Highlights from MWC 2023 in Barcelona
by Victor Khen
MWC 2023 was rich on mobile infrastructure and services this year. With major focus put on 5G acceleration along with OpenNET we saw some amazing solutions coming in place for every involved technology spreading from components, to networks, to applications.
This year, across show floors, it was easy to observe a common theme revolving around monetization, cloudification, and openness. The trend is driven by communication service providers' (CSP) continuous effort to deliver the most innovative services and optimizing capital expenditures. It is becoming apparent that with 5G, CSPs will be able to revolutionize their service offering. But as the technology is quite cost, CSPs need to look for more flexible and better optimized communication infrastructure solutions.
New Monetization Services Enabled with 5G
The adoption of 5G offers low enough latency with high throughput and density to run demanding, mission-critical applications, thus allowing real-time interaction with people and machines in both virtual reality and our world. The application scope is only limited by the minds of its designers. Today, it has spread from basic gaming and conferencing into mission-critical applications.
There are a few highlights from MWC 2023 we would like to mention such as:
• Remote drone control that could be used for emergency medicine deliveries in congested areas by Vodafone
• Teleoperated car by Deutsche Telekom
• AI-powered smart agriculture by Telefonica
• Computer vision powered warehouse quality assurance by Verizon
What was truly inspiring was the completeness of the vision and readiness of these presented solutions, which also shows high interest from CSPs to increase monetization of the newly built 5G infrastructure.
Cloudification Has Become Mainstream
To automate the provisioning and maintenance for a myriad of new services, CSPs have to migrate to a cloud-native network infrastructure, which offers better network visibility, easier management, and simplifies service delivery.
During MWC 2023, this trend was well observed across all showcases of major CSPs, hyper-scalers, software and hardware solution providers. With major announcements from AT&T, who migrated big portion of their core network to cloud-native infrastructure solution from DriveNets. Today, 50% of all AT&T's core traffic is ran through DriveNets' solution. Arrcus and Softbank cooperated on the demonstration of SRv6 MUP and ArcOS. Several global CSPs announced cooperation with hyper-scalers to migrate some of the services to hyper-scaler's clouds.
Open Networking Reached Far Beyond Open RAN
Abundance of Open RAN solutions were easily observed throughout MWC. A plentitude of component suppliers, system builders, and solution providers have presented their vision of Open RAN for public and private 5G deployments. The concept is being widely adopted by global CSPs as it offers up to 30% TCO savings compared to traditional proprietary solutions. Vodafone has some of the highest ambitions for Open RAN deployments with a target to spread the technology to 30% of its sites by 2030. Their showcase was crowded with partners (Intel, Dell, EdgeQ, Radisys, HPE, Qualcomm and Mavenir) and visitors, as they presented improvements to their Open RAN ecosystem maturity, security, and energy efficiency.
Open RAN was only one part of the open networking infrastructure solutions presented at MWC 2023. To seamlessly scale networks, provision new services, while optimizing TCO, CSPs need a more complete value proposition that could spread from the access networks all the way to core and data centers.
The show floor featured showcases of all major organizations working on the development of open transport networking solutions, including showcases of Telecom Infra Project, the global open networking community bridging the communication between CSPs, software providers, Arrcus, Drivenets, IP Infusion, Exaware, Niral Networks, and hardware vendors, UfiSpace, Ceragon, and others.
Our UfiSpace booth at MWC 2023 presented major updates to our mobile backhaul and aggregation solution. This included our recently released S9510-28DC and S9600-56DX 25/100/400G 1U and 2U open routers, respectively, that were presented along with ZR+ and XR Optics solutions.
Our showcase also unveiled two new solutions for the mobile fronthaul. First is our M3000-14XC front-haul multiplexer, a cutting-edge solution that enables extended 5G network coverage by connecting up to 16 RUs with only 1. Second is our N3100-4C, a 5G acceleration timing card that can enable any server with Class C timing accuracy.
MWC 2023 was a testament to the incredible pace of technological advancement in the mobile industry. The event showcased the most promising solutions for 5G acceleration and OpenNET, emphasizing the importance of monetization, cloudification, and openness. With so much innovation on display, it's clear that the future of mobile infrastructure and services is bright, and we can't wait to see what's in store for next year's event.