Sunday, October 24, 2021

O-RAN Alliance advances Near-Real-Time and Non-Real Time RICs

The O-RAN Alliance released another set of nine technical specifications, including:

  • O-RAN Non-Real-Time RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) Architecture
  • Near-Real-Time RIC and E2 Interface: Use Cases and Requirements v1.0
  • O-RAN E2 Service Model: RAN Control (E2SM-RC) v1.0
  • O-RAN O1 Interface specification for O-CU-UP and O-CU-CP towards the Service Management and Orchestration (SMO) framework
  • O-RAN Acceleration Abstraction Layer FEC Profiles
  • Infrastructure management services of the O2 interface
  • O-Cloud Notification API Specification for Event Consumers
  • O-RAN Xhaul Transport Testing Specification
  • O-RAN Security Requirements Specifications

The O-RAN Architecture has been extended with the Non-RT RIC and corresponding rApps, R1 interface, Non-RT RIC framework and SMO framework. There is a new concept of ‘anchored’ vs. ‘non-anchored’ functionality within the SMO and Non-RT RIC frameworks. The functionality of O-RAN Slicing has been elaborated with use cases, requirements and architecture. This includes addition of O-NSSI (O-RAN Network Slice Subnet Instance) modification procedure and the Annex on transport network slicing use cases and roadmap.

Another 39 technical documents bring extensions and new features to the existing specifications. 

A total of 77 companies have been participating in an O-RAN plugfest underway since summer 2021. 

In addition, 18 demos of O-RAN technology are planned for this week's MWC Los Angeles 2021.  These include:

Parallel Wireless demonstrates its Open RAN, ALL G - 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G, O-RAN compliant software platform showcasing an open, secure, and intelligent RAN architecture to deliver wireless connectivity, enabling people to be connected whenever, wherever, and however they choose. Visit the demo at South 2505Ex.

VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN, powered by Dell EMC PowerEdge server and Intel FlexRAN, delivers flexibility to open RAN. The demo showcases the platform’s horizontal design and automation capabilities with 3 simple steps to deploy and programmatically provision the platform with Kubernetes to run Altiostar’s vRAN functions. Visit the demo at Booth 1210.

VMware demonstrates the power of VMware RIC SDKs, enabling its partners to accelerate the development of their xApp/rApp; creating a vibrant application ecosystem. We bring the intelligence and innovation to the RAN faster. Visit the demo at Booth 1210.

Northeastern University showcases how Colosseum can be used to (i) instantiate a fully programmable end-to-end network controlled by O-RAN-compliant near-real-time RIC; (ii) collect performance datasets from the RAN, and (iii) implement AI-based control of the RAN through xApps and programmable software stacks. Visit the demo at Booth 1444.

Cohere Technologies and VMware demonstrate how Cohere’s 5G MU-MIMO Spectrum Multiplier xApp running on VMware RIC controls multiple UEs simultaneously in the same time and frequency slots to drastically boost capacity. Visit us to learn how we successfully demonstrated these technologies to a major European operator. Visit the demo at Booth 1210.

Telstra and Australian government to acquire Digicel Pacific

Telstra, in partnership with the Australian government, reached a deal to acquire the Digicel business in the South Pacific region for US$1.6 billion, plus up to an additional US$250 million subject to business performance over the next three years.

The Digicel business will be owned and operated by Telstra. Telstra is contributing US$270 million of equity to the US$1.6 billion purchase price and the Australian Government, through Export Finance Australia, is providing the remaining US$1.33 billion through a combination of non-recourse debt facilities and equity like securities. Telstra will own 100 per cent of the ordinary equity.

Digicel currently operates in six markets in the South Pacific including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga and Nauru. It recorded sales of approximately US$450 million and adjusted EBITDA of approximately US$222 million in the year ended March 31, 2021. Following the sale, Digicel, which is privately owned by Irish businessman Denis O’Brien, will focus on the 26 Caribbean & Latin American markets where it also operates.

“Digicel Pacific is a commercially attractive asset and critical to telecommunications in the region. The Australian Government is strongly committed to supporting quality private sector investment infrastructure in the Pacific region. We previously said that if Telstra were to proceed with a transaction it would be with financial and strategic risk management support from the Government. We also said that in addition to a Government funding and support package, any investment would also have to be within certain financial parameters with Telstra’s equity investment being the minor portion of the overall transaction. I am pleased that we have been able to achieve both of those outcomes,” said Andrew Penn, CEO of Telstra.

“Digicel enjoys a strong market position in the South Pacific region holding a strong number one position in all markets other than Fiji where it is the number two. The combined business generated EBITDA of US$233 million for the financial year ended 31 March 2021, with a strong margin. Digicel Pacific has already invested significant capital in PNG, which is its largest market, to achieve extensive network coverage including 4G to 55 per cent of the population. The medium to long-term capex to sales is expected to be around 15 per cent,” said Mr Penn.

Commenting, Denis O’Brien, Digicel Founder and Chairman said: “Today’s announcement is a tremendous testament to our colleagues across Digicel Group and in particular, our 1,700 staff in the Pacific. In 2006, we established a business in the South Pacific region that has helped democratise mobile communications and transform local economies and societies by making affordable best-in-class communications available to more than 10 million people across six of the most exciting markets in the South Pacific region. I am very pleased that today’s agreement with Telstra, our very near neighbour in the Pacific, will further enhance DPL’s infrastructure, data and call termination links with one of the largest and most reliable networks in Australia. I thank all of our colleagues in the South Pacific and beyond who have made today possible and I remain committed to ensuring a successful transition in my ongoing role as a director of the newly formed holding company for DPL.

Anello raises $28M for silicon photonic optical gyroscope

Anello Photonics, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California, announced $28 million in Series A funding for its Silicon Photonic Optical Gyroscope (SiPhOG) sensor technology.

Anello says its novel SiPhOG replaces the discrete optical components of a traditional Fiber Optic Gyroscope (FOG) and combines high precision with greatly reduced size, weight, power and cost. The technology combines an Anello-developed on-chip waveguide manufacturing process integrated with a patented silicon photonic chip-scale gyroscope. 

Applications for the SiPhOG sensor technology could include automotive, trucking, construction, drone, aerospace, defense and consumer electronics.   

The Series A funding was led by New Legacy Ventures and included investments from Lockheed Martin Ventures, Catapult Ventures, JS Capital, Hardware Club, and individual investments from several Silicon Valley luminaries.

"With the development of the SiPhOG we are going to change the Navigation industry," says Mario Paniccia, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Anello. "We are bringing all the benefits of optical gyro performance onto an integrated silicon photonic circuit platform."

"By providing an independent and accurate ground truth of vehicle position, Anello's sensor and IMU system improves the reliability of Autonomous Vehicle localization while reducing the vulnerability to cyber-security threats and environmental interference common to other localization sensors," says Mike Horton, Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder of Anello.

Taiwan Mobile deploys 5G standalone core with Nokia

Taiwan Mobile Co. has deployed Nokia's 5G standalone core. The installation includes Nokia’s voice core, cloud packet core, subscriber data management, signaling, network exposure, policy controller, cloud infrastructure, and security management for radio transport. 

The 5G standalone core network enables Taiwan Mobile to provide advanced 5G services such as network slicing and smart city solutions that require ultra-low latency and reliability.

Nokia is already the sole supplier of Taiwan Mobile’s 5G network.

Tom Koh, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Technology Group, Taiwan Mobile, said: “Introducing SA to unleash the full potential of 5G beyond high-speed to further realize innovative use cases enabled by ultra-low latency and massive IoT is our strategic mission in the 5G era. We are delighted to reach this milestone with Nokia to bring the first true 5G network into Taiwan. Owning the agility of network slicing to swiftly customize the network for accommodating different use cases, Taiwan Mobile will be able to accelerate time-to-market to provide a wide variety of services for everyone and everything and to free enterprises to embrace Industry 4.0.”

Swiss operator Sunrise UPC consolidates OSS with Nokia

Sunrise UPC Communications AG has deployed Nokia’s Digital Operations software to modernize and consolidate its Operations Support Systems (OSS) for existing services and new IoT and 5G-era services, like network slicing.

Nokia claims Digital Operations software provides Sunrise UPC with an Open API catalog-driven fulfillment solution that eliminates silo-based network management and enables agile product launches by leveraging 5G and IoT technology to reduce time-to-market by up to 50 percent.

Working in tandem with Nokia’s Converged Charging software, Sunrise UPC and Nokia are utilizing joint continuous integration or continuous delivery (CICD) deployment and testing framework to further increase productivity and prepare for future IoT and 5G services.

Nokia’s fulfillment solution modernizes OSS catalog, inventory, order management and provisioning, with pre-integrated processes for end-to-end automation. 

Fabio Pellegrino, VP, IT Platform Delivery at Sunrise UPC, said: “Nokia’s OSS solution eliminates silos within our network to greatly increase the speed at which we can deploy new IoT and 5G services. We look forward to the increased flexibility this solution provides as we move into the 5G-era.”

Lumentum offers 10W illuminator based on VCSEL array

Lumentum announced a 10 W flood illuminator module that incorporates a high-performance three-junction vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) array for consumer and industrial 3D sensing applications.

VCSEL illuminators are increasingly being used in a variety of high-performance 3D sensing applications ranging from biometric security in mobile phones to emerging industrial and consumer AIoT (artificial intelligence of things). AIoT, the convergence of artificial intelligence and the internet of things, benefits from 3D sensing since it is dependent on capturing vast amounts of high-quality data to enable efficient artificial intelligence processing. 

Lumentum's new 10 W flood illuminator leverages the company's decades of experience in providing high performance and field-proven VCSELs to the market in high-volumes, including shipping more than one billion VCSEL arrays into 3D sensing applications. The flood illuminator is available in a compact standard surface-mount package with a built-in eye safety function. It integrates a three-junction VCSEL array, an optical diffuser, a ceramic substrate, and a photodiode, which enables closed loop control.

SES-17 Ka-band satellite successfully launched

The SES-17 satellite was successfully launched onboard an Ariane 5 launcher operated by Arianespace from the Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

From its orbital slot of 67.1 degrees West orbital slot, the very high throughput geostationary (GEO) SES-17 Ka-band satellite offers nearly 200 user beams that can be connected to any other beam at any time across the Americas, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean. The satellite is capable of dynamically changing the power and frequency allocation of any beam. It is also the first GEO satellite to use Adaptive Resource Control (ARC), an industry-first software system that leverages the full flexibility of totally digital payloads to autonomously adapt space and ground resources on the fly to meet customer needs.

Equipped with an all-electric propulsion system, the satellite will reach orbit as of mid-2022. When operational, anchor customer Thales InFlyt Experience will use SES-17’s connectivity to power its next-generation aviation connectivity solution, FlytLIVE. 

“Today’s launch of SES-17 is an exciting milestone for our FlytLIVE Connectivity Solution currently flying within the United States,” said Craig Olson, Vice President at Thales InFlyt Experience. “The network and satellite architecture was specifically developed for the unique connectivity requirements of our commercial aviation customers and their passengers. With SES-17, FlytLIVE will provide full coverage for the entire Americas and North Atlantic Corridor delivering an unmatched connectivity experience in the air.”

“We are immensely excited to have SES-17 join our GEO fleet and medium earth orbit (MEO) constellation. SES-17 is the fruit of a successful collaboration between the Thales Group, Thales Alenia Space and SES, and will enable us to address the exponential connectivity demands in aviation and maritime, and to accelerate digital inclusion initiatives across the Americas,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES. “Thanks to Arianespace, SES-17 is now on its way to orbit. We are looking forward to SES customers being able to leverage the high throughput, global reach and low-latency of SES’s multi-orbit, interoperable Ka-band satellite network comprising SES-17 and our upcoming O3b mPOWER constellation.”

China Telecom chalks up 12.5% revenue growth over last year

 For the first three quarters of 2021, China Telecom reported operating revenues of RMB329,241 million, representing an increase of 12.5% over the same period of last year, of which service revenue were RMB304,271 million, representing an increase of 8.3% over the sameperiod of last year. The profit attributable to equity holders of the company wascRMB23,327 million, representing an increase of 24.7% over the same period of last year and an increase of 17.1% over the same period of last year excluding the one-off after-tax gain from the disposals of E-surfing Pay Co. Ltd and China Telecom Leasing Corporation Limited of RMB1,416 million.

As of September 2021, China Telecom was serving approximately 370 million mobile subscribers, a net addition of 18.64 million. The number of 5G package subscribers reached approximately 156 million with a net addition of 69.04 million, while the penetration rate reached 42.1%. The total handset data traffic increased by 39.3% year-on-year, and mobile ARPU amounted to RMB45.4, which continued to increase over the same period of last year.