Axiata, Deutsche Telekom, MTN, Telefónica and TIM Brasil Evaluate Industry Readiness for Disaggregated and Open Wireless Backhaul Architecture
Axiata, Deutsche Telekom, MTN, Telefónica, and TIM Brasil have been coordinating a joint RFI to assess the global technology landscape for building the first-in-the-world service providers-driven Open and Disaggregated wireless backhaul solutions as a part of the Telecom Infra Project’s Wireless Backhaul Project Group (WBH PG). The industry’s leading hardware and software technology providers have been asked to participate in the RFI, share information on their current technical capabilities, and supported features to measure the level of compliance and their plans to build solutions that fulfill the OpenSoftHaul (OSH) technical requirements developed in TIP.
“The Wireless Backhaul Project Group is a multi-operator led program. By having worked together since the ideation phase, we decided to execute a joint RFI to maximize the demand signal to the industry and the technology makers to accelerate innovation with solutions that will promote deployment flexibility and will lead the way in automation and operational efficiency,” said Dimitris Siomos, Principal Network Expert at Deutsche Telekom Group.
Multiple technology providers have answered the RFI, focusing on one or multiple components of the wireless backhaul system and have gone through a detailed technical evaluation with the operators of all RFI answers based on the following criteria: solution architecture, openness, functionality, scalability, availability & solution roadmap.
Following the technical evaluation, the operators have identified the following best positioned suppliers (in no particular order) :
- For HW ODU : Aviat Networks, Ceragon, Intracom Telecom & SIAE Microelectronica
- For HW IDU : Alpha Networks, Ceragon, Delta, Edgecore Networks & UfiSpace
- For NOS SW : Aviat Networks, Ceragon, Adva Optical Networking, IP Infusion, Altran, Exaware & Infinera
“We are delighted with the volume and quality of the responses we received from the industry. We have evaluated responses from more than 20 suppliers across the different categories and we see a level of maturity that was unexpected. We are looking forward to taking these solutions to the lab and start the testing phase,” said Ivan De Francesca, Transport Expert at Telefónica.
Earlier this year, the WBH PG published the technical specifications document of the OpenSoftHaul (OSH) solution.
The technical specifications document, represents the alignment of the operators on the transformation needed in the wireless backhaul technology. Together, they have defined the key aspects of an OpenSoftHaul product, including performance, openness, standardized interfaces, scalability, flexibility of deployment, operation, automation, and total cost of ownership.
“The technical requirements document is the foundation for promoting the disaggregation of the wireless backhaul networks. The document gathers all the architectural and functional requirements we need to develop solutions that are more open and more efficient,” said João Gabriel Aleixo, Technology And Innovation Specialist at TIM Brasil.
The first OSH solutions will be tested to validate the supported features by the five operators before year end in Telefónica’s TIP Community Lab in Madrid . These steps taken by the WBH PG’s members will pave the way for the industry, bringing a carrier-grade wireless backhaul solution to the community by 2021.
“We are now in a critical phase of the wireless backhaul program. Testing the solutions and ensuring their performance is the final phase before we can implement the first disaggregated wireless backhaul solutions in the field. The five operators will continue collaborating to accelerate the integration and testing to make sure we can move into the field in 2021,” said Solomzi Mnyaka, Manager Transport – Wireless Technologies at MTN Group.
“This collaboration could only be achieved through the Telecom Infra Project’s global community. We encourage other operators and technology builders to join us and drive the development of wireless backhaul solutions that can help us connecting communities all around the world,” said Norman Yeoh, Head of Network Commercial, Operation Assurance & Transmission at Axiata Group.
The WBH PG is committed to continuously enhance the OSH product capabilities & bring more features in to meet the evolving backhaul requirements challenges.
“Wireless backhaul is set to play an expanded role in the 4G and 5G deployments of the next few years. As networks become denser, to support high capacity requirements in cities and enterprises, and simultaneously extend further into rural and remote areas, fibre will not be necessary or affordable for every site,” said Caroline Gabriel, Principal Analyst at Analysys Mason.” A combination of wireless and fibre backhaul will improve total cost of ownership and deployment time for cellular networks, and emerging technologies and spectrum are making wireless options increasingly strong in performance and efficiency. An open, disaggregated architecture in which large numbers of suppliers can innovate around common, operator-defined specifications will be essential to bring creative solutions to market quickly, with a profound impact on operators’ power and site efficiency, and their TCO.”
Watch the OpenSoftHaul RFI announcement below.