Nokia released three new products in two days, with all focused on addressing pain points operators and end customers have brought to the vendor's attention: Of note, Nokia brought network slicing to fixed access networks, a capability previously available only to wireless providers, and took the wraps off a solution designed to ultimately guarantee multi-vendor PON interoperability.
Today, Nokia turned its attention from virtualization to visualization; by reducing the size and increasing the potency of new members of its fixed wireless access (FWA) antennas, it hopes to make this technology more attractive and usable to residential customers deterred by earlier, bulkier models found across the industry. If homeowners do not want large, ugly antennas to power their home networks, then the antennas must be smaller and less obtrusive to a home's décor, is the thinking.
Here's a closer look at what Nokia unveiled this week:
Fixed network slicing solution:
A longtime advocate of network slicing, Nokia worked closely with the Broadband Forum on the publication of TR-370 on Fixed Access Network Sharing (FANS), Stefaan Vanhastel, who heads global marketing for Nokia Fixed Networks, told Broadband World News. Using network functions virtualization (NFV), operators can use existing infrastructure to "slice" off an almost unlimited number of pieces to serve separate, self-contained virtual networks, he said.
"Within each virtual network you have complete control over the nodes or the line cards or the ports or the systems that are part of your slice of the network and there are two benefits for a single operator. It means you can use a single network infrastructure to run and deliver different services," said Vanhastel. "If you have a fixed-access network or a fiber access network, for example, you can use the same network to deliver residential broadband services and also, for example, do 5G transport, 5G fronthaul. That's getting more and more important as operators start to realize that deploying a 5G network will mean they are building a fiber-access network with a little bit of 5G at the end. You can obviously choose to build a second network to do that or just reuse the network that's already there. And not surprisingly, you can save about 50% each year if you reuse the existing network. That’s something you can do today, using collaborative VLAN approaches but with slicing you get more control over the network, over the quality of services, over the SLAs…"
Nokia's fixed network slicing solution uses open interfaces and YANG data models to replicate the look, feel and operation of a physical network, according to the vendor. Providers operate their own dedicated controller with a dedicated view of their network slice so they have control over all their differentiated broadband services in their multi-vendor network environment, Nokia said. Products from multiple vendors can sit next to each other on the same or different network slices, and the solution lets operators automate processes like rules, multi-vendor integration tasks and regulations, it noted.
Nokia, Vodafone and research consultancy Diffraction Analysis will discuss fixed access network slicing on Oct. 24, during Broadband World Forum. Vodafone Ireland originally tested network slicing for fixed networks in early 2018, partnering with Huawei Technologies on a field trial that partitioned a physical FTTH network into a number of separate, virtual consumer and enterprise networks. The consumer networks carried Internet and TV; the business slice conducted OneNet business services, including voice, wrote Light Reading's Paul Rainford. (See Eurobites: Vodafone Slices the Fixed Network With Huawei.)
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