Tellabs Outlines Carrier Backhaul Challenge and Opportunity

Tellabs had some scary news for operators at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona as they outlined the detachment of user expectations in wireless which follow Moore’s Law versus operator cost which is increasing rapidly. This according to Stuart Benington (below) who is a global director at the company. Citing an increased capacity shortage worldwide he went on to say there is an “investment shortfall” ranging between 1.2 petabytes in North America to 9.4 petabytes in the APAC region.


Gary Kim recently wrote about the issue as well emphasizing the nine-billion dollar investment deficit carriers will experience over the next few years. The chart above shows the details.

Enter the company’s SDN application solutions demonstrated to me by Benington and George Stenitzer (below) who is the VP of Marketing. To address capacity issues you generally need to plan for peak utilization of the network which means a good deal of potential waste during non-peak hours. Using SDN however, a network can adjust to ebbs and flows in network demand. The Tellabs 8000 INM sees excessive network congestion and/or link utilization traffic on the network and using OpenFlow and SDN it temporarily reroutes traffic to parts of the network which are experiencing less utilization.

The point here is communications service providers can use this solution to ensure they don’t have to spend the amount of money needed to handle maximal capacity in all areas where they provide service. The goal is to spend the “right” amount of money to reduce churn and keep devices satiated and users “happy.”

In other news, the company’s 8602 SON small cell solution is a form factor minimized and cost-optimized derivative of their existing cell site gateway technology. With small cells, Benington says, deployment is different than macro alternatives. “Its looks a lot more like a fixed broadband application,” he says. Moreover, he explains this means the installation environment must bee optimized and cost-efficient. This is why the Tellabs SON technology which provides for plug-and-play capability with auto-discovery and auto-update allows a tech with minimal experience to get endpoints up and running quickly and accurately.

Both Benington and Stenitzer emphasized that with multiple connectivity options and 3Gbps capacity this environmentally-hardened solution fits nicely in a light pole.

Another bit of Tellabs news is a push for fiber to the desktop in the enterprise. The company’s optical network termination unit the 120 mini ONT is a cost-effective product which brings the promise of virtually unlimited bandwidth to a cubicle near you. For large installations the company has seen savings of up to 70% on TCO (imagine there is no need to lay Cat-7,8,9 cable), up to 80% on power when HVAC costs are considered and up to 90% savings on space.

You may be shaking your head at this point as other vendors beleive copper is being replaced very nicely by WiFi and to some degree this is an accurate point. However in situations where huge amounts of bandwidth are needed to be shuttled about, fiber is a logical alternative. This further explains why Sandia National Labs is a marquee customer of this new solution and is said to be saving $20M over fiver years by ditching copper.

Tellabs seems to have delivered on some important issues affecting its customers including reducing churn and saving customers money. While news of underinvestment in the backhaul space can be scary, the good news according to research is, every one dollar of investment in backhaul solutions made by carriers should acheive a commensurate $4 decrease in churn.


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