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Are mobile ops ready for Ethernet?

It seems clear that Ethernet base stations will be a dominant feature of the infrastructure landscape at some time. However, as Gaby Junowicz, director of business development for RAD Data Communications, points out, the industry should not jump the gun.

“Legacy networks are ubiquitous and work perfectly well,” said Junowicz. “Mobile operators aren’t convinced that Ethernet networks are carrier-class for bread-and-butter voice and real-time video despite all the engineering and standardisation efforts that have gone into making them reliable and robust.”

When asked what sort of timescale vendors are looking at, Junowicz said that, “It was clear that vendors had developments for their own Ethernet base stations during 2006. But the stage at which all traffic will go through an Ethernet network will depend on market economics and the acceptance of the technology.

“In most cases the migration of legacy – mainly GSM – will take place as a second stage. So, if projects are deployed at the end of 2007/early 2008, the second stage won’t happen before 2009,” he added.

The date will also depend on the carriers concerned. “Most are planning to have the solution in place by 2010 but there are many practical and logistical issues of interleaving suppliers and software levels to hardware levels that may stretch this out a little longer,” said Junowicz.


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