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MWC 2019: The Cisco and Nokia tech behind Rakuten’s mobile network

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(Image: Corinne Reichert/ZDNet)

Japanese online marketplace Rakuten has made the surprise announcement that it will be launching its own mobile network in just eight months, thanks to hardware and software from tech giants Cisco and Nokia.

The Rakuten Mobile Network, which will launch in October, will be the first fully virtualised, cloud-based mobile network in the world.

Speaking with ZDNet at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in Barcelona, Cisco global director of Mobility and 5G Bob Everson said the rollout will utilise his company’s virtualisation architecture.

“They have a really nice approach,” he said.

“It’s a greenfield build, it’s brand new, so they have the benefit of being able to decide how they want to do this from scratch, and so a very innovative approach where it’s all a completely virtualised, cloud-based network.”

Cisco, which also announced its Unified Domain Center (UDC) at MWC as “the bridge between DNA and mobile”, is lending its routing and switching hardware, software, and services across its cloud, IT, and service provider portfolios to the Rakuten build-out.

The networking giant is also providing its experts from engineering, security, operations, and multi-vendor systems integration.

Once deployed, the network will include a fully virtualised network with multi-access edge computing; software-defined networking; centralised and regional datacentre capabilities; and full service and infrastructure automation.

Rakuten Mobile Network CTO Tareq Amin said his company’s network will be “software powered and automated from top to bottom”.

“With this design approach we mapped out with Cisco and a careful selected vendor ecosystem, we believe we can offer high-value services at more affordable costs, helping our customers to share the true benefits of cloud innovation,” Amin said.

According to the Amin, this virtualised, cloud-based approach is going to save his company at least 35 percent in opex compared to traditional mobile carriers.

“Normally, RAN is somewhat of a monolithic system that’s deployed out there with the software and hardware integrated, and as we move towards virtualisation, the industry is refining a path to get there,” Everson explained.

“It’s a completely virtualised network based on Cisco telco cloud, Cisco orchestration.”

Read also: MWC 2019: Google Stati/on, Cisco team up for global connectivity initiative

Everson said that when Rakuten first announced its intentions to build a mobile network, many in the industry didn’t know it would work.

“Now what we’re showing is that all they have to have out at the cell site is basically the radio and the antenna equipment,” he said.

“None of the real processing happens there, and so all they need is a construction person to go out there, not the higher-level technician, but just the construction person to hang the antenna, plug it in, and it’s literally plug and play back to the network, so they plug that cable in, it goes back to the OSS and the OSS says, ‘I know you’, kicks off our orchestration system, which pushes the RAN software out to an edge cloud node — they have 4,000 edge cloud nodes, they’re all built on Cisco virtualisation technology  — pushes the software out there, brings up all the radio software, and connects to the antenna and fires up the network, and we actually have it doing it in a couple of minutes versus days of coordination.

“Rakuten is way beyond a proof of concept, it’s a real live network that they’re aggressively moving forward with.”

The mobile network will also be 5G ready, according to Cisco, with 5G-enabled IPv6 transport and mobile backhaul.

Nokia CTO: ‘Is the future of web-scales mobile networks?’

Nokia is providing the radio hardware as well as the end-to-end system integrator for Rakuten, Nokia CTO Marcus Weldon told ZDNet in an interview.

“Because they don’t have any cell sites of their own, they decided to go straight to a cloud-native RAN instead of going with the conventional one where you put the baseband at the bottom of the tower,” Weldon said.

“They lease tower space to put radios up and then backhaul, but they didn’t want to use the cabinet, the baseband, so they’ve gone for cloud native, which is a first.”

Nokia is also working with Rakuten on 5G, but he said it will all be LTE for now.

According to the CTO, the most interesting part of the Rakuten story is the transition of a web-scale company into the mobile network space.

“They’re in the radio business to allow them to complement their web platforms. So they’re a web-scale, but no web-scale has ever built a mobile network before,” he said.

“Is the future of web-scales building mobile networks? Rakuten is the first one that is a web-scale who’s building a mobile network.”

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Indiana Is The First State To Sue TikTok Over Child Safety Worries

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To tech-savvy and/or historically informed readers, the widespread concern about TikTok in the U.S. might smack of earlier moral panics. As mental health nonprofit Take This reports, it’s a matter of record that social media, video and tabletop games, clothing choices, music genres, and virtually anything else enjoyed by the young have been excoriated by American elders on one moral basis or another.

At the same time, serious questions have been raised about the safety of TikTok as a platform. We’ve reported in the past about the successes and failures of TikTok’s content moderation, from its largely hands-off, algorithmic approach to managing content to the borderline unethical treatment experienced by the human moderators the platform does possess. Content capable of generating severe psychological trauma in adult professional content managers certainly shouldn’t be emerging in children’s feeds.

Moderation and data security are also inescapably entwined. Hands-off moderation doesn’t just threaten the possibility of traumatic content in users’ feeds; it allows for sharing media at least some users are likely to see as unethical if not illegal. Add that to the documented pressures that Chinese law puts on social media platforms and it starts to seem like the Indiana lawsuit, right or wrong, at least has some kind of grounding.

Still, TikTok has answered critics and survived plenty of tough talk from the previous presidential administration. Whether it can continue to do so will depend both on the commitment of the platform’s user base and its ability to adapt to the requirements of American law.

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How Fast Is The Electric Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Really?

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According to Livewire, the ONE has some impressive speed and acceleration numbers, going from 0-60 mph in just three seconds and topping out at 110 mph. Sure, 110 mph doesn’t seem awfully fast, but Harley-Davidson motorcycles were never known for being fast. According to testing by CycleWorld, the Livewire ONE lives up to its reputation, accelerating from 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds — a fraction of a second slower than the marketed number.

Interestingly, in terms of acceleration, the Livewire ONE is second only to the FXDR 114, which has a 0-60 mph time of only 2.5 seconds, according to Harley Davidson of Kingwood. Being quick off the line is par for the course for an electric motorcycle, though — there are no gears to cycle through, and electric motor torque is usually much higher at low RPM. The highest top speed for a production Harley-Davidson bike also goes to the FXDR 114, which tops out at a respectable 160 mph, according to Peterson’s Harley-Davidson. As far as the Livewire ONE’s 110 mph top speed, that’s par for the course for Harley-Davidson, with most everything except for the FXDR 114.

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The Most Luxurious Features Of Mariah Carey’s 1.8 Million Dollar RV

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Upon entering you are immediately met by a makeup station with an oversized mirror ringed by “true” makeup lights. On the opposite wall behind the seat is an offset television so the Queen of Christmas can watch her favorite program (through the mirror) while getting properly primped. Dark wood lines the floors, top and bottom (via HotCars). 

This segues into a lounge with a curvy 15-foot custom couch ($7,000) and a 65″ Samsung 9000 connected to a Genelec studio-grade 5.1 surround sound system. The left side slides out 35 feet while the right slides out 25 feet to create a 600-square-foot space for her entourage.

The full gourmet kitchen includes a convection microwave, two-burner induction stove top, Sub-Zero hideaway fridge, and a $4,000 LeveLuk SD501 Platinum Kangen water system. Granite stairs lead from the kitchen to a second floor, where the roof pop-ups via hydraulics to reveal what designer RJ Anderson calls a “skyscraper on wheels” (per Daily Mail via AOL Celebrity Motor Homes).

Huge windows run down each side of the bus providing a nearly 360-degree uninterrupted panoramic view, while a 35-foot wrap-around couch seats 30 people. Not only can the lights be dimmed, but it comes with a color wheel that can turn the area into a proverbial nightclub. Big 60-inch televisions on either end of the room round out the entertainment area (via AOL Celebrity Motor Homes).

Anderson Mobile Estates also operates the 7744 Ranch, a resort outside Austin, Texas, where anyone can book a stay in a previously-owned-by-a-celebrity motor home. One of the five listed is “The Lounge.” However, a promotional video not only says it once belonged to Jennifer Lopez (not Mariah Carey) but looks precisely like Mariah Carey’s from the 2005 “Access Hollywood” segment. 

Now, all we really want for Christmas is some clarification in this great camper caper.

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