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With Eyes on 4G Rollout Challenges, Developers Invest in NEBS Level 3 Certification


TMCnews Featured Article

August 09, 2010

With Eyes on 4G Rollout Challenges, Developers Invest in NEBS Level 3 Certification

By Marisa Torrieri, TMCnet Editor

The promise of 4G next year is the biggest driver for high-density frame-level integration of NEBS components. But underneath all the excitement lies concern about network strain.

That’s why combining the latest ATCA multi-core packet processors, 40G switch devices, uplinks such as 40GbE and 100GbE, and the new 40G backplanes [such as 10G Kr], a fully integrated, COTS-based ATCA frame can dramatically lower cost/bit and increase system density for 4G networks.

As such, achieving NEBS Level 3 certification for all that carrier-class equipment is an important up-front investment.  

What are some of the leading developers and equipment manufacturers in the space doing?

We asked Jeff Hudgins, vice president of marketing at NEI, to give us the scoop.

According to Hudgins, OEMs are concentrating on the details of the application itself - the system software. 

“The specific hardware engineering needed to integrate all of the hardware and software pieces at the NEBS level is extremely specialized and not usually the kind of expertise their engineers have to complete the product cost-effectively or quickly,” Hudgins told TMCnet. “Instead of taking longer to figure out, going the trial-and-error route, or even stalling the project all together (which can happen when a technical challenge of this nature derails the hardware/software integration development), OEMs are turning to integration partners for pre-validated and turn-key designs.”

More to the point, most of these communications providers are using technologies from many different vendors in order to get the most out of their software programs at the best price. So bringing together all of the design components -- hardware, securing the OS, software imaging, 3rd party and application loading, cable management and routing, mechanical rack design and power management -- makes integration even more of a challenge, especially if it must be NEBS-compliant.

“And to prove these increasingly important 4G applications can handle the high throughput and high availability necessary for successful service delivery, NEBS certification is a huge bonus,” he explained.

So what is the timeline of some of these applications?  

“Many of these applications, as indicated earlier, are on the market now, and many more are coming,” Hudgins told TMCnet. “4G is here now, and in order to keep up with the software, OEMs will be looking to these pre-validated designs to deliver the frame-level goods.”

This is part 2 of a two-part series on NEBS Level 3 certification and 4G.

Marisa Torrieri is a TMCnet Web editor, covering IP hardware and mobility, including IP phones, smartphones, fixed-mobile convergence and satellite technology. She also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet's gadgets and satellite e-Newsletters. To read more of Marisa's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri

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