Roman Lapszow, Senior Project Manager, Technical Strategy, Radio Networks and Microwaves, Orange Group is speaking on Day Two of the LTE MENA conference, taking place on the 11th-13th May 2014 at the at the Conrad, Dubai, UAE. Ahead of the show we speak to him about where the Orange network is heading in 2014 and where the focus is for upcoming developments.
How much impact will LTE-Advanced have on Orange’s networks in 2014?
The launch of LTE networks has brought a significant growth of data traffic and consumer interest. LTE is driving evolution in our networks and there is no doubt of the value of LTE. The only remaining question in markets where we have yet to launch is when and in what bands. As LTE-A is concerned, the majority of our efforts are focused on studies, evaluations and deployment of LTE-A. The major drivers for 2014 are carrier aggregation, the flagship feature of LTE-A, and to a lower extent coordinated multipoint processing (CoMP).
When will technologies such as SDN and NFV become a reality?
Software defined radio and network virtualization may sound futuristic, however, personally I see this as a challenge and a big opportunity at the same time. The concept of “softwarization” is a first step for virtual architecture and it is not an easy step. We will see an on-going debate on standardizations and evaluation of performance benefits. This evolution might end up increasing the number of solutions proposed, therefore creating a difficult multivendor environment and architecture complexity; on the other hand increased flexibility might be significant trigger for change. Virtualisation of radio features – in my opinion – will come after introducing centralised Multi-RAN controllers with possible migration to hybrid CRAN/DRAN architecture.
The 10th annual LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.
What is the most significant technology to have an impact on LTE networks in 2014?
In 2014 and beyond, we need to look at LTE as a proven technology that needs more radio resource to increase its capacity. As a first step, improvement of spectrum efficiency will be brought by the introduction of Carrier Aggregation (CA) and CoMP. This directly benefits the legacy macro layer. Generally, evolution of LTE networks needs to be analysed as part of heterogeneous networks. Demand for small cells with challenging requirements for high capacity transmission links is a key driver for technology selections in 2014. Building microwave-type backbone based on V-band, E-band, or using optical fibre is an open question that is typically dependent on country specific conditions.
What’s your view on the recent talk of the move to 5G?
We are strongly involved in creation of 5G concepts. There are always benefits in improving existing standards whilst building the new ones. It is still uncertain what 5G will look like. There are progressing studies on 5G and due to its complexity and also successful start of LTE, I would expect that 5G will not be available before 2020.
Is spectrum sharing the most realistic answer to the capacity crunch issue facing operators?
Growing demand for transmission speed, data volume and broadband coverage is what majority of operators are facing. This causes increasing interest for additional spectrum. Evolution towards spectrum expansion is a first natural step for supporting network capacity growth. The next one is expansion of heterogeneous networks with small cells that offload the congested macro layer. Spectrum sharing as well as RAN sharing between operators is a following step of ecosystem evolution and growth.
What are the biggest challenges you are facing for the next 12 months?
Among many others, probably the introduction of CA and VoLTE are in the front of the list for short term targets.
How important is the LTE MENA conference for you?
I believe it will be interesting place to gain insight from other operators, opinions from a different perspective than European market. It will be a good place for sharing visions and concepts.