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Author Topic: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)  (Read 2789 times)

CarlT

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ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« on: June 29, 2019, 12:40:24 PM »

[Moderator note: This subject is the result of a merge of two independent topics, one started by CarlT and one started by WalterGMW.]

So, now Andrew at Think Broadband has written about it I suppose I can write a bit too: https://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/8456-openreach-looks-set-to-replace-eci-cabs-with-huawei

Initially replacing of some ECI gack with Huawei SmartAX MA5818 - these are 2RU 4 x half-slot chassis capable of taking 4 x 48 port VDSL cards, 4 x 24 port G.fast cards, capable of VDSL also, or a combination of the two, software permitting.

There also may be replacement with SmartAX MA5616 - these are the small Huawei DSLAMs that have gone from taking 96 VDSL lines to 128 and now 256 with cabinet upgrade.

There'll be an initial pilot to see how things go. Going forward if it's all good it'll be a part of a concerted effort to be rid of this hardware entirely and, with it, remove one of the impediments to removing ECI OLTs/L2S/headends too.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2019, 04:39:29 PM by burakkucat »
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Bowdon

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Re: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2019, 02:16:10 PM »

This sounds like good news.

I wonder what was the tipping point for OR to consider replacing ECI cabinets? I know people have complained a lot on the forums for quite a few years, so something more recent must have made the case?

I wonder how long the downtime will be when switching over. All the cabinets under the OR rollout in my area are ECI. The only Huawei cabinet was put in a couple of years after under the BDUK scheme. It says properties passed 82. Does that mean 82 people are connected to it, or that its capable of 82 connections?
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CarlT

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Re: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2019, 02:28:07 PM »

82 properties connected to the PCP that is served by that Huawei cabinet.

Reliabliity issues, cost of attending to faults that wouldn't be an issue with Huawei kit, and probably above all else availability of equipment, the MA5818, that can handle G.fast and VDSL, alongside having a heat output profile that allows it to be installed into an ECI cabinet shell.

As you noted also BDUK cabinets being Huawei means Huawei OLTs are present in formerly all-ECI headends. The ECI OLTs configured in the manner Openreach have them are garbage so replacing them is a bonus too.

I seriously doubt that Openreach could've cared less about complaints on forums or that the ECI kit provided lower sync speeds. That the hardware failed more often, resulted in more customer fault calls and can now be easily replaced likely more relevant.
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ktz392837

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Re: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2019, 02:53:23 PM »

As a sufferer of an ECI cab this is great news.  I hope more information will become available however especially on selection criteria to try to get an idea on which or if all cabinets will be replaced.

I am probably on the outskirts (optimistically) of Gfast to my PCP but if the Gfast gubbins ends up in the FTTC cab though I will definitely not be close enough as this is a further 50m away.

I will take Ginp and 3db (and possible vectoring?) over Gfast though :)
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Ronski

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Re: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2019, 03:48:46 PM »

To think all the times we've been told it will never happen  :P

Mind you it hasn't yet, but will be great for those stuck on ECI cabinets if/when it does, especially if the new kit has vectoring enabled  :fingers:

I wonder what will happen in situations like ours, all of ours were ECI cab's but lots have big Huawei twins now, I suppose if the capacity of the Huawei is sufficient they could just stop using or even remove the ECI cab, something I did wonder when they started putting in the Huawei twins.

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CarlT

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Re: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2019, 04:14:49 PM »

Think you misunderstand, Ronski, they aren't going to stop using ECI cabinets they're going to swap out the kit in them. They're going to remove the ECI DSLAMs and replace with Huawei.

Wasn't going to happen but a few things have happened along the way making it an option.
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Ronski

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Re: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2019, 05:58:06 PM »

CarlT, I didn't misunderstand, not sure why you thought I did, I know they are going to reuse the ECI shell and just replace the innards.
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kitz

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Re: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2019, 07:22:42 PM »

Couple of observations by me if they were to swap out the M41s to MA5616s/MA5818s.

Many of the ECI M41s currently support up to 256 lines. The reason they were popular with Openreach is their small footprint and 64 port line cards.
 
The existing  MA5616s are limited to 4x32 ports = 128 lines - Although I believe they are now compatible with the H83BVCMM/H83BVDLE line cards which support 48 ports.

If they did use MA5616, these would not be the same build as the existing MA5616 DSLAM components which have limitations. See my post here on the MA5616.

Quote
There's quite a bit more to making them vectoring enabled than just adding the cage.   For starters the existing Central Control Unit Board would need upgrading from a CCUB to a CCUE (more specifically a H831CCUE) to be able to support daughter cards.  (to attach a vectoring module to).   
The backplane doesn't appear to be able to support this either and _would_ need upgrading from a H831MABA -> H831MABB.   You'd also need to swap out the power board with one with higher wattage to be able to add the daughter card (200W -> 400W).    There's about only the chassis, fan tray and service board that wouldn't need an upgrade. :(   I'm even doubtful about those if they were to have vectoring as the line cards would also without need replacing so not sure how that would affect the system board. Finally the real bummer..   because of heat dissipation if you add a vectoring module, then the MA5616's are restricted to just 96 lines (compared to the current max of 128) which could in itself cause headaches for Openreach unless they housed it in a larger S200.

I don't know much about the MA5818's but a search for the VDSL line cards show that it uses the H83DSDMM Board which has 48 ports. With only 4 service board slots, this also means a restriction of 192 lines 256 lines :(

Huawei MA5818 video

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The Magdalene job application implies a straight swap out of the ECI kit; installation of both MA5616 and MA5818 DSLAMs in the existing ECI cabs; to MA5600 and MA5800 OLTs.

Final thing to mention is this is a trial and only applies to 200 cabs at present.

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ETA I was ready to post the above but in-between CarlT advised me there is a newer line card that will support 256 lines. Quickly amended so I can hit the post button before I go out.

[Moderator edited to fix a couple of "adjacent key clipped" typos.]
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 11:09:09 PM by burakkucat »
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j0hn

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Re: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2019, 07:38:56 PM »

Quote from: Ronski
To think all the times we've been told it will never happen

Well, it's not... (yet).

I think many will read this thread and a couple of the comments and assume a mass swap out of all ECI DSLAM's has started or is starting.
It hasn't and it isn't (again, yet).

It was suggested this will initially be tried on around 200 cabinets. That's a tiny proportion of the ECI estate.
I'd be very very surprised if they replaced all 25,000+ ECI DSLAM's with Huawei.

Andrew says in the article

Quote
we do not know is what sort of timescale is involved and how many will actually be replaced

This is likely to be very targeted (at least to start with) in circumstances like...

full/nearly full ECI cab, small amount of capacity needed, G.Fast viable area.

Swapping the ECI electronics with a Huawei MA5618 on such a cabinet would add a little capacity, remove the junk ECI kit, and add G.Fast (without the need for a pod).


In some areas OpenReach have ambitions to cover entire exchanges with FTTP
Many ECI cabinets will be removed completely and not replaced as FTTP rolls out.

edit: I'll add...
I think it's great they are making an effort to do something with the inferior ECI kit.
I made a considerable effort to get off my ECI DSLAM and it made a huge improvement to both upstream/downstream.

I would much rather OpenReach rolled out FTTP to make the FTTC cabinets redundant than spend too much time and money upgrading poor kit to what is essentially the same technology.
Fortunately they are doing a bit of both.

The ECI Head-Ends may be a bigger pain than the DSLAM's, and might be part of the reason for this as Carl alluded.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 11:48:49 PM by j0hn »
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Ronski

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Re: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2019, 08:42:38 AM »

Well, it's not... (yet).

I think many will read this thread and a couple of the comments and assume a mass swap out of all ECI DSLAM's has started or is starting.
It hasn't and it isn't (again, yet).

Which is exactly why I said the following
Mind you it hasn't yet, but will be great for those stuck on ECI cabinets if/when it does, especially if the new kit has vectoring enabled  :fingers:
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daveesh1

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Re: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2019, 09:04:02 AM »

Well as our ECI cabinet has just had a Huawei twin fitted for expansion looks like we will miss out yet again. BT and there two tier network even though they don't admit it.
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CarlT

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Re: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2019, 09:38:30 AM »

What a fantastically optimistic view.

They may also, of course, move everyone from the ECI to the Huawei, permitting its switch off.

The Huawei has a capacity of 384 lines with the HD expansion and 512 with the newer expansion.
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daveesh1

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Re: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2019, 10:24:40 AM »

I know sorry but the ECI is crap as we all know. It would be nice if they did and i would be the first one to eat my hat and praise them but think we all know what will happen but will leave it there and hope for a  ;D ending
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waltergmw

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Re: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2019, 10:41:36 AM »

Perhaps this article is only make-believe but if indeed Openreach are contemplating ECI replacements I shudder to think of the downtime and costs for what would be very little gain.

Surely true symmetric FTTH as a new-build would be a better option ?

https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2019/06/openreach-uk-could-replace-eci-fttc-broadband-cabinets.html#comment-206955

For those who have not looked closely the IDC connector blocks differ with partial unused ones to match the different card capacities.
E.g. An ECI card has 64 channels so the last IDC block has 6 unused pairs whereas some Huawei cards were 48 channels so that only wastes two.

I'll repeat my ISP Review comment here too:-

Whilst reconnecting a few fibres is perhaps not a significant engineering task, the concept of stripping out several sets of copper tie cable pairs with different IDC configurations might well be more of a challenge. I suppose one solution might be to add new tie cables to the replacement cabinet ( on a new plinth ??) and then insert standard underground bullet joints – always assuming there’s chamber space.
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CarlT

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Re: ECI M41 DSLAM Replacement With Huawei Kit (Trial)
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2019, 11:29:54 AM »

They won't be doing it for the benefit of customers directly. The ECI kit breaks down more often, causes more customer faults and the stuff they connect it back to at the headend sucks without heavy upgrade.

I'm sure it won't be every single cabinet but, in cases like whey there's a Huawei already installed, this programme makes it more likely they will retire the ECI.

When they replace the ECI with Huawei it means the new kit goes back to Huawei equipment in the hubsite so customers have to be reprovisioned. Apart from the need more for tie pairs to the new Huawei it's on many levels an easier job getting shot of the ECI.

Turn it off, save power, save maintenance costs, reduce fault calls.
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