Smartphones and big data call for innovation in networking technology Ericsson focuses on 4th-generation (4G) IP networking, service provider software-defined networking (SDN), OSS/BSS, real-time analytics and heterogeneous networks

In light of recent phenomena around new smartphone launches, the ICT industry can expect a big-data era throughout the networks. At his keynote speech at the annual global broadband event, Broadband World Forum 2012, Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) CTO Ulf Ewaldsson emphasized the importance of innovation in networking technology in realizing an all-communicating world.

Ewaldsson said: "In Sweden, the time spent on the internet every week increased from eight hours in 2008 to 19 hours in 2012*, and the trend is similar in other countries. We know those users appreciate mobility and high-quality access to the network. During the same period, the demand put on the network has changed enormously.

"Voice-centric usage became mostly data in the mobile networks. The entire app industry went from zero to 35 billion apps in four years. We see increasing multi-screen viewing habits. This kind of never-ending innovation is a loop between consumer demand and network capacity and capability. Ericsson focuses on superior user experience and innovation in the networks."

Ericsson’s CTO said it is no longer realistic to address the network as separate silos. The network must be capable of delivering the relevant, personalized, end-to-end, IP-based services and applications that meet users’ high expectations. This should be handled independently of the number of mobile or fixed subscribers, or video bandwidth demand.

Ericsson identified key technology areas for the future network:

  • 4G IP, virtualization and SDN
  • OSS and BSS and real-time analytics
  • heterogeneous networks

Heterogeneous networks increase the coverage, bandwidth and signaling capacity of the mobile network and support very high traffic volumes and data rates through a seamless combination of low-power radio technologies – including all-sized cells and Wi-Fi access points – and an improved and densified macro network. The Ericsson’s heterogeneous network is a complete solution, based on a 3GPP-standardized and coordinated radio network with integrated Wi-Fi, advanced traffic management and backhaul for any need. Ericsson made several launches today that illustrate how Wi-Fi has become an increasingly integrated part of the service provider network.

4G IP networking and SDN are key to building a future network that is smart, scalable, simple and capable of delivering superior performance. The new IP network needs to be something beyond the network we built for the internet boom. It should be “aware of” users, services, devices, location and scale in bandwidth and connections/signaling, at the same time as being much simpler to operate and maintain. Today, Ericsson introduced its latest Broadband Network Gateway application, based on the Smart Service Router to show the versatility and power featured in from these types of next-generation IP platforms.

SDN is an emerging technology with great potential beyond its application in data centers. SDN is about the virtualization of the control plane from the data-plane nodes. Ericsson sees the need for a Service Provider SDN. In order to give service providers the possibility to rationalize the network to deliver better user experience and extend their business model, the industry definition of SDN must be expanded from data centers to deliver the promise of lower costs and new business opportunities for service providers.

Ewaldsson stressed: "SDN in the telco-operator domain is much more than (the Layer 2 communications protocol) OpenFlow. It’s not about only managing the data planes in switches and routers, but about having fully integrated network control by connecting the SDN management layer to the cloud and network management. This offers a new view on networking. Operators can orchestrate network resources on different layers for different purposes under the same management system. In addition, the SDN architecture must also provide network awareness to the application layer through service exposure APIs. At the same time, we need innovation on the support system side. OSS and BSS and big data analytics provide the insight into the network and user behavior that allow the operator to adapt and manage the network to serve the user."

* Ericsson ConsumerLab study 2011

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Ericsson is the world's leading provider of communications technology and services. We are enabling the Networked Society with efficient real-time solutions that allow us all to study, work and live our lives more freely, in sustainable societies around the world.

Our offering comprises services, software and infrastructure within Information and Communications Technology for telecom operators and other industries. Today more than 40 percent of the world's mobile traffic goes through Ericsson networks and we support customers’ networks servicing more than 2.5 billion subscribers.

We operate in 180 countries and employ more than 100,000 people. Founded in 1876, Ericsson is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2011 the company’s net sales were SEK 226.9 billion (USD 35.0 billion). Ericsson is listed on NASDAQ OMX, Stockholm and NASDAQ, New York stock exchanges.

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