Huawei Unveils Its U2Net Vision
Disappointingly, Bono failed to show up, though there was talk of The (Network) Edge (geddit?).
OK, back to the technology ...
The vendor's network products CTO, Daniel Tang, told analysts and journalists here that the growing volume of over-the-top (OTT) video and the anticipated mass introduction of cloud-based services on operator networks will put too much strain on existing architectures, which need more capacity and greater simplification.
And he believes it has a model that others will need to take on board. "Huawei is often said to be a 'Me Too' company -- now it's about 'You Too'," he joked.
So what is U2Net? Well, it's an architecture that, simply, requires greater physical convergence of network elements, along with fatter pipes, from the edge to the core.
The access vision: In order to deliver quality multimedia services to multiple end user devices in the home (and office), fixed broadband access speeds of 20 Mbit/s to 100 Mbit/s are needed. To deliver this with greater efficiency and simplicity, the current mix of multiple fixed access platforms (DSLAMs, MSANs, OLTs) should be replaced by a single access platform (such as Huawei's SingleFAN) that manages all access technology options. Fiber connections will provide the required downstream bandwidth, while system-level vectoring -- based on the G.vector standard currently and the upcoming G.fast standard (enabling theoretical copper connections of up to 2 Gbit/s) in the future -- will give the DSL lines the boost they need to enable them to deliver up to 100Mbit/s connections (in optimal conditions with a short copper loop from a remote VDSL2 street cabinet). System-level vectoring is also being heavily promoted this week by Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU). (See AlcaLu Speeds Up Its VDSL2.)
The IP edge vision: Huawei contends that not much has changed in terms of B-RAS (broadband remote access server) capabilities in recent years, and that needs to change as the current systems (variously called B-RAS or the broadband network gateway) aren't designed to cope with the OTT video onslaught. The new B-RAS needs to have much greater capacity per subscriber, have much greater reliability and be IPV6-enabled.
"In the past if a B-RAS went down for five minutes, no one would notice, but in a video world it would be noticed immediately" as real-time services would be affected. Huawei's vision involves the B-RAS being integrated with a service-aware router, currently a standalone platform, to "unify service management and simplify control." But this alone isn't enough to handle the OTT and IPTV video traffic. Huawei proposes a separate content delivery network (CDN) platform with caching capabilities to sit alongside the new model B-RAS.
Metro and backhaul capacity: With broadband access equipment now having 10Gbit/s uplinks to feed aggregated traffic to the B-RAS and metro transport network, WDM connectivity is needed directly to the access infrastructure. And in the metro, "digitalized WDM" is needed to manage the traffic loads. For Huawei, this involves the deployment of an OTN system designed with its photonic integrated device (PID) technology that enables 12x10 Gbit/s per line card. Huawei notes that its model is also set up to manage traffic to and from mobile cell sites. (See Huawei Adds Metro OTN.)
Core capacity: This is straightforward -- it's all about 100 Gbit/s. (See Huawei's 100G Is Out the Door.)
Network management vision: A U2Net should have a single OSS managing the network, including an IP network assessment system and up-to-date fiber monitoring capabilities. (See Huawei Makes SPIT Headway and Huawei Intros IP Network Assessor.)
All in all, then, Huawei reckons it has all the pieces of what it regards as the new network puzzle. Now it needs to convince its carrier customers that it has the best approach -- better, for instance, than the end-to-end propositions of rivals such as AlcaLu, which has been touting its High Leverage Network concept for almost two years now. (See AlcaLu Transforms the Core.)
What's likely, though -- and the same is true of Nokia Networks ' Liquid Net proposal – is that operators will pick and choose the pieces they like. BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), for example, is set to deploy Huawei's vectoring technology early in 2012, says Tang, while the metro optical PID-based platform has already been deployed in the U.K. and is now being rolled out more aggressively into other markets, he adds. (See NSN Dives Into Liquid Net .)
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading