the new IoT world. Now, with so much innovation over the past year and 5G actually in deployment or in trials, I don’t think we’ll have much time to bother about the weather in Barcelona as we become captivated by discussions on how to close the gaps in the network infrastructure for IoT deployments and innovative new ways to meet latency and QoS metrics that will make the next wave of applications real.

A strong market outlook and uCPE uptake by communication service providers has led to the introduction of a growing number of hardware and software solutions from a vibrant ecosystem of suppliers. Solutions are available that dramatically simplify complex networks, allow organizations to reduce their capital outlays on equipment, and deliver services to end-users in a more flexible, agile and cost-effective way from a centralized location.

Check out what’s possible, visit Intel at Booth 3E31 or book a meeting with Advantech in Hall #5L16MR: www.advantech.com/nc/spotlight/MWC19

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