& 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. 

Light Readingís Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
LIVE NOW!
Friday, December 2, 1:00PM EST
The SDN Approach to IP & Optical Integration
Sterling Perrin, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, December 2, 1:00PM EST
The SDN Approach to IP & Optical Integration
Sterling Perrin, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (1) comment


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
ITU: The Broadband Is Our Future

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Ultra-broadband Forum, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, discussed how important it is for countries, companies and everybody to be working together to help to build the broadband and digital economies (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Tackling 5G in Dallas

11|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Here are our highlights of the 5G North America show in Dallas, Texas with Light Reading's Dan Jones.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Prepping for Virtualization Trials

11|14|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this video interview, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein discusses MSO's plans to test managed business services in early 2017 and tackle Distributed Access Architectures.
LRTV Custom TV
Drivers & Potential of NGP

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


ETSI has created an Industry Specification Group to work on Next Generation Protocols (NGP ISG), looking at evolving communications and networking protocols to provide the scale, security, mobility and ease of deployment required for the connected society of the 21st century. The NGP ISG will identify the requirements for next generation protocols and network ...
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei IP 2020 for Future Networks

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


Future Networks should satisfy many requirements such as high throughput, extremely low latency, flexible mobility, intrinsic security, networking automation, and so forth. The Chief Architect of Huawei Future Networks addresses a holistic solution, i.e., IP 2020, to achieve these requirements for various future life scenarios (e.g., autonomous driving, tactile ...
LRTV Custom TV
Digital Object Architecture

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


Digital Object Architecture provides a basic information infrastructure that can facilitate interoperability between or among different systems, processes, and other information resources, including different identity management systems. Digital objects are networked objects that are named by digital object identifiers and instantiated by an infrastructure service ...
LRTV Custom TV
BT's Openreach Has High Hopes for Long-Reach VDSL

11|11|16   |   06:04   |   (0) comments


Peter Bell, Network Portfolio CIO at BT's access business Openreach, talks about the operator's trial of a new broadband access technology called Long Reach VDSL.
Upcoming Live Events
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
AT&T Debuts DirecTV Now on New Video Platform
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 11/28/2016
Apple Seeds 5G? Seeks 'Multi-Gigabit' Chip Designer
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/30/2016
Altice Plans FTTH for Entire US Footprint
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/30/2016
Altice FTTH Bill Could Hit Almost $9.6B in US
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/1/2016
Samsung Bows to Investors, Considers Revamp
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/29/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.