Sunday, March 22, 2020

Nokia: Unprecedented spike in global internet traffic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, networks are experiencing unprecedented growth (in a very short time) in global internet traffic and so far networks appear to be meeting demand, according to analysis from Nokia. In particular, there is a surge in traffic from latency-sensitive applications during business hours.

Data from several networks in Western Europe from the week of March 9th seems to indicate that the edge and peering links of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) have enough headroom, but the aggregation networks and service edge router may be reaching capacity maximums.

Here are some highlights of the Nokia findings:

  • During the first day of the period, the overall traffic rose anywhere between 30% (5 p.m.) and 80% (9 a.m.), with boosts between 50% and 70% for most of the day. 
  • WhatsApp, exhibited an increase of 117–217% during the first day of the period, with apparent spikes in the morning hours on the first day of the school lockdown.
  • Netflix traffic showed that people started streaming earlier in the day (morning hours and early afternoon hours). While the evening traffic volumes remained within a +20% range compared to typical values, the overall increase of traffic during the day ranged from 97% (morning) to 27%–42% (early afternoon), significantly contributing to the total network traffic.
  • In the U.S., there has been a 300% growth in teleconferencing apps (e.g., Zoom, Skype), and a 400% growth in gaming (with kids being at home!)

China Mobile reports a drop of 8 million mobile users

China Mobile posted operating metrics that show a drop of 8.1 million mobile customers during the first two months of 2020. As of the end of December 2019, China Mobile hit a peak of 950, 277,000 mobile customers, and at the end of February, it had 942,261,000.  The figure includes a drop in 4G customers and a gain in 5G customers. As of the end of February 2020, China Mobile had 15.40 million 5G customers

On March 19, China Mobile reported operating revenue of RMB745.9 billion for the 2019 financial year, up by 1.2% compared to last year. Of this, telecommunications services revenue amounted to RMB674.4 billion, or growth of 0.5% year-on-year. EBITDA was RMB296.0 billion, up by 7.4% from last year. EBITDA margin was 39.7%, up by 2.3 percentage points compared to the previous year.

Some highlights for 2019:
  • Handset data traffic increased by 90.3% year-on-year and DOU (the average handset data traffic per user per month) was 6.7 GB. 
  • Mobile ARPU (average revenue per user per month) of RMB49.1 
  • The number of household broadband customers increased by 17.1% year-on-year and reached 172 million.
  • The company activated more than 50,000 5G base stations and launched 5G commercial services in 50 cities. 
  • As of year-end, China Mobile had 3.09 million 4G base stations in operation
Mr. Yang Jie, Chairman of China Mobile, issued the following statement: "We were faced with a challenging and complicated operating environment in 2019 where the upside of data traffic was rapidly diminishing and competition within the telecommunications industry and from cross-sector players was becoming ever more intense. Coupled with this was the impact of government policies, including the continued implementation of the “speed upgrade and tariff reduction”..."

"In 2020, we will strive to overcome the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on business development and 5G network construction. The epidemic has bolstered the growing trend of businesses and customers going online and using more digital and cloud-based services, among other opportunities arisen. We will leverage these opportunities, as well as the 5G network to further develop the information and communications services market. With concerted efforts, we will strive to maintain growth in telecommunications services revenue and a stable level of net profit. We will also strive to maintain an industry-leading customer satisfaction."

For 2020, China Mobile will increase CAPEX to RMB 179.8 billion, up from RMB 165.9 million in 2019. The company plans to deploy 250,000 new 5G base stations this year.

China Telecom posts a loss of 5.6 million mobile users

China Telecom reported 330,400,000 million mobile subscribers as of February 2020, down by 5.6 million in February.  In January, the company added 430,000 mobile users.

In fixed broadband, China Telecom reported 151,880,000 million customers as of the end of February, down by 1.25 million in the first two months of the year

China Unicom lost 1.1 million mobile users in January

China Unicom reported 317,289,000 mobile subscribers as of the end of January 2020, down by 1,186,000 since the end of December.

Fixed broadband customers were 84,096,000, up by 618,000 in January.

Figures for February have not yet been posted.

Korea's LG Uplus deploys Nokia for 5G IP transport

Korean operator LG Uplus selected Nokia to upgrade and automate its IP transport and core networks for 5G.

Nokia deployed its Network Service Platform (NSP) solution to help LG Uplus automate network operations and ease integration with their Nokia FP4-based IP routers and multiple vendor platforms to accelerate 5G services rollout.

Songchul Park, Head of NW Tech Operation Group, LG Uplus, said: “LG Uplus provides differentiated services from competitors from sports and entertainment to games and life through 5G ultra-realistic service that changes our daily life. It was possible because the networks with low-latency, real-time network management, and automation functions strongly demanded by 5G could be deployed with Nokia in a timely manner. It is expected that Nokia solutions will continue to provide high-quality services with next-generation network technologies in line with the era of AI. LG Uplus will keep working with Nokia to meet customer service through more reliable partnerships.”

Kevin Ahn, Head of Korea at Nokia, said: “Nokia’s solution, combining our IP routers with our SDN slicing controller, is the foundation of building a robust 5G transport network that in turn is a key enabler of 5G service delivery. As telcos like LG Uplus seek to prepare their networks for 5G and handle the increase in capacity and complexity that comes along with it, we are a natural choice to streamline their operations and enhance network performance."

Volta Networks joins TIP's Disaggregated Open Routers initiative

Volta Networks announced its support for the Telecom Infra Project’s (TIP) Disaggregated Open Routers (DOR) initiative, which is being led by TIP’s Open Optical & Packet Transport (OOPT) Project Group. Volta will also join the DOR project team, which is driving research into new network architectures and services using disaggregated open routing among the global service provider and vendor community.

TIP's OOPT project group is conducting an initiative focused on developing Disaggregated Open Routers (DOR), led by KDDI and Vodafone. Several OOPT technology providers are also supporting this initiative.

Volta, a start-up based in Cambridge, MA, was co-founded by Dean Bogdanovic, a long time networking veteran and former Distinguished Engineer at Juniper Networks, and Ivo Raznjevic.

In 2019, Volta was selected as a finalist for several independent Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway (DCSG) request for information processes executed by service providers. These were based on the specification which defines open and disaggregated white box cell site gateway devices that operators can deploy in their 2G/3G/4G cell sites, as well as in upcoming 5G deployments, with support for Layer 2, Layer 3 and MPLS features. The DCSG finalists were selected based on solution architecture, functionality, scalability, availability and roadmap.

“As the first company with cloud-native virtual routing software, we believe strongly in having open standards for disaggregated routing, which is better for everyone in the ecosystem – service providers and vendors alike,” said Dean Bogdanovic, Co-Founder and CEO, Volta Networks. “Being part of TIP’s DOR project team reflects our commitment to open standards, multi-vendor interoperability and technical innovations in the routing market. Open networking will continue to be important as service providers look for new ways to improve the scale, performance, automation and economics of their networks.”

Zain picks Huawei for SRv6-based IP transport network

Zain Group has selected Huawei to build a 5G and cloud-oriented, intelligent SRv6-based IP transport network.

Zain Group, which serves some 49.5 million mobile users across the Middle East and Africa, is currently carrying an average of 10,500 TB data per day across its footprint.

Huawei said SRv6 brings simplified network protocols, flexible programmability, slicing, simplified inter-domain transmission, and seamless support for IPv4/IPv6 services. In this way, the best-effort IP network will become an intelligent 5G transport network that can support committed SLA, meeting the most demanding service scenarios such as URLLC and VIP private lines. Zain also regards the slicing technology as one of the key capabilities for building intelligent IP networks, and plans to, in cooperation with Huawei, start the SRv6-based E2E slicing POC test in the near future. The test will confirm the feasibility and business value of the solution from the aspects of planning, design, deployment, and maintenance of network slicing, laying a foundation for further usage.

Mohammed Al Murshed, Core Networks Director, Zain Group, said "Ensuring that our users enjoy an excellent mobile experience on our state-of-the-art networks is key for Zain. SRv6, as a next-generation IP network protocol, is simpler and more suitable for building intelligent IP networks. Zain plans to deploy SRv6 and slicing ready IP networks in multiple regions in 2020, and works with Huawei to build intelligent IP networks featuring ultra broadband, committed SLA, and autonomous driving function.”

China Unicom deploys 5G LampSite indoor small cell with Huawei

China Unicom Beijing has deployed Huawei's 5G LampSite 300 MHz digital indoor system at the Beijing Long Distance Call Building. The system supports network sharing between China Unicom Beijing and China Telecom Beijing and provides a downlink perceived rate of up to 3.4 Gbps over a single headend in multi-user scenarios.

The companies said the installation marks an excellent start for the "5G Capital" innovation project between China Unicom Beijing and Huawei and also the first joint accomplishment of the 2020 "5G City" series city projects. It represents a new, significant breakthrough for China Unicom Beijing following its successful launch of the "5G NEXT" initiative in 2018.

The 5G LampSite module allows for an ultra-bandwidth of 300 MHz between the 3.3 and 3.6 GHz spectrum of the C-band and 4T4R multi-antenna technology.

Nokia intros Wi-Fi 6 mesh router

Nokia introduced its Wi-Fi 6 Beacon mesh router for whole-home WiFi connectivity.

The Beacon 6 is the first Nokia WiFi device to showcase:

  • Support for Wi-Fi 6 which improves the overall speed, performance and latency of a Wi-Fi network with OFDMA2, a modulation scheme used in 5G that allows the access point to talk to more devices at once. 
  • The Beacon 6 introduces Wi-Fi Certified EasyMesh3 and is fully interoperable with 3rd party Wi-Fi Certified EasyMesh products for easy install. Nokia’s new mesh controller capabilities ensure the best Wi-Fi performance is achieved in the home by managing channel selection and adding advanced interference capabilities that are unique in the market.
  • Nokia Bell Labs low-latency innovations including PI24 algorithm (available 2H20) that consistently improves latency even in congested environments. With PI2, latency is reduced from hundreds of milliseconds to 20 milliseconds which can be further reduced to <5 and="" applications="" being="" bell="" builds="" by="" can="" core="" currently="" delays="" eliminate="" experience="" gaming="" ietf5="" impact="" in="" innovations="" is="" jitters="" l4s="" labs="" li="" like="" low-latency="" milliseconds="" network.="" on="" paired="" reality.="" standardized="" that="" the="" user="" virtual="" when="" with="">
“Nokia’s new Beacon 6 will play a fundamental role in helping operators significantly enhance residential Wi-Fi and for the first time, deliver a true 5G experience across the network,” said Sandra Motley, President of Fixed Networks at Nokia.

Cisco donates cash and products to support COVID-19 responders

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins announced plans to donate $8 million in cash and $210 million in product to the global coronavirus response, including to the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, supporting the World Health Organization. In addition, the Cisco Foundation has launched a campaign allocating up to $5 million in grants and matching funds to non-profits assisting in the response.