TIP Turns Three, Celebrates Production-Ready Mobile Network Technologies

BARCELONA -- MWC19 -- On the Telecom Infra Project's third birthday, Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg says the collaborative group is celebrating the move of mobile network technologies out of the research phase and into the production stage.

"The areas where we invested in the first three years are coming to market now and reaching broader adoption in the industry -- that's what you see in mmWave… the industry saw there's real value in taking a spec developed out of a TIP project group and productizing it," Axel Clauberg, vice president of Infrastructure Cloud & IP End to End at Deutsche Telekom AG, Group Headquarters told Light Reading after Facebook's TIP press conference today.

By collaborating closely with telco partners and TIP board members such as Vodafone, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom and BT, Facebook expects to continue developing TIP technologies that support more cost-efficient, rapid and manageable networks globally, explained TIP Executive Director Attilio Zani in a blog post today.

TIP Executive Director Attilio Zani kicks off Facebook's TIP Press Conference at MWC 2019. To the right is Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg.
TIP Executive Director Attilio Zani kicks off Facebook's TIP Press Conference at MWC 2019. To the right is Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg.

Since issuing requests For information (RFIs) at the TIP Summit last October, Vodafone and Telefonica now are initiating OpenRAN field trials, having used the RFI to identify Altiostar, Mavenir and Parallel Wireless as collaborators. Vodafone selected Turkey as the first of 25 planned OpenRAN trial deployment sites and will carry "commercial traffic over a parallel wireless 2G+4G macro site in the 900Mhz band," wrote Zani. Vodafone also plans future trials in Africa with Vodacom Group, Mavenir and Parallel Wireless, and will test Mavenir's small base stations indoors for 5G in urban areas.

Telefonica intends to launch OpenRAN trials in Peru, Colombia and Argentina in collaboration with Parallel Wireless and Altiostar.

MWC attendees can expect to hear more later this week about which companies Vodafone, Telefonica and TIM selected from the Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway (DCSG) RFI. Operators then will issue DCSG lab trials, eventually followed by field deployments -- of vital importance to support 5G.

"We're moving not just one set of RFIs with OpenRAN, but now multiple RFIs with cell site gateway, showing operators are moving down that path quickly," Aaron Bernstein, director of Connectivity Ecosystem Programs at Facebook, told Light Reading. "We're also showing how these different TIP project solutions can be stitched together in an end-to-end project demo."

TIP presented the end-to-end network interoperability of TIP technologies in a debut public demo today, which included OpenRAN, vRAN Fronthaul, Edge Computing and Applications, DCSG, Cassini, CrowdCell and OpenCellular. These platforms address access and transport networks as well as backhaul, core and management.

TIP demonstrated end-to-end network interoperability of TIP technologies at MWC today.
TIP demonstrated end-to-end network interoperability of TIP technologies at MWC today.

ADVA Edgecore, IP Infusion and Infinera plan to adopt DCSG specs, and are demonstrating the first DCSG prototypes at MWC.

Next month, DT is expected to reveal the results of its RFI for 60 GHz mmWave solutions to the TIP community. Also, Malaysia's YTL Communications announced this week plans to investigate TIP-supported mmWave technologies for the last-mile of its network. mmWave project group members also founded the Wi-Fi Alliance program to focus on certification of Fixed Wireless equipment.

TIP is launching two project groups, the first co-chaired by Vodafone and Sprint. The OpenRAN 5G NR Project Group will focus on developing white-box disaggregated RAN solutions.

"This speaks to how there are a lot of different areas of technology within TIP and why it's important for the industry to work together," said Facebook's Bernstein. "Initially creating the ideas, moving to spec definition, then procurement, deployment and ultimately deployment at scale. OpenRAN is in the deployment stage with Vodafone in Turkey, and WiFi and 5GNR are in the formation stage."

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DT and Facebook are co-chairing the newly minted WiFi Project Group to support collaboration and standardization among vendors and operators deploying WiFi.

"This is another opportunity where new business models should be shared in the broader community with more people collaborating," said Clauberg. "Open collaboration in organizations like TIP and in O-RAN is becoming more important to drive innovation in the industry… it's important for us as operators to work with startups, established vendors as well as Internet companies, to advance the industry overall."

This open collaboration model is central to TIP's mission.

"The key to TIP is everyone's learning together in the open," said Bernstein. "It's not open source, but learning together in an open, collaborative way… These are really hard problems to solve so we need all the brains we can find, working together to solve [them]."

The fourth annual TIP Summit will be held on October 8-9, 2019 at ExCeL Centre, London.

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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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