& cplSiteName &

NSN Hangs Its Future on the Liquid Net

Ray Le Maistre
11/29/2011
50%
50%

When Nokia Networks completes its latest restructuring program, a process that's set to see the company shrink its portfolio and lose at least (if not more than) 17,000 staff, what will the resulting company look like? (See NSN Could Lose More Than 17,000 Staff, Analysts: NSN Focus Makes Sense and NSN to Cut 17,000 Staff.)

Well, it'll need to be operationally profitable. Corporate parents Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) are locking their wallets after having stumped up €1 billion (US$1.3 billion) between them earlier this year. "We don’t expect further cash from Nokia or Siemens and believe we can execute our new strategy without further cash from them," a NSN spokesperson tells Light Reading. (See NSN Gets $1.36B & New Leader.)

NSN believes that operational profitability can come from being a slimmer, more focused company. While it has been well reported that NSN's focus will be on mobile broadband, customer experience management (CEM) and services, what does that actually mean?

Well, that comprises more than it might seem and NSN's Liquid Net proposition provides a guide to what it hopes service provider customers will want in terms of network functionality.

Liquid Net
Earlier this year NSN outlined its vision of the next-generation network, called Liquid Net, which, the vendor believes, will be more suited to a market characterized by the "explosive and unpredictable consumption of data." In essence it's the vision of a virtualized network that's able to "share" capacity and be planned and managed to average rather than peak loads. (See NSN Dives Into Liquid Net .)

The key idea revolves around unleashing spare capacity and making it available where it's needed. Obviously that's something that can't be done with current network architectures, which, according to NSN, have a lot of dormant capacity. (According to the vendor, massive amounts of capacity lay dormant in existing fixed and mobile networks every day.)

The Liquid Net comprises Liquid Radio, Liquid Core and Liquid Transport.

Liquid Radio involves the de-coupling of the antenna and baseband elements of the radio access network (RAN) and having a centralized pool of baseband capacity shared by multiple antennas. That sort of topography requires an optical connection from the antenna to the baseband pool, some very sophisticated broadband management capabilities.

Liquid Core, meanwhile, involves the housing of multiple network core elements -- serving gateway, packet gateway, mobility management entity (MME), home location registry (HLR), Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF), softswitches and other IMS elements -- on shared AdvancedTCA (ATCA) hardware systems that need only be added to as the overall demand for Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) capabilities increases. That contrasts with the current practice of having fields of under-utilized servers for each function.

Liquid Transport is all about achieving the most efficient optical connections between various points, with a heavy focus on intelligent control of capacity management and wavelength provisioning.

So what does NSN need to have in its product portfolio if it wants to deliver the Liquid Net in a post-restructuring world?

The 'mobile broadband' proposition
This is about more than just the radio access network (RAN). NSN is retaining (most of) the products it needs to deliver a complete mobile broadband network, including transport. And it's not just about next-generation mobile, either: For NSN this includes GSM, CDMA, WCDMA, CDMA EV-DO, HSPA, both "flavors" of Long Term Evolution (LTE) (FDD and TDD) and beyond. In other words, it's 2G-4G.

As well as the RAN equipment right at the edge of the network, the portfolio includes the core (including all the elements and capabilities to be found in the Liquid Core) and the necessary optical transport, from long-haul 100Gbit/s down to the next-generation optical access (NGOA) technology currently under development. Backhaul capabilities will come from partners, most notably DragonWave Inc. (AIM/Toronto: DWI; Nasdaq: DRWI), which recently agreed to acquire NSN's backhaul business. (See DragonWave to Buy NSN Unit.)

NSN, therefore, is looking to hold on to and take advantage of its investments in optical transport as well as mobile network technology and is forming an Optical Networks Unit as part of its Mobile Broadband business. (See NSN Makes Optical Advances and NSN Unleashes Single-Carrier 100G.)

However, its Carrier Ethernet portfolio, part of the NSN family since late 2007, is surplus to requirements and will either be offloaded or mothballed (put in maintenance mode). (See NSN Unveils Its Kill List , Nokia Siemens to Acquire Atrica and Nokia Siemens Shares Ethernet Secrets.)

Services and CEM
NSN's Global Services business, which provides a broad range of services (including planning and optimization, consulting, systems integration, implementation and managed services) and currently accounts for around 40 percent of its revenues, is being maintained, which is not surprising given the operators' greater tendency toward outsourcing.

Customer Experience Management (CEM), though, is far less straightforward and even NSN has yet to pin down exactly what its CEM offer will include in terms of products. Currently it includes its One-NDS subscriber data management system, a range of Serve atOnce software tools (for device management and customer data gathering), the Charge@once business analytics tool, but elements of its BSS portfolio (especially, it seems, around charging capabilities) could still be saved. The BSS portfolio in general is part of NSN's "Kill List."

This is an area of NSN's business that is likely to see a lot of new development, though, rather than just rely on a set of defined products. For example, the company recently announced an application that will help turn Facebook into a potential customer experience portal for service providers. (See NSN Gives Facebook a New Status.)

Sidelined ... but what of the cloud?
NSN isn't hanging around in its efforts to pare down its portfolio. Having identified a set of business areas that are no longer core to its strategy -- fixed-line VoIP, WiMax, traditional voice, Carrier Ethernet, business support systems (BSS), and communications and entertainment solutions (CES, including IPTV capabilities) -- it has already announced a deal to sell its WiMax assets. (See NSN to Sell WiMax Biz .)

But where does this all leave NSN in terms of the emerging cloud services enablement sector that Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) have grabbed by the horns? (See Analyst: AlcaLu Could Have a Cloud Hit.)

The vendor tells Light Reading that helping service providers become cloud services players is part of its strategy. In an answer to questions about its cloud plans, NSN said its Liquid Core includes capabilities that are the "first elements" in its "carrier cloud" offering that will "go beyond" Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s proposition.

Now, there's a challenge!

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
gtchavan
50%
50%
gtchavan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:47:44 PM
re: NSN Hangs Its Future on the Liquid Net


Gravy train for the management until it goes out of business.  The problem they have is that they sell to Telco's.  Enterprise is where they need to focus.

AlexK123
50%
50%
AlexK123,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:47:39 PM
re: NSN Hangs Its Future on the Liquid Net


"AdvancedTCA (ATCA) hardware systems that need only be added to as the overall demand ... increases. That contrasts with the current practice of having fields of under-utilized servers for each function"


In practice ATCA means installing huge 3rd party chassis everywhere and sending a truck with additional HW/SW modules whenever traffic demand increases. Whatever the financial outcomes of this approach for MSOs, the entry barrier into the "just send the truck" business model  for other vendors would be minimal and therefore I'm not sure if NSN will be able to stand their Liquid grounds with this strategy.


But of course it's a perfect rescue plan to justify another few years of fat salaries for the top management that led NSN into this mess.


 





FastCache
50%
50%
FastCache,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:47:34 PM
re: NSN Hangs Its Future on the Liquid Net


Sorry, missed your point about Advanced TCA (ATCA). The eco-system basically uses the same devices, memories, phy's etc. as used in proprietary designs except they comply with an open architecture standard. So I don't see why there would be a major difference in terms of support, maintenance, products upgrades or truck rolls. 

From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments


Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing ICN as a Network Slice for Mobile Data Distribution

6|19|17   |     |   (1) comment


Network slicing in 5G allows the potential introduction of new network architectures such as Information-centric Networks (ICN) as a slice, managed over a shared pool of compute, storage and bandwidth resource. Services over an ICN slice can benefit from many architectural features such as Name Based Networking, Security, Multicasting, Multi-homing, Mobility, ...
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Mike Roberts on 5G Uptake

6|19|17   |   04:08   |   (0) comments


Mike Roberts, research director for Ovum's service provider markets group, explains why he has boosted his 5G subscriptions forecast.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Hubbard on Intersection of SD-WAN & MPLS

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Rick Hubbard, SVP of Network Product Management for AT&T Business Solutions, discusses how AT&T's approach to SD-WAN fits in with its overall virtualization strategy, explains how SD-WAN can improve enterprise customers' use of the cloud and addresses the intersection of SD-WAN and MPLS.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Keep Connected IoT Devices Under Control With Allot

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Allot AVP of International Pre-Sales, Daniel Keidar, explains how communications service providers can protect infrastructure and service availability from flooding attacks caused by malfunctioning or bot-infected devices connected to their network.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
BT Tech Chief Makes Plea to 5G Chip Vendors
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 6/20/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.