Top ten innovations in wholesale technologies

07 July 2017 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

With the advancement of the internet of things (IoT) and near standardisation of 5G technology, wholesale innovation is no longer a matter of evolution but critical for the survival of the carrier market. Stable infrastructure, increased capacity, faster speeds and consistent connectivity are demands placed on businesses constantly. While some lag behind, others are ahead of the curve and here is our list of some of the ones to keep up with:

1. Nokia & Facebook – Trans-Atlantic subsea cable

The 5,500km trans-Atlantic subsea cable doubles the capacity of existing fibre, utilising new optical digital signal processing technologies, which used shaped 64-QAM over the subsea link. The field trials that took place between New York and Ireland reached a record spectral efficiency of 7.46b/s/Hz and increased the stated capacity of the system by almost 2.5 times. The test also included a successful 11,000km round-trip submarine transmission achieving a record spectral efficiency of 5.68b/s/Hz and a first demonstration of 200Gbps and 250Gbps wavelengths and 16-QAM modulation using a real-time coherent DSP. All of which are indicators of the potential to upgrade to 32Tbps per fibre in the future.

"This field trial with Nokia demonstrates that the scalable optical technology of PCS together with narrow linewidth laser sources can achieve capacities extremely close to the Shannon limit. This ensures that we are both maximising our investment in submarine cable systems, as well as continuing to drive the cost per bit of submarine transport lower," said Stephen Grubb, global optical network architect at Facebook.

2. Deutsche Telekom ICSS & Arbor Networks – DDoS

A state of-the-art IP transit security platform, available for Deutsche Telekom IP Transit customers. In short it ensures the continuous availability of your business by protecting against cybercrime. It offers a layered DDoS security strategy, effectively shielding you against DoS and DDoS attacks and defending you against spikes in traffic due to legitimate requests. It has managed security, through Deutsche Telekom’s network. A variety of mitigation and counter-measure options and the IP backbone security solutions eliminate breaches before they occur.

It operates using the highest security and reliability standards due to continuous analysis of IP flows and provides customers with detailed reporting and monitoring with anomaly detection alarms. In addition the technology is cost effective, transparent and user friendly.

3. Telefónica and Huawei – Cloud RAN-based 5G UCNC (user centric no cell) network  

Of great benefit to the end user, the Cloud RANTM-based UCNC with Hyper-Cell network architecture, enables the large-area coordination of many base station nodes to eliminate handovers between cells and reduce interference from adjacent cells. With Telefónica and Huawei successfully producing proof of concept, the number of 5G connections per cell increased by 233%, the signaling overhead decreased by 78%, and the latency decreased by 95% compared with state-of the-art LTE. In addition to the UCNC proof of concept tests, Huawei and Telefónica successfully demonstrated the mmWave multi-user MIMO technology based on 5G New Radio and massive MIMO TDD technology. 70Gbps cell throughput was reached by mmWave multi-user MIMO by delivering more than 35Gbps data rates to each user, which is 100 times faster than current LTE data rates.

4. Colt and Versa Networks – SD-WAN

Colt’s SD-WAN was awarded an Enterprise Service Innovation award in the Global Telecoms Business 2017 Telecoms Innovation Awards. This offering enables the internet to be used as a business network and an MPLS alternative for your network. All non-critical data is therefore offloaded to a secured internet tunnel, freeing up MPLS bandwidth for your business critical data, efficiently increasing the total bandwidth. It is protected with a Layer 3-7 next generation firewall on the CPE. It is delivered using publicly priced internet services, it offers network function virtualisation, speed deployment, control of traffic and greater agility. In short all configuration options can be managed by the customer, significantly reducing lead times and reducing network provider management complexity.


5. Nokia Networks and Starman – 10-gigabit residential European network

The 10-gigabit Ethernet Passive Optical Network (10G EPON) in Europe is a first of its kind, allowing Starman to cost-effectively deliver new ultra-broadband services to residential customers living in Estonia and meet growing customer demand for high-speed, high-quality voice, internet and cable services. Starman chose the Nokia 10G EPON solution as it’s the most economical and technologically flexible considering future industry trends. Furthermore, the solution supports DOCSIS provisioning over EPON (DPoE), which allows for a low-touch integration into the existing cable network and DOCSIS back-end systems. The solution also includes Nokia’s Optical Network Termination (ONT) devices, providing consumers with the latest generation gigabit Wi-Fi technology.

6. BT and Huawei – 13Tbps fibre

The new 'superchannel’ uses a single-carrier based technology solution to send vast amounts of data across over core fibre-optic networks. It’s a project that has been developed by BT in collaboration with industry partner Huawei and operates at 400Gbps per wavelength over a single fibre building on the previous 5.6Tbps speed record with potential to deliver up to 13Tbps, which is equivalent of downloading up to 500 HD films in a single second.

"The system is transmitting data at 6.25bps/Hz. Researchers are confident that speeds of more than 13Tbps can be achieved using the same amount of light spectrum as the previous record," said Professor Tim Whitley, BT’s MD of research and innovation.

7. Vodafone - massive MIMO and mini macro. 

Massive MIMO works on the premise of increasing the number of transmitters and receivers, which in turn increases sensitivity in the network, improves coverage in remote areas and ultimately the throughput. Standard MIMO technology used by competitors operates 4 transmit and 4 receive stream technology but thanks to Vodafone’s Massive MIMO technology, developed by Huawei, they are able to provide 64 transmit and 64 receive streams. "We know that our competitors are shouting about MIMO but they haven’t done much with it. If our competitors are as far behind us as that, then I don’t believe they are even looking at Massive MIMO yet," said Kye Prigg head of mobile networks at Vodafone UK.

The Mini Macro solution operates as a smaller condescended version of a typical base station. So all the components are essentially the same (radio kit, antenna etc), with the addition of Massive MIMO related hardware on a much smaller scale, currently just under 8 foot in height.. The simple and innovative design of the Mini Macros also makes it suitable for specific, low density, low coverage areas such rural villages, work or university campuses. 

8. Telus and Huawei – 5G wireless technology 

Telus and Huawei have successfully completed trials of 5G wireless technology using the global 3GPP standards platform. The pilot resulted in dramatically faster wireless speeds of up to 200 times faster than current LTE networks. But it also shows the potential for 5G technology to deliver Wireless-to-the-Premise connectivity as it has the speeds and reliability necessary to power the smart homes and businesses of the future. The network utilised equipment based on 3GPP 5G foundational technologies over a 28 GHz connection.

"This achievement is an important step forward in aligning our research efforts in 3GPP 5G standard with the practical application for building and deploying 3GPP unified 5G networks around the world" said Wen Tong, Huawei Fellow and chief technology officer of Huawei Wireless at the Canada Research Centre in Ottawa.

9. Axians and VINCI Energies – SD-WAN sat-nav

Axians UK and Vinci Energies have developed an innovative solution in the area of networking technology. Their SD-WAN (software

defined wide area network) technology is about making the best of the network we already have not making it bigger. "You can’t just keep building faster lines," says Russell Crampin, managing director of Axians UK and director of Vinci Energies.

This new SD-WAN technology sees the network as a road, not one that connects towns with cities, but data centres and headquarters to sites and devices. It creates smart motorways, by utilising the metaphoric hard shoulder and other under used capacity on other lines to pool data and reroute it. It scans and monitors the traffic, all in real time for increased performance and speed. It differs from traffic prioritisation because with SD-WAN all traffic is handled differently and assigned different levels of urgency. 

10. OneWeb – Low orbit satellites 

OneWeb plans to launch its first 10 production satellites "in early 2018", the beginning of the production of 720 satellites designed to provide global internet access. The company is building the satellites over four years in a new factory in Florida, which will be designed to complete 15 a week. Once completed the 125kg satellites will orbit only 1200km above the earth’s surface, reducing latency to a few milliseconds. 

Founder and chairman Greg Wyler says: "Six months later we will begin our full launch campaign and start providing low latency broadband access as early as 2019." The satellites will provide "boundless low latency broadband access will be available for homes, connected cars, trains, planes and cellular backhaul applications." 

Topics: Innovations, wholesale telecom, top ten innovations, Capacity media