ITU-T FG Cloud concludes fourth meeting: Nanjing, China, 10-13 January 2011

Introduction:

The fourth ITU-T Focus Group on Cloud Computing (FG Cloud) meeting took place in Nanjing, China, from 10 to 13 January, 2011 with 50 contributions presented by representatives of  ITU-T member companies.   Access to FG Cloud documentation is restricted to TIES users, or GUEST users (http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/edh/faqs-guest.html) having registered to FG cloud mailing list.  Excellent progress was made resulting in 6 technical output documents and an ITU-T TSAG report covering the activities of the two Working Groups of the FG Cloud:

WG1: Cloud computing benefits & requirements

WA 1-1 Cloud Definition, Ecosystem & Taxonomy
WA 1-2 Uses cases Requirements & Architecture
WA 1-3 Cloud security
WA 1-4 Infrastructure & Network enabled Cloud
WA 1-5 Cloud Services & Resource Management, Platforms and Middleware
WA 1-6 Cloud computing benefits & first Requirements from ICT perspectives

WG2: Gap Analysis and Roadmap on Cloud Computing Standards development in ITU-T

WA 2-1 Overview of cloud computing SDOs activities
WA 2-2 Gap analysis & Action plan for development of relevant ITU-T Cloud Standard

Backgrounder:

The Focus Group on Cloud Computing (FG Cloud) was established further to ITU-T TSAG agreement at its meeting in Geneva, 8-11 February 2010 followed by ITU-T study groups and membership consultation.  The Focus Group will, from the standardization view points and within the competences of ITU-T, contribute with the telecommunication aspects, i.e., the transport via telecommunications networks, security aspects of telecommunications, service requirements, etc., in order to support services/applications of “cloud computing” making use of telecommunication networks; specifically:

-Identify potential impacts on standards development and priorities for standards needed to promote and facilitate telecommunication/ICT support for cloud computing
-Investigate the need for future study items for fixed and mobile networks in the scope of ITU-T-analyze which components would benefit most from interoperability and standardization
-Familiarize ITU-T and standardization communities with emerging attributes and challenges of telecommunication/ICT support for cloud computing
-Analyze the rate of change for cloud computing attributes, functions and features for the purpose of assessing the appropriate timing of standardization of telecommunication/ICT in support of cloud computing

The Focus Group Cloud will collaborate with worldwide cloud computing communities (e.g., research institutes, forums, and academia) including other SDOs and consortia.  The chairman, Mr. Victor Kutukov (Russia) and the five Vice-chairmen, Jamil Chawki (France Telecom Orange, France), Kangchan Lee (ETRI, Korea), Mingdong Li (ZTE, China), Monique Morrow (Cisco Systems, USA), Koji Nakao (KDDI, Japan) were appointed as the FG Cloud leadership.

Nanjing Meeting Results:

The outputs of this meeting are described in the following documents (again, only accessible to TIES users with user id/password):

1.  Introduction to the cloud ecosystem: definitions, taxonomies, use cases, high level requirements and capabilities.

2.  Functional requirements and reference architecture

3.  nfrastructure and network enabled cloud

4.  Cloud security, threat & requirements

5. Benefits of cloud computing from telecom/ICT perspectives

6. Overview of SDOs involved in cloud computing

As a result of contributions and discussions, the following topics were extracted as a first proposal for cloud candidate study items for ITU-T:

1) Cloud Ecosystem: telecommunication-centric use cases, high level  requirements, business deployment scenarios
2) Security, audit &  cloud privacy
3) Cloud functional Architecture
4) Cloud Networking : Elastic Transport network resources and connectivity
5) Inter-Cloud including cloud federation and brokering
6) Accessibility and Eco-friendly Cloud Computing (environmental benefits)
7) Management and SLAs

In addition to these study items the ITU-T FG Cloud will deliver a general output document for Cloud Definition, Terminology, Ecosystem, use cases and general requirements.

For further information, please visit:  http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/focusgroups/cloud/Pages/default.aspx

Telcordia Is Up for Sale- who will bid for the company?

A History Lesson

As part of the divestiture of the Bell System in 1983, many AT&T Bells Labs engineers were transfered to a new company that was to be the research labs for the seven spun-off RBOCs.  Named Bell Communications Research- or Bellcore for short- the organization was formed January 1,1984.  Over the next several years, Bellcore was very effective in helping their parent companies evaluate, standardize and arcitect new telecommunications technologies, e.g. ISDN, SMDS,  Frame Relay, Software Defined Network, Intelligent Network, etc.  Bellcore’s standards for TL1 – the language of telco network management, and SONET (Synchronous Optical Network Transport) were implemented by every equipment company in those market segments.

But as the RBOCs put less of an emphasis on research and developement there was less need for Bellcore.  So the company was sold to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in 1995.  What SAIC was getting, according to Bellcore’s CEO at the time, was a $650 million-a-year software business and a $350 million-a-year professional services business. The approval process for the deal was arduous, passing muster with seven owners and nine state regulatory agencies, so that the sale was not completed until November 1997.

When SAIC acquired Telcordia,  it was a government contractor, primarily involved in defense, that was generating more than $2.1 billion in annual revenues. Telcordia’s expertise in telecommunications presented SAIC with new areas for growth in the private sector. The company was renamed Telcordia in 1999 to break any claims to its former owners. 

According to Wikipedia, “Telcordia has pioneered many of the telecommunications services used today, including Caller ID, Call Waiting, Mobile number portability and Toll-free telephone number (800) service. Telcordia’s expertise lies in managing large, complex projects across the operations and communications spectrum.”

In 2000, Telcordia was still involved with generic requirements and U.S. standards for SONET (as well as the emerging Optical Transport Network or OTN), but they started to focus more on progressing the back end network management software -often referred to as Operations Support Systems (OSSs) and Billing Support Systems (BSSs) – that they had developed for the RBOCs.  The objective was to sell OSS and BSSs to telcos all over the world. 

For reasons never publicly disclosed, SAI sold Tecordia to Providence Equity Partners and Warburg Pincus in November 2004 for for $1.35 billion.  Those two privaty equity firms hold equal stakes in the company.  

According to the January 14. 2011 Wall Street Journal, those firms have now put Telcordia up for sale again.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703959104576082252304953250.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Fast Forward to the Present: Is Telcordia worth $1.5B asking price?

Susana Schwartz of Connected Planet on-line wrote:

“On the one hand, Telcordia remains a very powerful player in service assurance and fulfillment, thanks to its relationships with AT&T, Qwest, Verizon and Level 3–all of which provide it with steady, predictable revenues (to the tune of about US$300 million/year).

And it has been expanding into new territory –literal and figurative. For one, Telcordia has definitely tried to shift focus to emerging markets like Latin America and India (about 20%of it business is now international). And, it has reached into some new sectors like government and automotive. Surely someone might find value in the fact Telecordia has amassed an enormous amount of intellectual property and expertise in the area of legacy circuit-switched networks.”

http://blog.connectedplanetonline.com/unfiltered/2011/01/21/telcordia-you%E2%80%99ve-come-a-long-way-baby-or-have-you/

The previously referemced WSJ article says that  Telcordia “has a line of next-generation products centered on Internet-protocol-based communications that is expected to bring the lion’s share of revenue in coming years.”  Yet it remains to be seen if that offering will be competitive with IP based management systems being developed by Cisco Systems.

It will be quite interesting to see which companies bid for Telcordia.  It could be to its back end network management competitors (like Oracle, Amdocs, HP, IBM),  a company trying to get into that marketplace, or another private-equity firm.  The referenced WSJ article notes “Carlyle Group bought Syniverse Holdings Inc. another provider of mobile network technology, for $2.6 billion—a multiple of about 11 times Ebitda, a standard measure used to calculate deal value. Carlyle also bought Commscope, a maker of fiber-optic cables, for $3.9 billion.”  Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703959104576082252304953250.html#ixzz1Bod7G4Mz

So it seems to us that Telcordia should fetch at least the $1.5B asking price, but we are not aware of any bids at this time.  The key question is whether they can compete in IP (Internet Protocol- not Intellectual Property) back end network management systems with the many new players, e.g. Cisco, in that marketplace.

WiMAX in India Remains a Puzzle- will it be usurped by TD-LTE?

We’ve written about the huge potential for WiMAX in India for many years, but we still don’t see any broad committment by Indian mobile operators to the technology.  Last year, the Indian government raised over Rs 38,300 crore through the auction of Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum which was expected to be used to deploy mobile WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e-2005).  However, none of the network operators in India has yet made a formal announcement on their plans for offering BWA services or the chosen technology.

Reliance Infotel (the only company with a pan-India license) is doing trials using TD-LTE technology.  So it was anticipated that other operators might also opt for the same technology, but none have announced their intentions to date.

The WiMAX Forum has said they are “not threatened” by TD-LTE, as the market is big enough for both technologies to co-exist.  WiMAX Forum Director of Marketing Declan Byrne recently stated, “We are not threatened by the (TD-LTE) technology. We are actually delivering mobile broadband, while TD-LTE is still under trial. My request to the TD-LTE camp is — this is a big market, let us cooperate to serve it well.  We are hearing a very positive response. Operators are testing equipments (in India) and we remain positive on the market here.”

Yet it remains to be seen whether the companies would deploy TD-LTE, WiMAX or a hybrid-type network (supporting WiMAX in the initial stage with a migration path to TD-LTE).

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/software/india-big-market-for-broadband-wimax/articleshow/7304778.cms

Closing Comment:  Despite the steady growth in India’s mobile subscriber base to over 700 mn, broadband segment remains an area of concern. Although broadband uptake has increased in couple of years yet the penetration level is just 0.74%, lowest in the world. With an increasing focus on wireless broadband it is more likely to present a huge opportunity for all stakeholders in the value chain-operators, Internet service providers, equipment, manufacturers and value added service providers.  This is why India has so much untapped potential for mobile and fixed wireless access!


Addendum

January 2011 WiMAX Forum Industry report:

http://www.wimaxforum.org/resources/monthly-industry-report

Here is a map of Global WiMAX deployments (somewhat difficult to decipher, IMHO).  WiMAX Forum cautions the reader:

“Please note that the numbers below do not necessarily represent total WiMAX networks in existence, but rather the total deployments that we currently track.”

http://www.wimaxmaps.org/

IEEE 802.16m (WiMAX 2.0) Standard to be completed in March; will anyone attend the coming out party?

Report from the Taipei WiMAX Summit

ITU-R had blessed IEEE 802.16m earlier this year, as the first true 4G RAN technology (along with LTE Advanced). That standard is to be finalized and approved in March of this year. The 2011 Taipei WiMAX Summit, held by Taiwan`s Ministry of Economic Affair officials on Jan. 10 at Grand Hotel in conjunction with week-long IEEE 802.16 meeting and WiMAX Forum Global Operator Summit, have drawn over 100 global WiMAX operators to the island. That’s quite positive for the local Taiwanese WiMAX equipment makers. Let’s hope they’re not disappointed!

IEEE 802.16’s Session #71 was held on 10-13 January 2011 in Taipei. This Interim Session of the Working Group was sponsored by ITRI and MediaTek, with Global Mobile providing WiMAX-based network services. The 802.16m editors will prepare a final draft standard – P802.16m/D11- which the 802.16 WG will vote on as a confirmation recirculation ballot for final standard approval.The IEEE 802.16 Session #71 Report summarizes the outcomes: <http://ieee802.org/16/meetings/mtg71/report.html>.

The next IEEE 802.16 meeting (Session #72) will take place on 14-17 March 2011 in Singapore: Here’s the meeting announcement:
http://ieee802.org/16/meetings/mtg72

Other References:

http://viodi.com/2010/10/20/itu-r-progresses-lte-advanced-and-wimax-2-0-as-4g-ran-standards/
http://news.cens.com/cens/html/en/news/news_inner_35072.html

Here’s an upbeat article on WiMAX 2.0 from Taipei:

“The next generation of the WiMAX standard will be commercialized this year, industry officials promised as they gathered in Taiwan for technology meetings last week. WiMAX2, based on the 802.16m standard, will be backwards compatible with the current Mobile WiMAX platform, but with faster data rates, and enhanced security and power efficiency. It will also support wide 20MHz channels.

The Taipei meetings were a prelude to the finalization of the IEEE’s 16m standard in March, which would set the scene for products to appear at the end of this year. The certification and interoperability testing processes, which were lengthy for the current 16e platform, should be far quicker this time, because it is an extension of an existing standard, and because many lessons have been learned about how OFDMA-based devices behave.

[]Once 16m is approved this quarter, manufacturers will be able to pre-install the technology and begin the testing programs. Rakesh Taori, vice chair of the 802.16 working group, told IDG that key enhancements will be better battery life for devices; privacy protection for users and their locations; and the doubling of bandwidth, which will enable data rates that will leapfrog those of LTE and get closer to the goal of ‘true 4G’, at 100Mbps while mobile.

Taiwan’s state-run Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is working closely with 10 local manufacturers to kickstart the uptake of WiMAX2. Taiwan has been a critical player in the WiMAX market, placing the weight of its vast manufacturing community behind the technology and aiming to create a national mobile broadband network based on 16e. This is a technology that Taiwan feels it can influence in IPR terms too, unlike 3GPP standards. An ITRI engineer, Song Ting-chen, said in an interview: “That way we’ll be able to exercise our competitiveness in terms of patents or our manufacturing. Some of our contributions have already been accepted by the international community.”

http://wimaxtaipei.tw/news_headline_detail.php?id=2273

http://www.rethink-wireless.com/2011/01/11/wimax2-commercialized-year.htm

Our Opinion:

We continue to believe that IEEE 802.16m will be a “paper tiger” standard and while the technology specs are impressive, any implementations will be DOA. In particular, we wonder if any large network operator will deploy WiMAX 2.0? Doesn’t look like it will be Sprint or Clearwire, who are testing LTE instead. If it’s just UQ Communications in Japan and a few small Taiwanese carriers, that’s hardly enough to establish volumes of scale (critical mass) that are needed to drive the manufacturing costs down.

Moreover, there don’t seem to be any prototype chips or emulators available for testing WiMAX 2.0 this Spring. And we just heard that WiMAX super cheerleader Intel has closed it’s WiMAX Program Office. So where does that leave WiMAX 2.0 implementations?

Most people don’t want to admit it, but IEEE 802 has consistently failed in producing standards for commercially viable MAN/WAN technologies. The list of failures includes IEEE 802.6 DQDB, 802.3ah Ethernet First Mile (EFM), 802.17 Resilient Packet Rings, 802.20 Mobile Broadband Wireless Access, and 802.22 Cognitive Radio based Regional Area Networks. We think 802.16e-2005 WiMAX 1.0 can succeed as a wireless DSL replacement in developing countries and in rural areas of developed countries.  But it can’t compete with 3G+/LTE which makes it exremely difficult to justify infrastructure for WiMAX 2.0.

Would welcome any challenges to these opinions in the comment box below.

A Two- Tiered Internet is Upon Us!

And why not?  We already pay for premium Internet content, e..g Netflix and other video streaming, WSJ and other on line newspapers/magazines, telco TV, mlb.com, nba.com, nhl.com, etc.  It appears that BT Wholesale and Metro PCs in the U.S. will be introducing two tiered networks where customers will pay more for a higher quality of service.

1.  BT Wholesale”s new service, called Content Connect, will be sold to their UK broadband network provider customers.  It aims to give those network providers tthe opportunity to charge content owners for high quality distribution of their video products to consumers. Sally Davis, head of BT Wholesale, said that by using BT’s new network,broadband providers should be able to reduce their costs partly by cutting spending on “backhaul” connections between telephone exchanges and their core infrastructure.

Ms Davis said broadband providers using BT’s network may be able to give their customers the option to make an on-demand payment for watching a live event such as football. The payment would be in addition to charges associated with watching premium content like live football games. 

Content Connect Key Benefits (according to BT)

-End Users benefit from the new Content Connect product:

•TV video entertainment will be delivered to the home through a broadband line with the option of an enhanced experience including HD internet video on TV.

-ISPs benefit from the new Content Connect product:

•Brings ISPs into the content value chain and allows them to earn revenue from delivering internet video from CSPs .

CSPs benefit from the new Content Connect product:

•CSPs can have their content delivered at a higher quality of service.  

http://www.btwholesale.com/pages/static/Products/Broadband/Wholesale_Content_Connect.html

As one might expect, BT has been sharply criticized for offering Content Connect by advocates of Internet freedom.  They perceive the new BT offering as one of the first steps on the road to a two-tier internet, meaning content providers unwilling or unable to pay extra will be hampered by a slower service.

Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, said the issue comes down to ISPs competing with the internet for content delivery.  “The result could be a fundamental shift away from buying services from the internet to bundled services from ISPs: which would reduce competition and take investment away from internet companies.”

BT defended its decision by saying it should be allowed the freedom to make commercial deals with content providers, such as 4OD and YouTube, to ensure faster delivery.  “We are an enabler – we are not dictating anything,” said the company.  “It will be up to broadcasters, ISPs and content owners to work together to decide on the charging model for a service.”

Proponents of net neutrality argue that fair access to content for all providers is one of the founding principles of the internet, and founding father of the web Tim Berners-Lee is well-known as an outspoken supporter of it.

http://www.broadband-finder.co.uk/news/bt/is-bt-helping-the-shift-towards-a-twotier-internet_800326588.html

2.  Meanwhile, MetroPCS’s “4G LTE” mobile broadband plans, are charging subscribers for content delivery at different rates.  Before selecting a wireless plan with MetroPCS, subscribers have to decide how much content you want access to.  Here’s the breakdown of the three plans MetroPCs is offering:

•The $40 service plan offers unlimited talk, text, 4G Web browsing with unlimited YouTube access. For $40 per month you can watch as many YouTube videos as you like and browse the web freely. But if you try and watch a video through a service other than YouTube it will not play because your plan does not cover it.
•The $50 service plan includes the same unlimited talk, text, 4G Web services and unlimited YouTube access as the $40 plan. Additional features include international and premium text messaging, turn-by-turn navigation with MetroNAVIGATOR™, ScreenIT, mobile instant messaging, corporate e-mail and 1 GB of additional data access, with premium features available through MetroSTUDIO™ when connected via Wi-Fi, including audio capabilities to listen and download music and access to preview and trial video content.
•The $60 service plan provides the same premium features as the $50 plan, plus unlimited data access and MetroSTUDIO premium content such as 18 video-on-demand channels and audio downloads.  Ultimately MetroPCS is only offering a complete Internet experience for $60.
 

The new plans will initially be offered in Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Sacramento and San Francisco. Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa will come online at some point this year.

For more details:  MetroPCS’ New 4G LTE Plans Offer Unprecedented Value and Choice with Prices Starting at Just $40

http://www.metropcs.com/presscenter/newsreleasedetails.aspx?id=1

Also, this article: MetroPCS LTE Plans to Charge More for VoIP & Streaming

http://gigaom.com/2011/01/04/metropcs-lte-plans-charge-more-for-skype-and-streaming/?utm_source=webworkerdaily&utm_medium=specialtopics

3.  What side are you on in this network neutrality vs two tiered Internet paradigm shift?  Please comment in the box below!

Informa: Smartphones generate 65 per cent of all mobile traffic – congestion remedies urgently needed!

Smart Phones Produce Bulk of Mobile Traffic:

According to Informa’s Telecom and Media research unit, smartphone use accounts for 65 per cent of all mobile cellular traffic worldwide.  This, despite smartphone penetration running at just 13 per cent,  The firm predicts smarphone network usage is set to increase exponentially over the next five years’  Informa found the average traffic per smartphone user increasing by 700 per cent by 2015.
Smartphone users across the globe currently average 85MB of traffic per month, with Apple’s iPhone proving the handset on which most
traffic is generated. Devices running the Android OS sit behind the iPhone in terms of traffic generation, and the Google-backed OS will not overtake Apple in this metric, Informa said, because Android will be deployed across low-, mid- and highuser segments.

“The traffic disparity between smartphone and non-smartphone is most pronounced in North America, where 86 per cent of mobile data traffic is currently generated by smartphone users,” said Malik Kamal-Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. Average traffic per user (ATPU) for smartphones in the US is set to hit 776MB/month by 2015, Informa said.

Growth in Western Europe will also be impressive, hitting 736MB/month in 2015, up from less than 44MB/month in 2009. The highest use will remain in the advanced markets of Japan and South Korea, which currently average 199MB/month and 271MB/month.

http://www.informatm.com/content/marlincontent/ITMG/ibctelecoms/matt/MCI/MCI168.pdf

Comment:  We think that the increasing use of tablet PCs (e.g. iPAD), netbooks and eReaders will generate more mobile traffic than smart phones in coming years. 

Coping with the Explosion in Mobile Data Traffic:

How will mobile operators deal with the surge in traffic growth?  Informa’s James Middleton+ believes there are three different approaches to alleviate network congestion:

– Move to LTE

-Employ some kind of offload strategy (femtocells) or network sharing

-Deploy optimization technologies, like compression

“The main consideration is that the traffic problem for many operators has already arrived—or will do very soon—and LTE is somewhat expensive and also has a long rollout cycle. An offload strategy may be more affordable and quicker to roll out but it will still take some time to complete. Which leaves us with optimisation, a system which is cheaper still and could potentially be deployed within weeks or months.”

*See Informa article: Traffic Police, which may be accesed from the above url, 

Our Opinion: 

Here’s our list of congestion avoidance methods: offloading mobile traffic to WiFi hot spots and femtocells, acquiring more spectrum, shrinking cell size which permits more frequency re-use, moving to OFDMA technologies (like LTE and mobile WiMAX), creating Self Organizing Networks (SONs) that reassign subscribers to base stations based on existing network load and avoiding congestion, using compression on video and large data files, and invoking some form of QoS/ traffic class management.

If there’s sufficient reader interest, I’ll wirte an article expaning on this important issue.  Please let me know!

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