Nokia is hogging the limelight this week. Hot on the heels of announcing its CEO's departure, the vendor coughed up a trio of fixed access portfolio additions that will help to strengthen one of the units that will likely come under scrutiny when new CEO Pekka Lundmark takes over in September. (See The long goodbye: Nokia in limbo as Suri steps down as CEO.)
The three new products are:
Lightspan MF access node (optical line terminal): Based on Nokia's own Quillion chipset, this is a "small" OLT for distributed deployments that currently supports 10G PON (XGS-PON) but can be upgraded to support 25G and other advanced PON flavors. This node has been designed to support low latency connectivity as Nokia is pitching it as a box that can enable operators to use existing fiber access infrastructure to support 5G fronthaul, midhaul and backhaul transport, especially as the radio access network becomes more dense as small cells are deployed. (See Nokia Develops Quillion Chipsets to Power Multi-PON, Next-Gen Access Networks.)
Nokia's new Lightspan MF fiber access node (OLT).
Beacon 6: A home gateway that supports WiFi 6 and which also incorporates some Bell Labs innovations namely, the PI2 active queue management algorithm and L4S data traffic management software. Ever eager to tap into the marketing zeitgeist, Nokia is pitching this as a home gateway that can "support 5G mobile data offloading," which basically means it's a fast and efficient in-building connectivity hub.
5G-ready FastMile fixed wireless access gateways: Gateways to support the niche but important 5G FWA market.
Nokia is (sometimes overly) keen to stress the role these products can play in an operator's 5G strategy, as one of its key propositions is its ability to deliver an integrated set of network products, from optical backbone all the way to the customer's premises and, increasingly important, inside those walls: That differentiates it from Ericsson, which largely relies on partners beyond its core expertise of the radio access network.
And there's little doubt that operators are keen to abandon the days of multiple access networks and use a single infrastructure for residential and enterprise broadband services as well as 'anyhaul' applications for shunting 4G and 5G data traffic: That's where support for software-defined capacity management comes in with the Lightspan MF node, as an operator can reserve a "network slice" over the access network that is dedicated to 5G transport traffic, for example.
These products would have been unveiled at Mobile World Congress, hence the heavy emphasis on the 5G messaging for non-cellular network elements. Now Nokia just needs to prove their worth to the operator community and help to bring its fixed access unit back into growth mode after its sales dipped by 5% year-on-year in 2019 to 1.88 billion (US$2 billion).
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, special to Broadband World News
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