ABI Research has ranked Nokia Siemens Networks at the top in its macro base station vendor competitive assessment for its performance in innovation and implementation. But Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei were not far behind.
“The macro base station market is hyper competitive and we noticed a high level of innovation from all vendors, coupled with real and significant achievements as the vendors equip and modernize the world’s mobile networks as they continue to build out for coverage and transition to the latest 4G protocols and distributed architectures,” said Nick Marshall, principal analyst at ABI Research.
The subjective assessment by ABI graded the major base station manufacturers in terms of criteria under two major categories: innovation and implementation. Criteria determining innovation included R&D investment, essential intellectual property, advanced feature road map, small cell/hetnet development, and multi-protocol support. Under the category of implementation ABI looked at market share, geographical penetration, financial and organizational health, LTE RAN contracts, major customer wins and vendor portfolio.
In particular, NSN gained best-in-class scores in the essential IP, advanced features road map, and multi-protocol support categories and LTE RAN contracts.
In terms of innovation, NSN’s Smart Scheduler, which is responsible for efficient interference mitigation and QoS assurance, drew the attention of ABI. Technologies like the Smart Scheduler will give systems the ability to handle voice over LTE traffic.
“The Smart Scheduler uses fast-frequency selective (uplink and downlink) distributed scheduling for guaranteed bit rate and latency with minimum fading and maximum uplink interference mitigation,” Marshall said. “The Smart Scheduler capability enables superior network quality and a significant reduction in costs by enabling a higher number of simultaneous subscribers in a given site.”
Both Ericsson and NSN are providing base station infrastructure for T-Mobile’s LTE Advanced ready system deployment, which has been getting a lot of press for potentially being able to deliver 150 Mpbs over a 40-megahertz swath of spectrum. To get the speed and maintain the signal-to-noise ratio, the specifications for LTE-Advanced call for advanced antenna technology, while the base station must have the computing power to handle the data.
“[T-Mobile’s network] is going to be super-fast, because it bought the latest [LTE-Advanced-ready] gear from NSN with two-by-two MIMO and four-by-four MIMO [antennas]. It’s helping them achieve some pretty good performance figures,” Marshall said.
Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent Also Receive Accolades
NSN had company in ABI Research’s competitive assessment, which ranked Alcatel-Lucent as the most innovative vendor with three best–in-class scores for innovation in the areas of R&D investment and commitment, small cell and hetnet development and TCO innovation. Ericsson achieved first in the implementation category with the most LTE contracts and subscriber potential among the vendors from networks equipped by Ericsson. Huawei also ranked among the leaders.
Samsung is the rising star in base stations, according Marshall, with increasing market share and a growing number of LTE contracts with carriers, such as Sprint and MetroPCS and several in the U.K. and Ireland. Additionally, Samsung has entered the small cell arena with contracts with Sprint and KDDI in Japan.
“Samsung has a huge R&D staff. They can pull on all sorts of resources to do this,” Marshall said. “I can see them moving into position as a base station power some day.”
Huawei has announced a string of new products under its SDN-based mobile backhaul solution LTEHaul. The product releases are an important milestone for the development of mobile backhaul solutions as well as a milestone for SDN innovation in carrier IP networks. Huawei supports software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities through the release of its CX600 series aggregation router, its ATN910 series cell site router (CSR) and U2000 network management system (NMS).
Based on these products, the SDN-based mobile backhaul solution effectively provides plug-and-play, auto service provisioning, smart traffic steering and auto troubleshooting capabilities for a large number of cell site routers. Early tests have shown promising results with service provisioning efficiency improvements of 85 percent and over 50 percent reduction in network alarms.
As a result of the exponential growth of mobile broadband, current mobile backhaul networks face many challenges, including complex O&M for the massive scale of cell sites, time-consuming service provisioning and inefficient network utilization. The SDN-based mobile backhaul solution is well positioned to address these challenges, and it’s the outcome of a joint innovation project between Huawei and the China Telecom Guangzhou Institute.
The SDN-based mobile backhaul solution is based on existing network hardware while new SDN features can be enabled through software upgrades; both leveraging and protecting existing customer investments by maximizing existing resources. This solution supports star and ring topologies, further protecting investments in existing deployment topologies and offering flexibility for new deployments.
Huawei has been proactively participating in international SDN standardization efforts, including the Open Networking Foundation in collaboration with stakeholders such as operators, equipment manufacturers and research institutions, to promote the application of SDN in end-to-end networks.
Huawei’s new products for its LTEHaul solution, its software-defined-networking (SDN)-based mobile backhaul solution are supported in its CX600 series aggregation router, ATN910 series cell site router (CSR), and U2000 network management system (NMS). The SDN features can support several cell site routers (ATN910 series), which can be managed as a virtual cluster by centralized SDN controllers embedded in the aggregation routers (CX600 series). It also comes with a U2000 system, which provides a graphical user interfaced (GUI)-based unified NMS for the cell site and aggregation routers. www.huawei
Huawei’s ATN 905, an LTE small-cell router, helps small base stations obtain high-rate media access across a variety of scenarios, allowing operators to extend their backhaul network coverage. The router helps meet these challenges because it’s suitable for indoor and outdoor use and can be installed in a variety of environments. It supports any media access, including Fiber, GPON and xDSL, to offer additional resources for the existing network. The router supplies power through Ethernet ports to overcome the issues associated with powering small base stations and supports plug-and-play and remote service deployment to ease operation. The router can provide an end-to-end IP RAN mobile backhaul solution with existing ATN products. With its rich clock features and complete protection schemes, the router also supports the customized requirements of service transmission on small stations. www.huawei.com
BTI Systems’ market position in the global packet optical networking systems market has increased, according to a report by ACG Research, “Optical Networking 1Q 2012 Worldwide.” According to BTI, the report indicates that the company has passed Huawei in the packet optical transport market share and is gaining on Ciena.
BTI additionally announced an increase of more than 85 percent of new mobile backhaul customers across North America and APAC. According to the company, the growth reflects the strong demand by metro service providers to keep pace with customer demand for mobile services.
“A significant portion of the ‘action’ in service provider networks is taking place at the edge as it is where the value-add service opportunities lie,” said Steve Waszak, president and CEO of BTI Systems, in a company statement. “Significant drivers, including the explosive growth in tablet devices, demand for OTT video and the move by enterprises to cloud services are fueling new customer opportunities for BTI. We are poised to leverage these trends, and this new ACG report confirms that we are making strong progress in the packet optical networking market.”