MWC 2018: Ericsson and Ciena increasing Telstra network virtualisation

Telstra is increasingly moving towards virtualised functions to enable the network slicing necessary for 5G applications, with the telco to close down multiple exchange buildings in favour of distributed datacentres.

Telstra is getting ready for its launch of 5G in 2019 by increasingly virtualising its network with Ericsson, including by moving towards a mobile network with dedicated slices for different applications.

Speaking ahead of Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 in Barcelona on Sunday morning, Telstra MD of Networks Mike Wright said the telco will continue working with Ericsson to implement Ciena network technologies.

"As we think of the future and as we go towards 5G and we start thinking about the different use cases, some use cases as we've talked about require very low delays but not all; some use cases want low cost, they're not really concerned about the delay; some need super high speed. For each of those to work, we actually have a network that's not one thing but multiple types of network, and the industry term for that is slicing," Wright said.

"To build a network like that wire by wire, the way we've traditionally built networks, is impossible because you can't physically wire together the architecture, so we need to go to a software world."

According to Wright, this will mean shutting down around half of Telstra's exchanges and building 2,500 distributed datacentres to control core network functions and 5G technologies from the network cloud.

"That means that network cloud can be moved in software to different places, so now we've got an architecture that ... we can turn on the function near where you are in software; you don't have to go all the way back to the city, which is the way traditional 4G and 3G networks had been architected," he said.

Ericsson ANZ head Emilio Romeo said the Swedish networking giant will continue delivering its 5G-ready radio systems and solutions to Telstra throughout 2018 to help deliver 2Gbps 4G and continue upgrading the optical transmission network.

"We'll continue to virtualise Telstra's wireless network, with an increased number of network functions now moving into the Ericsson-supplied NFV infrastructure during 2018, a key part for 5G. And this will allow Telstra to deliver new customer services more quickly using network slicing techniques," Romeo said.

"We will also continue working with Telstra to upgrade Telstra's optical network infrastructure, which will be critical for future high-bandwidth requirements such as 5G. Ericsson will continue to supply, install, and integrate the next generation of these optical solutions with our partner Ciena."

According to Wright, as Telstra moves progressively to 5G, it doesn't want its customers to have "radically different experiences" -- which is why delivering gigabit and 2Gbps 4G is important.

Read also: MWC 2018: Telstra's 5G rollout plan for 2019

Following rival telco Optus' announcement that it will have 5G fixed-wireless services ready to go in early 2019, Telstra COO Robyn Denholm also argued that 5G is about more than just having the infrastructure.

"It's great to have the infrastructure, [but] if you don't have devices that work on the network, or you don't have use cases that can actually be used by enterprise and consumer customers, then to me infrastructure's not going to be used in a holistic way," she said.

"It's not just about turning on a service; it's about actually having the ability for consumers and businesses within Australia to have 5G across multiple use cases, and from our perspective, we believe we're in the lead in terms of getting that deployed."

Denholm argued that as a result, Telstra will be "the first to bring 5G to Australia in a holistic way". Only once the 5G standalone standard is set during the 3GPP meeting in September can telcos talk about "real 5G deployments", she added.

"It needs to be multiple use cases, it needs to be a non-standalone, standards-compliant network for anyone to claim victory," Denholm said.

"We've been very clear, in 2019 we're launching our 5G network, and it will have multiple use cases ... it will be deployed over time, we will deploy in major capital cities and regional Australia in the 2019 timeframe."

Finding these use cases was one of the main reasons Telstra launched its 5G Innovation Centre earlier this month, she said -- so the telco can work with enterprises and consumer-focused companies on exploring potential use cases for 5G.

According to Wright, both Telstra and its customers need to "learn how to consume" 5G.

MWC 2018 Coverage

MWC 2018: Telstra's 5G rollout plan for 2019

Telstra's 5G network will be going live in major cities and some regional areas in 2019, with the telco to conduct trials with Ericsson and Intel and deploy more than 1,000 small cells during 2018.

MWC 2018: Telstra to live demo 2Gbps 4G

Telstra and Ericsson will be providing live demos of their 2Gbps 4G speeds during MWC 2018, attained using carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, and 256 QAM.

MWC 2018: Intel and NTT DoCoMo partner for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Following up its successful KT relationship for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, Intel has announced a partnership with NTT DoCoMo for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to provide 5G technology.

MWC 2018: NTT DoCoMo and NEC trial 5G tech

NEC is trialling its massive-element active antenna base station system in partnership with NTT DoCoMo in order to improve 5G speeds and quality by reducing radio wave interference.

MWC 2018: Intel and Huawei showcase 5G interoperability

Intel and Huawei will demonstrate the world's first 5G NR over-the-air interoperability trial using the latest 3GPP standards during MWC in Barcelona next week.

MWC 2018: Intel working on 5G PCs and phones

Intel has announced that it is working with Spreadtrum on producing a 5G phone and with Lenovo, Dell, HP, and Microsoft on producing 2-in-1 5G PCs to be ready by the second half of 2019.

Android Go: New 'high-quality', sub-$50 smartphones to be revealed at MWC (TechRepublic)

The new phones will go on sale shortly after being unveiled at MWC in Barcelona.

LG to unveil camera-focused K8, K10 smartphones at MWC

LG Electronics will unveil new versions of its mid-tier smartphones with additional camera features at next week's Mobile World Congress.

Qualcomm, Microsoft 'Always Connected' PCs to hit store shelves

The companies have announced the soon-to-be availability of the new concept mobile devices worldwide.

Why MWC is all business now (TechRepublic)

With mobile devices mired in the age of incremental, Larry Dignan and Jason Hiner highlight the business technology trends to watch at MWC 2018.

Samsung's Galaxy S9: Everything we know so far

Samsung will announce the Galaxy S9 at MWC in just a few days. Here's everything we currently know about the upcoming smartphone.

Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)

Mobile devices offer convenience and flexibility for the modern workforce, but they also bring associated risks and support issues. This policy establishes guidelines to help ensure safe and productive mobility.


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