Freescale, Alcatel-Lucent to Develop Universal Access Node
Engineers for the companies are looking to develop a single access device for both wireline and 5G wireless connections.Engineers with Freescale and Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs are working together to develop a programmable universal access device that can be used for any combination of wireless and wireline connections. The project is part of an expansion of a years-long working relationship between the two companies that is entering its third phase, according to Tareq Bustami, vice president of product management for Freescale's Digital Networking division. The effort to develop the access device, which was announced Feb. 18, is driven by such trends as the Internet of things (IoT), Bustami told eWEEK. Cisco Systems officials are forecasting that the number of connected devices worldwide—from smartphones and tablets to cars, home appliances and industrial systems—will balloon from 25 billion last year to more than 50 billion by 2020. The IoT will grow the number of network endpoints and drive up the demand for both wired and wireless connectivity, he said. In addition, access nodes in the future will be placed increasingly closer to the end user, and with the growth of small cells and other technologies, the number of remote nodes will increase tenfold in the coming years, according to Peter Vetter, head of the Fixed Networks Program at Bell Labs. Service providers are going to be under increasing pressure to increase bandwidth and ramp up the quality of service in their networks, while also trying to drive down capital and operational costs, Vetter said.
What Freescale and Bell Labs engineers are looking to do is enable service providers to leverage a single access device that can be used with both wireline and 5G wireless and is programmable—the device can be configured to meet the any combination of wireline and wireless needs. Bustami and Vetter said they wanted to replicate what the technology has done with data center infrastructures, where resources can be deployed and redeployed depending on workload demand.