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MWC mid-week round-up

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Mobile World Congress

Mobile World Congress is underway in Barcelona – taking place live for the first time since 2019. Here are some highlights from the first days of the show.

Console Connect showcases future of IoT connectivity

Console Connect took the collaborative approach to showcasing the future of IoT connectivity at MWC alongside nine members of its IoT Ecosystem Partnership Program.

Using a GSMA-compliant SIM and Console Connect’s Software Defined Interconnection platform, the nine members demonstrated their IoT use cases for such industries as logistics, telecoms and consumer electronics, as well as big data analytics services. Console Connect allows the member firms to scale IoT connectivity to reach 180 countries worldwide.

Craig Price, SVP of mobility products and marketing, PCCW Global, said: “Console Connect is excited to be co-exhibiting with a wide variety of technology partners at this year’s Mobile World Congress. Through the Console Connect Software Defined Interconnection® platform, we are providing partners with truly global and automated IoT connectivity that is empowering them to push the boundaries of what’s possible with IoT.”

The members were named as: AlarmSecur.Com; Blue Wireless; Cypod Solutions; igloocompany; Hongdian Corporation; Lynx Analytics; myFirst; Xirgo/Sensata and Nayar Systems.

Enea claims industry first with Smart IP for MNOs

Enea has a solution that makes networks process data in a smarter way while cutting the cost of load balancing, while handling 5G’s high throughput rates and traffic volumes.

Described as an industry first, Smart IP is a virtual load balancer (vLB) that scales horizontally at 200 Gbps per instance and simplifies routing.

On the routing, it exposes a single virtual IP address to forward traffic to and from user plane services and applications distributed across multiple servers or instances. In this way, network elements such as access routers that send traffic to the load-balanced applications can use a single route to forward and receive traffic, drastically simplifying operation and scaling.

The vLB is built on top of Enea’s proprietary VPP-based (Vector Packet Processing) traffic engine to eliminate traditional software-based packet handling challenges. Packets are handled through a single function that performs inspection, classification, and orchestration enforcement. Enea Openwave’s traffic engine also enables vLB to deliver unprecedented performance in a software-based load balancer: i.e 200 Gbps on a single virtual instance.

Roland Steiner, SVP for telecoms at Enea said: “Most operators have a limited number of routers. And they face a significant operational cost to manage firewall, traffic management, monetisation and regulatory applications that can sometimes be distributed across 60 to 80 servers with multiple IP addresses. Smart IP frees operators from this complexity and cuts the cost of load balancing with unprecedented scalability. We are making networks process data in a smarter way.”

Network modernisation on show with VMWare

VMWare has been busy showcasing a series of products and partnerships around modern apps, RAN, and the edge.

Safaricom is using VMWare's telco cloud platform for its greenfield network in Ethiopia. Millicom is working with VMware to unify siloed networks and begin the transition to virtualised and containerised network functions and Vodafone has completed a proof-of-concept designed to enable more efficient use of spectrum.

This saw Vodafone run Cohere Technologies' Spectrum Multiplier, on VMware RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) connected to a Capgemini 5G RAN. Vodafone said its 5G spectral efficiency – and effectively cell site capacity – doubled.

“As telcos build 5G networks around the world, they are creating new services that will change the way we work and live,” said Sanjay Uppal, SVP and GM, service provider and edge, VMware.

“VMware’s multi-cloud approach sets our customers apart during this once-in-a-generation shift. It helps them innovate—from the core and the RAN to the edge and cloud—and deliver advanced services to move their business forward.”

Elsewhere on the show floor, HCL is expanding its Cloud Smart portfolio of services, based on VMware technology, to include support for VMware Telco Cloud – 5G Core and VMware Telco Cloud RAN. In addition, HCL will set up a dedicated lab to streamline the deployment of these solutions across customers’ networks.

STC looks to new enterprise business opportunities

For Saudi Arabia's STC, MWC was the place to showcase new revenue streams and business development opportunities.

Focusing on the runaway capacity requirements of major enterprises, STC presented its "success story as a pioneer in the journey of digital empowerment and the future of communication". It included industrial IoT and 5G applications for logistics and sport, among other areas.

For example, 5G technologies that link ports to the network in order to improve operations, use efficiency and automation, and raise commercial operations that operate sea freight.

Elsewhere, data centres were a massive focus for STC, which has 125MW under development.

The real showstopper, however, was the advanced technologies featured at STC's pavilion, such as: Human Robot technology, which is used to help humans in industries, and a presentation of digital studio technology that goes in line with the great development in the fields of entertainment; and sports and events enriching the technology-enhanced experience.

Vodafone CEO and CTO address delegates, set OpenRAN target

Addressing delegates, Vodafone Group CTO Johan Wibergh said on day one that Vodafone will use OpenRAN technology in 30% of its masts across Europe by 2030.

Around 30,000 sites across Europe will eventually use OpenRAN, he said, with rural areas the first to benefit from the new 4G and 5G masts that use the more flexible radio technology.

When the roll-out reaches cities, the equipment from any existing 5G masts being replaced will then be reused elsewhere to reduce unnecessary wastage, he said.

Also talking at the event, group CEO Nick Read addressed attendees in a keynote, during which he highlighted the challenges and opportunities facing the mobile industry.

He said: "Put simply - digital is becoming make or break."

He concluded: "Vodafone is committed to the long-term success of Europe and Africa. We will play our part to demonstrate leadership in our sector - as genuine partners. To our competitors, strategic partners, governments, and regulators - we ask you to lean in - together we can enable a digital Europe and Africa, that is truly competitive for the future."

Truphone and Skylo erase lines between cellular and satellite

Truphone and Skylo are claiming a world first after they linked existing cellular devices with satellites, to enable seamless switching between satellite and cellular networks without special hardware.

Described by the two as a major breakthrough in combining terrestrial and satellite connectivity, they said it "moves communication technology closer to delivering on the promise of truly ubiquitous global connectivity". 

Parthsarathi Trivedi, Skylo’s co-founder and CEO said: “Skylo has pioneered several firsts in blurring the line between cellular and satellite. [This] announcement almost completely erases that line, which will generate a series of unprecedented connectivity experiences for consumers and enterprises alike”, said Trivedi. “Skylo has successfully collaborated with multiple Tier-1 cellular chipset makers and is engaged with the world’s top device makers including smartphones, wearable devices, outdoor and recreation products, asset trackers and sensors that could soon feature this seamless and ubiquitous connectivity all at single digit dollars per month.”

In a demonstration, Truphone subscriber devices were successfully able to connect and transmit data to and from Skylo’s satellite network (over existing geostationary satellites as far as 36,000 km in space), as if it was an ordinary terrestrial mobile network. The results prove that ordinary narrow-band cellular devices can connect reliably without the need for any hardware modifications.

Skylo’s 3GPP standardised NTN base-station technology and core network, combined with Truphone’s MVNO capabilities have resulted in a new capability where end customer devices seamlessly switch over to a satellite network when they’re out of terrestrial coverage.

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