The concept of software-defined networks (SDN) was all the rage at Mobile World Congress earlier this year in Barcelona, Spain, but efforts to virtualize the mobile network remain in a very nascent stage. Nonetheless, progress is coming fast and furious as customers increasingly push operators to find methods to open bandwidth or deploy applications on the fly.
Small mobile operators have a lot of issues to deal with as they strive to compete in the wireless broadband arena against the likes of industry giants such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless. A business student might divide the varied issues into the four Ps: product (devices, services, interoperability); place (footprint, roaming); promotion (marketing, branding); and price (that one is pretty self-explanatory). But, a huge issue that impacts all of those categories is backhaul.
On the Hot Seat
CCA's LTE roaming hub is part of a multi-pronged approach to connectivity
By Tammy Parker
A large stumbling block tripping up smaller mobile operators as they strive to enhance and expand wireless broadband services is access to backhaul. Steven Berry, president and CEO of the Competitive Carriers Associationrecently chatted with FierceBroadbandWireless Editor Tammy Parker about the connectivity issues faced by smaller operators.
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ConteXtream announced that a Tier 1 U.S. wireless operator has deployed the vendor's software-defined networking (SDN) technology to virtualize almost half of its network. The Palo Alto, Calif., startup is not specifying which carrier adopted its product but said the company is using SDN to serve nearly 40 million customers.
Broadcom said its newest 802.11ac chips for entry-level PCs, tablets and smartphones are now sampling, and volume production is slated for the second half of the year.
Ericsson said there are now more than 1 billion subscribers on networks for which it provides managed services, a milestone it crossed sometime in the first quarter. The company said the market represents not only a significant achievement for itself but also for the wider industry as vendors change the nature of how they work with carriers.
Sprint Nextel is adding three tri-band LTE mobile broadband devices to its portfolio this summer, as the operator aims to leverage its FDD LTE deployments at 1.9 GHz and 800 MHz as well as partner Clearwire's upcoming TD-LTE network at 2.5GHz.
Separate announcements from major infrastructure vendors Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks highlight the growing importance of carrier-grade Wi-Fi and intelligent traffic steering connectivity between cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
The United States already accounts for nearly half of all LTE subscriptions worldwide, and LTE rollouts are trickling down from the largest U.S. mobile operators to some of the smallest.