Will 5G make fixed line networking obsolete?

A man on a mission, Stefaan Vanhastel at Nokia

This and other questions answered by Stefaan Vanhastel, Head of Global Marketing for Fixed Networks at Nokia. He graciously gave us a few minutes of his time ahead of next week’s Broadband World Forum event where we got around to talking about trends and asking big questions.

What new products or services will you be showcasing at BBWF?

Nokia will be showcasing a number of new products and services at this year’s BBWF event that help:

Deliver ultra-broadband and connect more people, places and things, faster. This includes a number of new cutting-edge innovations and our comprehensive access portfolio of fiber, copper, cable, mobile and virtualized technologies that allow our customers to deploy cost-effective connectivity and unlock new revenue streams.

Enable new business opportunities for the home and enterprise with technologies like Nokia’s Smart Home and Motive solutions that help service providers transform the connected home into a smart home.

Transform and simplify the complexity of service provider’s networks with services like our PSTN Smart Transform solution, Gigabit Smart Build, lean NFV operations and Nuage Virtual Network Services for enterprises.

Collectively, these solutions and others will demonstrate how operators can effectively plan, deploy and operate their networks smarter and faster. We’ll also show how they can reduce TCO and risk by getting it right the first time while accelerating service deployments.

Operators capitalize on innovative new technologies like XG-FAST and XG-CABLE that are at the forefront of the ultra-broadband industry.

Which market demands were the biggest drivers of your company’s growth during the past three years?

The need for ubiquitous ultra-broadband and gigabit services is clearly driving the industry and Nokia has been at the forefront of this trend since the beginning, delivering new technology, products and solutions across fiber, copper and cable that enable operators to meet this growing demand.

For instance, two years ago we launched our innovative universal TWDM solution which effectively enabled operators to reduce the cost of bringing TWDM-PON systems to their networks and quickly bring 10Gbps services to their customers. That technology introduction has since led to the standardization of XGS-PON which we were very much a part of helping bring to market.

We also see a growing interest for as a solution that can help operators bring gigabit services to customer’s networks that are located in areas that are too hard to reach with fiber such as in a MDU scenario using existing copper networks.

Moving beyond trials, we’re now starting to see actual deployments as evidence with BT, Chunghwa Telecom, Energia and STC. We’ll continue to see more and more commercial deployments next year as operators increasingly look to utilize a fiber-to-the-most economical approach to deliver ultra-broadband services to customers.

Finally, in the cable space we’ve seen the need for distributed access architectures grow amongst cable operators looking for new ways to scale HFC networks environments to support the massive bandwidth explosion taking place with both residential and enterprise subscribers.

Nokia recently introduced a new Gainspeed product family for unified cable access that gives cable operators a faster, more cost-effective way to increase the capacity of existing HFC networks and meet the growing customer demand for greater bandwidth services.

What new trends do you anticipate and what market demands do you see evolving over the next five years?

The biggest trend we see taking hold over the next five years is 5G and the impact this will have on the industry as a whole. The obvious question many ask is how 5G will impact fixed networking and, as with any new generation of wireless technology – if it will inevitably make it obsolete.

Of course, that’s not the case. 5G is a complementary technology to fixed. Fixed networks will play an instrumental role in 5G, providing mobile transport to the 100,000s of small cells that will ultimately get deployed. Fixed wireless solutions will also play a strategic role for operators looking to better service hard-to-reach areas. And with hybrid networks you can boost peak speeds. The world is going wireless but wireless is going fixed.

Which topics do you think will get the most attention this year?

In the end it’s always about delivering ultra-broadband to more people, sooner. To do this, operators are turning to a host of new next generation technologies such as XGS-PON, TWMD-PON,, DOCSIS 3.1 that can give them the added deployment and service flexibility they need to deliver higher speeds. Beyond that, we’re already looking at what comes next – technologies like XG-FAST, XG-CABLE, and XLG-PON. With both end-user demand and networks evolving quickly, managing complexity becomes a big issue –and that’s where we see SDN/NFV concepts being applied. Virtualization can simplify complex networks and functionality, and deliver tangible benefits and savings.

At BBWF, Nokia will be showcasing a number of demos that highlight the unique ways we can help operators deliver more ultra-broadband to more people using innovative new technologies like XGS-PON, and other innovations along with leading edge SDN/NFV concepts. [Nokia’s white paper “Using SDN to simplify deployments” is available here.]

We will also be running a number of content hub sessions that explore other hot topics in the industry including a content hub session that looks into transforming fixed networks titled “3 steps to transforming fixed”, a session that explores the various next generation technologies such as XG-CABLE, XG-FAST, XGS-PON and what this means for operators titled “The X-Factor, the record breaking technologies” and finally a session on the impact of IP-Transformation in rural markets titled “All-IP Transformations in Rural Markets”.

Come to  Broadband World Forum and meet Nokia representatives to discuss the various technologies on show. They will also be talking on Fixing the Unfixable and 3 Steps to Transforming Fixed Networks. The event runs 18-20 October in London at the ExCel Convention Centre, and we still have a handful of free passes which you can get by clicking here.


6 thoughts on “Will 5G make fixed line networking obsolete?

  1. Most of the rural areas don’t even have 2G, so I doubt they’ll ever get 5G. It would be wonderful if they did, because mobile is becoming increasingly important these days. What we need is fibre to every home and more rural relays for 5G to support mobile and IOT.

      1. the farmers are already doing it out of desperation, as satellites are so expensive. But really, isn’t it time this country got some real fibre out there? Surely we can’t go on leaching the copper for much longer? we’re becoming a laughing stock.

  2. I hear ya, but who foots the bill for those regions where, from a business case, it’s too expensive per head to install fibre? Incumbents are reticent, govt isn’t listening, and it’s too costly for the community to do it themselves, and even if they could afford it what’s not to stop certain firms taking them to task over licences? Chris, what’s the ball park cost for what you’re doing?

  3. £5 a metre. Average £800 a home. But the shares make it doable. And government could encourage without it costing them a bean. All they have to do is stop giving public money to a monopoly and loan it to altnets instead. And stop letting BT cherrypick the easy bits with our taxes, so other companies get some easy to go with the hard.

    1. Is that all? That’s not as expensive as I thought it would be. Do you think this will be on INCA’s agenda? It’s keen to push alliance members forward and they seem to be embracing a truly digital future in ways that others aren’t.

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