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Ahead of the Mobile World Congress, EXFO announced on the 28th of February its acquisition of Astellia. Combining EXFO's technologies with Astellia's technologies will create unprecedented solutions, Germain Lamonde, Founder and Executive Chairman of EXFO told Telecom Review.

EXFO's goal is to enable operators' network transformations, such as those related to fiber, virtualization, automation, big data analytics and 5G and this year, at the Mobile World Congress, the company aimed to present the main elements capable of attaining this objective.

"One of the top elements we showcased this year at Mobile World Congress is SkyRAN which is a very unique technology that was developed thanks to the acquisition of Absolute Analysis in October 2016," said Germain Lamonde.

"SkyRAN is a remote access and monitoring solution for fiber-based fronthaul networks. It allows operators to get detailed information about interference in radio access networks in order to discover and pinpoint interference problems by analyzing the RF over CPRI protocol", he added.

"By fixing these problems, we are helping operators to get more usage out of their infrastructure and spectrum. Interference is sometimes taking away 20% to 30% of the infrastructure's capacity. With our technologies, they can free up this additional capacity which has so much value."

However, the highlight of EXFO's participating in the global mobile event was the acquisition of Astellia, a global leader in the performance analysis of mobile networks and subscriber experience.

"For many of our customers in Middle East, Africa, Europe or America, the combination of Astellia and EXFO in addition to the acquisition of Ontology which we made just over a year ago, is making EXFO one of the top providers of comprehensive platforms for testing, service assurance and automation." said EXFO's founder.

Nowadays, operators are aiming to virtualize and moving towards automation. EXFO is vendor agnostic and thus can work with all the leading vendors to build a performing system in a view to help them virtualize the network for a better quality of experience.

According to Lamonde, this acquisition is of great importance for both companies and will benefit customers most of all: "First and foremost, it will benefit the current customers of Astellia and EXFO. Astellia has built a great relationship with many actors of the industry across the Middle East and Africa. EXFO has more than 30 years of experience, is very solid financially and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ."

Furthermore, being an expert in virtualization, Astellia can help EXFO assist operators in this field. "Astellia brings tremendous capacity for physical network and virtualized environment," said Lamonde.

EXFO is the world leader in fiber optics testing. This technology is essential for any operator who wants real-time performance analysis and to build scalable networks, especially when migrating towards IoT, 5G and NFV/SDN.

EXFO also offers real-time network topology capabilities, which helps operators detect and troubleshoot problems in real time.

"We are also bringing to Astellia's customers the Ontology capability, which is real-time active topology platform and modules. It is difficult for operators to have an accurate view of the network infrastructure. We automatically detect network elements and the services rendered by those elements.

In the coming year, EXFO plans to leverage the benefits of this acquisition and continue to help operators transform their networks.

"EXFO is typically perceived as a strategic adviser. We don't only sell solutions and systems but we also help operators build a better future. By relying on EXFO's expertise and solutions, operators can make the right investments in the right places within their organization and infrastructure."

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