Operators need to take a holistic approach to their network and embrace the ‘power of and’ if they are to meet rising customer demand, improve scalability and reduce network complexity, Nokia’s president of Fixed Networks, Federico Guillén, said during a keynote conference session at Broadband World Forum. There is no single technology or access mode which will deliver ubiquitous ultrafast connectivity, he emphasized, instead a combination of technologies is required.
This is particularly true if the industry is to deliver on the promise of 5G. Those operators which don’t recognize the ‘power of and,’ he warned, could fail to meet speed and connectivity targets and lose ground to competition.
“The strategy of deploying fiber to the most economical point in the network is still valid, but the combination of fixed fiber, wireless and other access technologies is now even more crucial to the operator’s business case,” said Guillén. “Fixed networks are going to be essential for the growth of 5G, for example, as they will complement wireless for mobile transport. We will also see a combination of fiber and fixed wireless access to deliver ultra-broadband to the home using technologies such as WiGig. This convergence of fixed and wireless is one aspect of what we are calling the ‘power of and’.”
According to Guillén, the second element of this approach is delivering a gigabit experience both to and into the home. This, he continued, has been a pressure point for operators with poor in-building wiring or Wi-Fi, and can comprise more than 30% of calls to a broadband operator’s helpdesk.
“With all the focus on getting ultra-broadband to the front door, it is also important not to neglect the in-home network,” said Guillén. “Wi-Fi is a critical part of the end-to-end service, but is often the weak link. Delivering a gigabit experience both to and throughout the whole home is crucial, and we need to reach a point where end-users don’t have to think about their Wi-Fi – it’s just there.”
Guillén went on to explain that virtualization will have a key role keeping operational costs low as the network gets more complex, provided it is used in the right way.
“There is no doubt that virtualization can simplify networks, and the third ‘power of and’ is in the network and the cloud; moving hardware here makes networks easier to manage and scale,” he said. “However, virtualizing everything is not the answer. Operators must look at the business case for virtualization and identify which areas are going to provide the most value.”
Guillén’s presentation comes as Nokia launches Intelligent Access, an enhanced portfolio of access solutions to build gigabit-ready networks. This includes Software Defined Access Network (SDAN) technology and a new carrier-grade in-home Wi-Fi solution.
“The ‘power of and’ is the driving concept behind Intelligent Access. By taking a holistic approach, operators can enhance their network, deliver a gigabit experience to the end-user and make their operations faster, better and smarter,” Guillén concluded.