Vanu, Inc. and HP (NYSE:HPQ) today announced that Mid-Tex Cellular will be the first mobile operator to deploy a powerful software solution that can run multiple wireless networks on a single hardware platform.
With the Vanu Software Radio solution, Mid-Tex Cellular will overlay its existing TDMA-based wireless network with a new GSM/GPRS-based system by installing a radio access network (RAN) composed of HP servers and Vanu software.
The Vanu solution can provide, on a single hardware platform, simultaneous support for many combinations of the world's wireless network protocols, including GSM/GPRS, EDGE, TDMA, AMPS, and coming third-generation, or 3G, standards, such as WCDMA. In contrast, conventional wireless infrastructure requires dedicated hardware for each supported standard.
For mobile operators, the key business benefits of the Vanu Software Radio solution are a greatly enhanced ability to upgrade to new and faster wireless network standards with minimal risk and reduced capital and operating expense. It also enables a carrier to use the radio spectrum in a more flexible and efficient manner.
"Software-defined radio is a critical technology for lowering the cost and complexity of future wireless systems," said Philip Marshall, director of Wireless and Mobile Technology Research, Yankee Group. "SDR is becoming increasingly important for service providers and equipment vendors as they look to roll out next-generation technologies and maximize profitability."
Mid-Tex Cellular initiated a trial deployment in June to test the commercial viability of a software-based GSM/GPRS wireless network. The successful trial validated that Vanu Software Radio was ready for commercial deployment and demonstrated that significant cost savings are achievable. HP is providing consulting and integration services as well as one of its standards-based carrier-grade platforms, HP ProLiant servers running the Linux operating system.
Phased installation of the Vanu Software Radio-based network is scheduled to begin early in 2004, with the complete rollout of a 24-site system scheduled for completion by the end of 2004. Mid-Tex Cellular expects to upgrade the RAN in mid-2004 to include support for EDGE-based networks.
"We put a tremendous amount of faith in Vanu and HP and they delivered," said Toney Prather, chief executive officer, Mid-Tex Cellular. "I am convinced that Vanu's radio technology will offer rural carriers such as Mid-Tex Cellular a new business model that will allow us to deliver leading-edge wireless services to our customers."
Prather also described the speed of deployment, "In just over 12 months, we went from a white board discussion in Boston to a live, working system in DeLeon. At the time, I'm not sure anyone thought it could be done."
Mid-Tex Cellular serves wireless subscribers in a large rural area bounded by Dallas, Abilene, Waco and San Angelo, Texas. The operator depends on roaming traffic, and so must be ready to support different network standards.
"Software-defined radio is a technology that has the potential to alter the landscape of future wireless networks," said Dr. Vanu Bose, chief executive officer and founder, Vanu. "Mid-Tex Cellular is an innovative operator that clearly understands the business value of building a software-based multi-protocol wireless infrastructure, and I believe our solution will enable Mid-Tex Cellular to be a much stronger, more agile competitor."
"Vanu's breakthrough software radio technology and HP's 25 years experience in wireline and wireless networks is clearly a winning combination," said Marco Limena, vice president, Network and Service Provider Solutions, HP. "The success at Mid-Tex Cellular illustrates how modular, standards-based building blocks, combined with powerful, innovative software from companies like Vanu, can combine to increase customer agility and reduce cost and risk."
In addition to Vanu software and HP platforms, the Mid-Tex Cellular network will be deployed with ADC's Digivance radio-over-fiber solution and a TELOS Sonata SE softswitch, both of which were key components of the trial system.