Accelerating 5G

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Jürgen Hatheier, Chief Technology Officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa  at Cienadiscusses how 5G is seeing momentum in terms of rollout  and also shares his perspective on Adaptive Networks

Discuss the state of 5G rollout and adoption in the region as Ciena sees it?

Across the Middle East, plans to deploy 5G are being accelerated and, according to the latest GSMA Report, 45 million 5G connections are expected to be activated by 2025 across MENA, accounting for 6% of total mobile connections in the region.   Each operator is on their own unique journey and we are excited to see the activity and developments in the Middle East.

For instance, in February 2020, du has successfully deployed the MENA’s first millimeter wave (mmWave) site at the du arena in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. Additionally, in September 2020, Etisalat announced the roll-out of 5G services on fixed-line networks enabling their subscribers to access super-fast speeds from their homes, stream high bandwidth 4K videos, enjoy cloud based gaming and low latency to meet the need for immersive technologies such as AR and VR. Lastly, in July 2020, Zain KSA announced that its 5G network covered all regions of the country, including 30 cities.

Elaborate on your partners in the region?

We are proud to work with numerous partners in the region to deliver world class networking services for customers in response to the constantly changing demands of their end-users. Some of our partners include Etisalat, Kalaam Telecom Group, Infonas, Batelco Group, Saudi Telecom Company, Gulf Bridge International, MEETS (Middle East-Europe Terrestrial System).

What are the advantages 5G brings in terms of network performance? What are ideal use case scenarios for 5G?

Promising much faster speeds, far more connected devices, and significantly lower latency that will result in much higher data volumes than 4G mobile networks, 5G will add a new layer of capabilities for both consumers and businesses.

5G is expected to enable innovations across several sectors, including gaming, education, transport, smart city management, and healthcare just to list a few.  For instance, smart cities will be made possible by 5G adaptable networks enabling dynamic, real-time innovations that can improve citizens’ lives.

What are the disadvantages – such as cost of capital investments and need for antennas at shorter distances to relay because 5G signals travel shorter distances and do not penetrate wall as well as the previous generation technologies?

The migration to 5G will be a multi-year journey fraught with opportunities and challenges and is intended to coexist alongside 4G and will likely coexist alongside 3G and even 2G.

The road to 5G demands high-performance wireline networks founded on open, automated, best-in-breed designs—fully interoperable, flexible, and built to cost-effectively address current and future 5G demands while safeguarding network investments into the future.

How is Ciena working to drive this in the enterprise side or are you only working with ISPs?

Ciena supports 80 percent of the world’s largest network providers and has designed services that adapt in order to meet customer needs both now and into the future. From Adaptive IP to the latest innovations in WaveLogic coherent optics, Ciena’s networking solutions and software allow service providers to get the most out of their network assets by taking advantage of technologies like Network Function Virtualization (NFV) used in Mobile Edge Compute architectures, Segment Routing, and Edge Cloud to efficiently support existing business opportunities while preparing for new and emerging ones.

What are adaptive networks all about and what are the services you provide around it?

As networks continue to evolve and become more complex with the emergence of new technologies, service providers are under immense pressure to revamp and restrategize existing business models in order to participate competitively in the global market. Aligned with this, the Adaptive Network is a different approach that expands on autonomous networking concepts to transform the static network into a dynamic, programmable environment driven by analytics and intelligence.

At Ciena, our Adaptive Network approach is geared toward providing a network that can grow with a company as its business needs and markets change. In a nutshell, the Adaptive Network allows providers to evolve their current infrastructures into more of a communications loop that relays information from network elements, instrumentation, users, and applications to a software layer for review, analysis, and action—rather than bogging down the network itself.

 

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