RAN USA 2017 Confirmed Speakers

Ali Imran 2016 200x200

Ali Imran
Director, BSON LAB and
Assistant Professor, The University of Oklahoma



Christina Claure
Emerging Business


Christos Kolias Dec2016 200x200

Christos Kolias
Principal Research Scientist
Orange Silicon Valley

David Witkowski 200x200

David Witkowski
Executive Director, Wireless Communications Initiative
Joint Venture Silicon Valley

Mustafa Ergen 200x200

Mustafa Ergen
Chief Technology Advisor
Turk Telekom and 5GPP


Ozgun Y. Bursalioglu linkedin 200x200

Ozgun Bursalioglu
Senior Research Engineer
Docomo Innovations


Shashi Mariputtana 200x200

Shashi Mariputtana
Director, Strategy and Business Planning
Intel and ETSI MEC ISG

Sinan Akkaya 200x200

Sinan Akkaya
Director of RAN Engineering





Working group summaries from RAN World

At our recent RAN World event the working groups were as popular as ever. We enlisted our ever-excellent working group leaders to write up summaries of what was discussed, and you can read the results via the below links!

SON Working Group Summary

Antenna Technology Working Group Summary

Network Optimisation Working Group Summary

mmWave Working Group Summary

Virtualisation Working Group Summary

Backhaul Working Group Summary


Backhaul working group at RAN World 2017

Phil Kendall,  Director – Wireless Operator Strategies, Strategy Analytics
Steve Giles, Head of RAN design, MBNL
Dr Tommy Svensson, Professor, Electrical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology

RAN evolution through cRAN/vRAN on the path to 5G presents significant backhaul and fronthaul challenges for network operators. MBNL’s Steve Giles and Chalmers University’s Tommy Svennson provided great insights on technology choices and challenges in this space. Having achieved consensus in the panel and audience early on that eCPRI did not look sufficiently vendor-neutral, we focused on how backhaul and fronthaul needed to evolve to support more flexible and fluid network architectures. Discussions in the room included thoughts on the role of managed Ethernet capacity and the challenge of scaling this economically even in the medium term. Dark fiber meets many of the capacity and flexibility xHaul needs, though isn’t the industry’s magic wand in every situation.  For example, fiber is often built to follow copper routes, so not necessarily a logical path for backhaul as transport through multiple exchanges will impact latency.

So even in a fiber world, mmWave will still be part of the xHaul solution. It is obviously hard to get wired backhaul in all locations, even in cities, with developments in mmWave technologies and performance allowing it to enjoy increased relevance in areas such as small cells in transportation or as a complement to fiber. The working group ultimately agreed there would always be a role for mmWave, ranging from the need for a quick-install solution before fiber can be pulled to new sites, and in link aggregation for higher capacity sites: in fact, given the flexibility (and related efficiency) that mmWave offers, fiber could be planned for the average demand and mmWave for the dynamic.

Virtualisation working group at RAN World 2017

Simon Fletcher, CTO, Real Wireless
Sergey Lagutik, Head of Operations, Velcom
Mansoor Hanif, Director of Converged Networks, Research and Innovation, BT
Raj Singh, Vice President and General Manager, Cavium
Dr Luis Velasco, Professor, Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya

The results of the survey are presented and raise some interesting questions about the mismatch between the expectations of survey respondents and their perception that virtualisation is not being delivered to market as quickly as they would hope. Simon highlighted that the ability to relocate functionality in a dynamic fashion between the cloud and the edge was of greatest interest to respondents, which aligns well with the evolution of network platforms to migrate to C-RAN and adopt MEC. The barriers to adoption were concerns about compatibility with existing approaches; both Sergei and Mansoor will have views on how to overcome this challenge. Respondents were not yet seeing a reduction in equipment costs as a result of virtualisation features, perhaps we are too early in the product lines maturity cycle to see significant reductions just yet? The overall compatibility of virtualised features with OSS/BSS was also thought to be lacking.

Download the virtualisation infographic here

Simon continued by summarising the outcomes of one of the Real Wireless studies that are part of the H2020 5G NORMA project. The techno-economic activity (led by Real Wireless) studies revenues as well as costs; however, here we are focussed on cost efficiencies as the architecture shifts towards a multi-service slicing capable approach. Importantly the study is framed by an approach that takes into account existing deployments of equipment, not a green field deployment, and establishes CAPEX and OPEX profiles over an extended network transformation period until 2030. This timeframe encompasses the early introduction of 5G and well into its technology maturing phase. The TCO benefits of infrastructure sharing enabled through multi-tenancy and slicing are evident. Whilst the cost reduction is not game changing it is reassuring that to adopt these new architectural approaches that fully support virtualisation will not be cost prohibitive. The greater flexibility for new business models and revenues will provide opportunity for an upside.

Sergei presented Velcom’s recent experience of a core network transformation project; fully adopting virtualisation into those core network elements by a swap-out approach. He was delighted by the outcomes with a 30% cost reduction. The consensus from the participants was that a virtualised core is fully realisable now.

Mansoor presented the BT R&I activities around vRAN. Virtualisation of RAN and in particular establishing an industry consensus view on the split between RRU and vBBU was very much work in progress. Significant lab based activities by BT and other MNOs to determine the best approach, evaluate different industry standard approaches and assure compatibility with existing approaches is necessary.  As a swap out of existing geographically distributed equipment will take a significant period of investment. Mansoor invited MNOs and OEMs alike to participate in the various projects to ensure consensus is reached. There was some concern however that perhaps the number of initiatives may need to be rationalised at some point in time.

Raj reminded the group that there are various processing platforms available that supported virtualisation  and this was by no means a single chip vendor initiative. Mansoor backed this up by saying it was important to have a multi-vendor approach for chipsets. The ability to establish a virtualised platform architecture, with optimal placement of specialised and general compute architecture enabled high flexibility of software function placement across real deployments. An illustration based on deployments encompassing campus, edge, and cloud were illustrated. Raj confirmed that Cavium participate in many of the industry virtualisation initiatives.

Jose highlighted outcomes from a recent research project showing how big data may be leveraged with analytics based approaches. These yield demonstrable benefits in terms of providing data driven insights that will ultimately allow the automated control of a virtualised network.

Millimeterwave Working Group at RAN World 2017

Joe Madden, Founder, Mobile Experts

Mansoor Hanif, Director of Converged Networks, Research and Innovation, BT
Jos Beriere, HetNet Project Manager, KPN
Dr Tommy Svensson, Professor, Electrical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology
Roberto Rodriguez Dorrego, Head of Spectrum Strategy, Telefόnica

In 5G deployment, the radio techniques at 3-4 GHz will be an extension of the Massive MIMO systems deployed today in TD-LTE at 2.5 GHz.   However, in some areas millimeter-wave spectrum will be used for 5G, and we expect radio issues to be very different. Here are some of the inputs that we discussed in the mm-wave workshop at RAN World 2017:

  1. Trials have been conducted by EE/Phazr using a balloon with a small cell, to test mm-wave links. The Phazr CPE was mounted on the balloon and the balloon was lifted to a height of 15 meters. This test achieved 1.75 Gbps avg, with heavy wind, using 160 MHz bandwidth. Note that the downlink was using a mm-wave band, but the uplink was at at 5 GHz.
  2. KPN sees the mm-wave technology as an extension of fixed wires for broadband service, but without the slow time-to-market associated with wires. It’s not perfect but in many cases mm-wave FWA could be better than fiber for the business case. This is not universal, so KPN is likely to look at this technology in pockets, not as a nationwide deployment.
  3. Cameras are one interesting use case where fixed wireless access with high bandwidth will be needed.
  4. The mmMAGIC project studies the development of radio access technologies (RAT) in the 6 to 100 GHz range. mmMAGIC has worked together with METIS II to organize workshops and development collaboration in study of radio techniques. Together these groups are looking at hybrid backhaul and access networks. One objective is to develop radios with a very small form factor, to fit into handsets or other very small devices.
  5. SDMA (Spatial division multiple access) is a reasonable approach in mm-wave bands due to the high resolution that is possible at high frequencies. The mmMAGIC group is recommending the use of SDMA as a way to increase spectral efficiency.
  6. Stand-alone mm-wave 5G systems will require high density and a LOT of coordination between sites.   There are some promising results in testing with very low order MIMO but for high capacity this has not been tested.

Network Optimization working group at RAN World 2017

Caroline Gabriel, Research Director & Co-Founder, Rethink Research

Jose Manuel Alvarez, Radio Optimization Manager, Telefόnica
Rémi Thomas, Director of Radio Strategy, Orange
Joe Barrett, President, GSA
Maria de la Rosa, Technical Authority Manager, Professional Services, Astellia

The network optimization working group ranged far and wide across an increasingly broad topic, and benefited from four panellists with very different perspectives on the issues.

This reflected the reality of operators’ thinking about optimization. Rethink’s research shows that MNOs’ plans are very diverse, prioritizing different areas of the network and different use cases, according to business model. This creates challenges, but also opportunities, for vendors, because there is no ‘one size fits all’ blueprint for optimizing the 4G RAN, and the same will be even more true in 5G with its wide range of applications.

Maria de la Rosa, technical authority manager at optimization specialist Astellia, kicked off the workgroup by focusing on geolocation. As networks get denser, this is becoming an important tool for understanding traffic patterns on a very localized basis, and adjusting network resources accordingly. In addition to optimizing user experience, some operators also use the location awareness to support personalized value-added services.

Representatives from two of Europe’s largest operator groups then shared their thoughts and perspectives – and again, had contrasting standpoints. Jose Manuel Alvarez, radio optimization manager at Telefonica, raised important issues of automation versus manual processes. All the panellists agreed that optimization would never be completely automated, but were interested in the potential of machine learning to enhance decisions. While current networks are fairly predictable, 5G networks will be more dynamic and diverse, so ML will start to be important.

Remi Thomas, director of radio strategy at Orange, highlighted issues of customer experience and how a more granular understanding of the network could support personalized response to users. And Joe Barrett, president of the GSA, highlighted a specific aspect of the topic – optimizing the use of spectrum, which could include more sharing to get the maximum usage out of current airwaves, but which would raise optimization issues of its own by reducing an operator’s control of its own network.

Overall, panellists and audience agreed that investment in optimization was now far easier to justify as it becomes essential for an operator to get the most out of its resources and differentiate itself. But there was also consensus that, because the network and its applications are changing so quickly, there are still more questions than answers about how the 5G network will be optimized.

Antenna working group at RAN World 2017

Brian Collins, Chair, AISG
Steven Gallagher, Solution Architect, Alpha Wireless
Steve Giles, Head of RAN design, MBNL
David Barker, CTO, Quintel Technology

Antenna designs have evolved rapidly to provide increased operating bandwidths in response to the ever increasing number of frequency bands assigned for mobile network use. New challenges are being created by the introduction of new frequencies between the existing band blocks. The number of functional arrays that can be packed into a single sector antenna continues to increase, with 10, 12 and even more RF ports on the horizon.

The densification of networks to support solid LTE coverage and the use of higher frequencies that require more, smaller, cells can create visual clutter and potential conflict with city planning authorities. The situation is being addressed by the increased sharing of sites between networks, and the use of compact tri-sector antennas that use a single cylindrical radome. Bespoke disguises are effective but expensive. Small street-works sites are in widespread use in some countries, merging with the existing cityscape of street lights and other street furniture, and easily connected to existing street level fiber.

Active antennas are widely seen as a technology needed to support high-order MIMO operation for later 4G and 5G services. The use of ‘massive’ MIMO is seen as the future for the higher frequency bands, but issues of physical size, potentially high peak eirps and integration into multi-band base stations, make it difficult to predict the extent to which they will be adopted.