“RAD is offering backhaul providers the shortest evolution to 5G xHaul”

Udy Kashkash, President and CEO, RAD

Spotlight on 5G Innovations | TelecomDrive.com

Over the past many years, Israel based RAD has been on the forefront of innovation when it comes to delivering solutions for telecoms. And as telecom operators look for cost effective and most meaningful 5G strategy – RAD is offering its innovative backhaul solutions to enable this in a seamless manner.  

The company’s solution provides comprehensive support for 5G fronthaul, midhaul, and backhaul using a single economical cell site gateway. Since it is field programmable, the network can be evolved in the future without hardware upgrades and truck rolls.

Udy Kashkash, RAD’s newly appointed President and CEO speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s key priorities and how it continues to drive innovation in the market.

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What are your key priorities after becoming RAD’s CEO?

My main priority is to maintain and strengthen the very good momentum RAD has been experiencing over the past several quarters. We see a steady growth in demand, especially in the areas of Ethernet access devices (EADs) and industrial IoT (IIoT), which tells me we are well positioned to help address our customers’ needs. We also intend to play to our strength and continue leveraging our vertically integrated operations that encompass all departments – R&D, Marketing, Sales, and Production – to deliver predictable, market-leading short lead times.

Most critical in my view is to maintain stability, especially in these times of global uncertainty. That’s why we’re very determined to keep on track and execute our strategy. I’m very encouraged to see that the entire company as one is dedicated to this goal.

How does RAD look at the new normal. What is your strategy to drive the organization ahead in this pandemic era?

Despite the drastic change in circumstances that was brought on by the pandemic almost overnight, RAD was able to adapt to the New Normal very quickly and, most importantly – seamlessly. Throughout the outbreak, RAD has remained open for business on a full scale. One of our key advantages is our in-house manufacturing facilities in Israel, which gives us greater control over production and frees us from lead time dependency on overseas subcontractors. Such dependency has severely affected most other vendors in the past year while we have been able to continue delivering customer orders on time.

Parts of our workforce had to intermittently switch to a WFH format, which not only went smoothly but had a positive effect on productivity. We have also shifted our focus online and to digital tools that help us give customers our undivided attention. One of the paradigm shifts of the New Normal is that in-person meetings are no longer a pre-requisite for business success.

Even before the outbreak we were already conducting online training to customers and partners. Now we’ve quickly learned how to conduct meetings, events, proofs of concept, and demos in remote mode as well.

RAD has always played an important role on the access side of networks. What kind of innovations can we expect from RAD in the coming months?

A major focus area for RAD is IoT- specifically Industrial IoT for smart cities, smart energy, connected industry, and other verticals and industries. We’ve introduced edge computing within our IIoT gateway so that compute resources and cloud environment are moved closer to automation-enabled devices at the edge of the network rather than at the data center.

Our SecFlowIIoT gateway is a true “Swiss Army knife” that combines, in a single box, functionalities that would typically require separate dedicated appliances. This is a much-appreciated feature among IoT project managers as it simplifies deployment and operations by reducing the number of devices and contributes to increased security. The SecFlow is the only solution in the market that combines a router, firewall, and an LTE modem, together with a PLC, LoRaWAN® gateway, protocol convertor, video surveillance DVR, and other functions hosted as containers.

We are growing our ecosystem to fit more and more use cases, such as our recently announced partnership with Actility and our participation in the US-Israel consortium that develops cyber security solutions for the energy sector.

5G Innovations

5G is increasing gaining importance for telecoms today. How is RAD looking at enabling 5G strategy for CSPs?

Our focus is to help CSPs with an effective migration path from where they are today. For example, one of the most important steps in 5G long-term planning is the decision on the appropriate RAN splits and fronthaul configuration, to handle the many demands of 5G applications while balancing network topology with a level of investment that makes sense.

RAD is offering backhaul providers the shortest and most cost-effective evolution path to 5G xHaul, so that they don’t need to have their fronthaul strategy all figured out to start seeing revenues from 5G. Instead, RAD enables them to start offering 5G services using their existing infrastructure without extensive preparations. This is because ultra-fast 5G isn’t needed right away. Instead, the immediate benefits come from getting the bandwidth and latency right and this can be achieved fairly quickly, while laying the groundwork for future upgrades.

Our solution provides comprehensive support for 5G fronthaul, midhaul, and backhaul using a single economical cell site gateway. Since it is field programmable, the network can be evolved in the future without hardware upgrades and truck rolls. We also provide a smart solution for other related requirements, such as 5G timing, business services over 5G, and IIoT services over 5G. 

What kind of growth are you looking forward to in this year? And where (verticals and segments) is this growth going to come from?

There are several areas in which we already see increase in market demand: First, for EADs and cell site gateways, driven by 5G rollouts and higher bandwidth demands of enterprise customers. What we’re witnessing today is that 10G has become the new 1G and the rush to 100G is on.

Another area is industrial IoT backhaul, and that is due to the faster adoption of big data analytics for remote asset management and preventive maintenance. Such automation requires higher “connectedness” and fast delivery of field data from smart devices. There’s also the area of vCPE. We anticipate growth there due to a wider spread of the telco cloud in various network locations, to deliver all types of services while meeting specific delay and local storage/processing requirements.

Enterprise segment has become a key focus for a lot of CSPs and telecom operators are positioning their offerings to them. How is RAD positioning its solutions in this space?

Indeed, there have been major shifts in the enterprise market, especially the acceleration in enterprises’ digital transformation, which drives major changes in telcos’ business customer needs. From SMEs relying on SaaS, enterprises moving to XaaS and all the way to “Born in the Cloud” organizations, these changes drive the transformation of the network and CSP offerings. In addition to businesses transitioning to the (multi) cloud, other trends are challenging the CSP landscape, including the rise of the mobile worker and the work from home boom – especially as COVID-19 work patterns have become the New Normal.

Pre-pandemic IP VPN topologies and business network services no longer fit the new “work from anywhere” paradigm. And as if that isn’t enough of a challenge, over the top (OTT) SD-WAN and secure access service edge players are cannibalizing traditional telcos’ market share.

All this means the CSPs are looking for ways to move their business customers from legacy VPNs to cloud access services, connect new locations and IoT devices, deliver business class networking for WFH employees, and host value added services either at the CSP edge or at the customer edge.

RAD is determined to help CSPs move up the cloud value chain with a vCPE edge portfolio that enables them to leverage their edge “real estate” in introducing value added services beyond simple connectivity. Our focus is to provide a truly open solution that allows CSPs the freedom to choose any vCPE hardware or VNF to meet specific branch site requirements.

We offer thin and thick CPEs that host VMs and containers on premises or in the data center/cloud as needed, so that CSPs have flexibility in matching the vCPE platform to the business case. At the heart of our solution is an operating system that can work with any hardware or VNF and is used in all vCPEs (thin and thick CPEs alike) to minimize integration efforts and reduce costs.

The idea here is simple – help CSPs maximize ROI, cater to the needs of their Cloud First customers, and gain a competitive edge.