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, accoirdng to Nokia’s president of Fixed Networks.
Speaking during a keynote conference session at Broadband World Forum, Federico Guillén told the packed conference session there is no single technology or access mode which will deliver ubiquitous ultrafast connectivity, and instead a combination of technologies is required. This is especially true if the industry is to deliver on the promise of 5G.
Those operators which don’t recognise the ‘power of and,’ he warned, could fail to meet speed and connectivity targets and lose ground to competition.
“The strategy of deploying fibre 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 fibre 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 per cent 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 virtualisation 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 virtualisation 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, virtualising everything is not the answer. Operators must look at the business case for virtualisation and identify which areas are going to provide the most value.”