The News: NEC Corporation and Netcracker have announced an integrated multi-vendor solution that includes ADVA and Juniper Networks for packet optical automation, combining their respective technologies in support of streamlined 5G transport. With this solution, ADVA can deliver secure optical connectivity and Juniper provides automated IP WAN transport solutions, while Netcracker brings unified multi-domain service orchestration and automation expertise. This solution is designed and developed as part of NEC’s xHaul Transformation Services as the foundation of an open ecosystem architecture that enables customers to have choice and flexibility, including delivery of service integration and professional services. Read the Netcracker press release here.
NEC and Netcracker Join Forces with ADVA and Juniper to Boost 5G xHaul Transport Automation
Analyst Take: NEC and Netcracker (its subsidiary) are working with partners ADVA and Juniper to deliver converged IP and optical solutions, underpinned by automation, that enable communications service providers (CSPs) to accelerate the delivery of competitive, unique services. Across fast-growing 5G network builds, sophisticated networking techniques are required to scale 5G services, such as network slicing, that require multilayer orchestration across both the IP and Optical domains to generate a streamlined transport environment.
Focusing on assuring advanced network techniques, such as network slicing, works throughout a multi-layer 5G transport network, the NEC-led multi-vendor packet optical automation solution offers operational simplicity with Netcracker’s cross-layer Network Domain Orchestration augmented by Juniper’s Paragon Automation portfolio for network experience-driven control. The solution also provides scalable IP transport networking with 400G ZR architectures enabled by combining integrated 400G technology on Juniper routers with ADVA’s open line system. This multi-vendor solution integrated by NEC consists of the following elements:
- NEC leads the integration and implementation of the solution with 5G xHaul Transformation Services for multi-vendor, multi-layer, and multi-domain architectures backed by its global experiences with both packet and optical networking.
- Netcracker’s Network Domain Orchestration solution enables multi-domain service, network lifecycle management, assurance and closed loop operations automation across complex multi-layer transport networks with a single pane of glass.
- Juniper’s automated WAN transport portfolio, including access and aggregation, edge and core IP routers, as well as modular cloud-native automation software applications that deliver automation for a more predictable, reliable and measurable IP network infrastructure for 5G that can improve user experience and network operator economics.
- ADVA’s open optical connectivity provides improved capacity-reach at lower cost per bit and can ensure data security through industry-wide adopted encryption.
I anticipate that through this assimilation of solutions, NEC and Netcracker, Juniper, and ADVA can spur the evolution of CSP 5G transport networks globally.
Why NEC and Netcracker-led 5G xHaul Transport Solution is Important
So, why is the NEC and Netcracker-led 5G xHaul Transport Solution an important one? This demonstrates that NEC and Netcracker are expanding their ecosystem influence across 5G network builds in multiple geographic regions. Moreover, NEC is swiftly demonstrating its 5G ecosystem credentials by amassing the most Open RAN lead integration selections by CSPs with at least six deals, and nicely ahead of major integrator rivals such as Rakuten Mobile and IBM.
For example, Telefonica announced it plans to have 800 live commercial Open RAN (i.e., O-RAN) site across its four core operating countries beginning in 2022. NEC is already the lead integrator for Telefonica’s O-RAN trials in the UK and Germany and will execute the same duties for multi-vendor trials and commercial deployments for Telefonica’s footprint in Spain and Brazil. For me, that spells a nice competitive lead in the 5G network build market.
I view NEC’s new xHaul alliance move as strategically adept. The 5G architecture introduces disaggregation of traditional gNB (gNodeB) base station backhaul into xHaul, including fronthaul, midhaul, and backhaul applications. Disaggregating the base station, including backhaul functions, can deliver operational benefits such as increased flexibility to align with use cases that have different requirements across latency, capacity, density, and topology factors as well as streamlining the engineering of the radio site through reduction of space and power requirements.
This is important, as NEC needed to form the 5G xHaul Transport alliance in order to further burnish its Open RAN market gains and ensure the company plays an expanded role in CSP build of comprehensive Open 5G networks. Netcracker’s Network Domain Orchestration is vendor agnostic and blends intent-based service orchestration for the transport domain together with full FCAPS capabilities for fault, configuration, accounting, assurance, performance, and security as well as active inventory for real-time network discovery. The solution enables automated network domain provisioning, configuration and monitoring of services, as well as automated optimal multipath computation with native support for NETCONF/YANG and standard service models. From my perspective, these capabilities make the Netcracker solution exceptionally well-suited for 5G xHaul transport applications.
ADVA gains valuable sales and marketing momentum as the company completes its impending merger with ADTRAN. The alliance with NEC and Netcracker and Juniper enables ADVA to ride coattails on NEC’s systems integrator market lead in the early 5G network, expanding its addressable 5G transport market. I believe Juniper attains a well-timed channel boost for its IP transport, 400G ZR, and Paragon Automation portfolio assets as the company sharpens its 5G messaging including tighter alignment with its Cloud Metro proposition — critical as the metro network will increasingly become vital to the hosting of 5G edge applications and other key Open 5G capabilities.
Key Takeaways on NEC and Netracker, ADVA, and Juniper 5G xHaul Transport Alliance
By enlisting ADVA and Juniper as strategic partners, NEC and Netcracker are making the adroit 5G ecosystem moves needed to capture mind share among CSP decision makers in selecting the multi-vendor solutions that can assure orchestration and multi-layer automation throughout their 5G xHaul implementations. 5G networks are ushering adoption of dynamic services that require an enduring and agile transport network that improve the user experience and ensure the creation of innovative digital services. Now NEC and Netcracker strengthen their ability to fulfill CSP xHaul transport demands, especially in the context of advancing the overall Open 5G mission.
Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.
Other insights from Futurum Research:
MWC 2021: Netcracker, NEC, and AWS Triple 5G Core and Orchestration Bliss
DISH Goes with IBM AI-Powered Assets to Advance Cloud-Native 5G Network Build
ADTRAN Takes a Chance on Adva to Capitalize on Burgeoning Fiber Networking Opportunities
The original version of this article was first published on Futurum Research.
Ron is an experienced research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets. He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including software and services, infrastructure, 5G/IoT, AI/analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues.