Ira Palti, Ceragon President & CEO, was recently interviewed by Ray Le Maistre, Light Reading Editor-in-Chief. This blog post highlights some of the main points raised by Palti in the video interview.
Big industry trend, big operator challenge
One of our major industry trends happens to be catering to unprecedented network capacity demands. The need to provide more capacity to more devices, as well as new 5G services to new types of devices and markets, such as massive IOT, enhanced mobile broadband, machine to machine and mission-critical communications, etc. is an on-going struggle. Subscribers across the globe have developed an insatiable hunger for instantaneous, uninterrupted experiences - demanding and consuming more and more data.
Things get even more complicated, however, when you start talking to service providers, because they are looking at 5G and asking, “What does this mean for us?” With 5G, the number of users will increase by hundreds of percent, because for every end user there will be an IoT-enabled device or robot that also will be communicating and consuming data. Eventually, this will significantly increase capacity challenges for operators, who will have to deliver all of that data to different endpoints and end users.
It gets somewhat more complicated because operators want to increase capacity while offering lower latency, higher speeds, and high reliability (sometimes even ultra-reliability). So the operators’ main challenge is to build up the “data food chain” effectively and efficiently, while serving all of those hungry endpoints and end users who want more and more data. And it gets even more complicated when you look at desired architectures, as they require many more endpoints. An interesting question regarding those endpoints is where do you put them? Are you going to allow someone to put a base station on your roof, or on your neighbor's roof? And will these endpoints be large or small?
All this creates a dynamic that translates back to backhaul providers, as they'll need to provide the transport capabilities for those endpoint base stations, small cells, and remote radio heads – driving the traffic up and down the network. Regardless of the technology, operators need to drive network growth and make sure those endpoints have the needed capacity so that data can be delivered to hungry end users. The challenges we see today for 5G are the exact same ones we saw for 4G, and 4G+ commonly referred to as Gigabit LTE. Currently we are seeing the deployment of lots of small cells that use, for example, gigabit base stations. Remote radio heads are being deployed to increase LTE service speeds and support more users and service end points. It's the same continuum of pressure that involves the provisioning of lots more data to the endpoints. In the end, it’s about making sure that the capacities are there to serve higher speeds to more users – enabling more use cases.
Large-scale case study
An interesting example is a Ceragon customer that is causing significant disruption in the Indian market. The operator’s strategy, which started about 4-5 years ago and began maturing about 2-3 years ago, was to provide a solution for areas where the hunger for data was very significant due to little-to-no fixed or mobile data infrastructure. The operator’s concept was to blanket all of India with lots of data capacity to satisfy that hunger.
At first, the operator felt, like many others, that it didn’t need wireless backhaul. Its intention was to do everything with fiber. Eventually the operator understood, like others worldwide, that while fiber can cover some of the network, there's still a large part of the network where fiber cannot be deployed at all, reliably, or on time. The operator discovered that it could achieve its goals very quickly and easily through Ceragon’s simple yet cutting-edge dual-capacity solutions based on multicore technology. Our solutions enable the operator to use spectrum very efficiently today, and then double capacity by a click of the button tomorrow – and almost double it again, if need be, further down the road. Over the last two-and-a-half years, the operator has rapidly deployed a huge number of links. Its customer base has grown significantly, and its data ARPU (average revenue per user) exceeds its voice ARPU. Small footprint. Very quick deployment. Easier site acquisition. Very high capacities. By leveraging Ceragon’s innovative solutions, the operator is meeting its business goals. It has achieved very rapid deployments and has satisfied the large hunger for data, leading to significant operator revenues.
Source of our innovation
A key source of Ceragon’s innovation is our philosophy of taking charge of the whole solution value chain. We start with developing our own advanced chipsets, both digital and analog RF, which makes us quite unique. Then we translate this into systems, software and services – all the way to deployed installations. This allows us to optimize our innovation across the different layers of the value chain to bring the best value to our customers.
The hunger for data is also impacted by end-user demand for unlimited data capabilities. Offering unlimited data is one way that operators fight for subscribers, while driving huge data requirements on the network. If an existing network wants to offer unlimited data, the operator needs to upgrade the network significantly. Ceragon has applied our innovations to enable interfacing to existing towers, antennas and systems, and bringing up their capacity seamlessly. We are doing that by providing all sorts of new capabilities and equipment that enable the use of different spectrum bands. If we once used only classical microwave, we now also utilize millimeter wave technologies that allow us to add a lot more capacity. We do all this to provide the growing capacities needed by data-hungry end users. As the largest and number one independent wireless backhaul specialist, Ceragon is able to drive the market through our technological innovation, thereby helping operators feed the growing hunger for data.
To view the Light Reading video interview of Ceragon President & CEO Ira Palti sharing his perspective on the ever-growing hunger for data and 5G, click below.