Gartner Group: SD-WAN Survey Yields Surprises

by Danellie Young | Ted Corbett | Lisa Pierce

Introduction:

A Gartner-conducted software-defined (SD)-WAN survey has identified the key drivers for SD-WAN adoption and preferences for managed services from non-carrier providers. Despite its relative immaturity, the perceived benefits create incentives for IT leaders responsible for networking to leap into SD-WAN pilots now.

Editor’s Note:  Please refer to our report on IHS-Markit analysis of the SD-WAN market. Cisco and VMware are the top two vendors due to recent acquisitions of Viptela and Velocloud respectively. Cisco also bought Meraki which provides a SD-WAN solution as well as business WiFi networks.

Key Findings:

  • Enterprise clients cite increased network availability, reliability and reduced WAN costs resulting from less-expensive transport as the top benefits of software-defined WAN.
  • Enterprise clients are concerned about the large number of SD-WAN vendors and anticipate market consolidation, making some early choices risky.
  • A lack of familiarity with the technology, the instability of the vendors, and skepticism about performance and reliability are the most common concerns when deploying SD-WAN.
  • Nearly two-thirds of the organizations we surveyed prefer buying managed SD-WAN, demonstrating a preference for presales and postsales support. A preference for type of managed service provider does not align with legacy carrier MSP adoption rates.

Recommendations:

To maximize new SD-WAN opportunities, infrastructure and operations leaders planning new networking architectures should:

  • Include SD-WAN solutions on their shortlists if they’re aggressively migrating apps to the public cloud, building hybrid WANs, refreshing branch WAN equipment and/or renegotiating a managed network service contract.
  • Include a diverse range of management solutions related to SD-WAN considerations; don’t just look at carrier offers to determine the best option available to meet enterprise requirements.
  • Compare each vendor’s current features and roadmaps with enterprise requirements to develop a shortlist, and use pilots and customer references to confirm providers’ ability to deliver on the most desirable features and functionality.
  • Focus pilots on specific, critical success factors and negotiate contract terms and conditions to support service configuration changes, fast site roll-out and granular application reporting.
  • Negotiate flexible WAN or managed WAN services contract clauses to support evolution to SD-WAN when appropriate.

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Gartner has forecast SD-WAN to grow at a 59% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2021 to become a $1.3 billion market (see Figure 1 and “Forecast: SD-WAN and Its Impact on Traditional Router and MPLS Services Revenue, Worldwide, 2016-2020” ). Simultaneously, the overall branch office router market is forecast to decline at a −6.3% CAGR and the legacy router segment will suffer a −28.1% CAGR through 2020.

SD-WAN equipment and services dramatically simplify the complexity associated with the management and configuration of WANs. They provide branch-office connectivity in a simplified and cost-effective manner, compared with traditional routers. These solutions enable traffic to be distributed across multiple WAN connections in an efficient and dynamic fashion, based on performance and/or application-based policies.

The survey data highlights that most of the respondent organizations are in the early stages of their SD-WAN projects. To qualify, respondents must be involved in choosing, implementing and/or managing network services and equipment for their company’s sites, while their primary role in the organization is IT-focused or IT-business-focused. We intentionally searched for companies that plan to use or are using SD-WAN. Of those surveyed, 93% plan to use SD-WAN within two years or are piloting and deploying now, with approximately 73% in pilot or deployment mode. These results do not reflect actual market adoption rates, because Gartner estimates that between 1% and 5% of enterprises have deployed SD-WAN. Although the results differ numerically, the qualitative feedback is compelling.

Related to specific number of sites, the responses are shown in Figure below:

Enlarge Image

Respondents using SD-WAN; n = 21 (small sample size; results are indicative).  Totals may not add up to 100%, due to rounding.

Source: Gartner Group (November 2017)

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SD-WAN Concerns

Enterprises cite their lack of deep technology familiarity as a key barrier to using SD-WAN. In fact, of those who plan for SD-WAN, nearly 50% have concerns about their lack of technical familiarity, followed by concerns over the stability of vendors and concerns about performance and reliability. 

Editor’s Note: Surprisingly, enterprises don’t seem to be concerned with the lack of SD-WAN standards which dictates a single vendor solution/lock-in.

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With more than 30 SD WAN vendors in the market and consolidation accelerating, this doesn’t come as a surprise.

Other key findings include:

  • Vendor stability is a major concern. Among the 51% of respondents who selected performance and reliability as key drivers (n = 44), nearly half (45%) had concerns about the stability of the vendors.
  • Many among the 50% who see agility as a key driver (n = 36) expressed concern about their lack of familiarity with the technology.
  • Among organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees (n = 53), the most common concern is lack of familiarity with the technology (51%). Organizations with 1,000 to 9,999 employees (n = 38) find the ROI of the investment to be most common challenge (50%).
  • Among the EMEA respondents (n = 48), half were most concerned about the stability of the vendors, followed closely by concerns about proven performance and reliability.

To purchase the complete Gartner SD-WAN report go to; 

https://www.gartner.com/doc/3829464/survey-analysis-early-findings-yield

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References:

 Technology Insight for Software-Defined WAN [SD-WAN]

IHS-Markit: 15% Drop in Global Optical Network Equipment Sales; Cisco and VMware are SD-WAN market leaders

http://sd-wan.cloudgenix.com/Q217GartnerTechInsightforSD-WANSearch_registration.html

http://blog.ntt-sdwan.com/post/102ekiu/sd-wan-momentum-five-trends-to-look-out-for-in-2018

Broadband Forum’s vBG network spec targeted at SD-WANs; led by ONUG

Highlights of IDTechExpo: IoT Sessions & Exhibits: November 15-16, 2017

Introduction:

The Internet of Things (IoT) will connect existing systems and then augment those by connecting more things, thanks to wireless sensor networks and other technologies. Things on the ‘edge’ form mesh networks and can make their own automated decisions.  This article reviews key messages from conference technical sessions on IoT connectivity and describes a new Wireless Mesh Sensor network which is an extension of IEEE 802.15.4.

NOTE:  This post will be updated with illustrations and comments once I can get files converted to jpeg or jpg

 

Sessions Attended:

1. Overcoming Adoption Barriers To Achieve Mass IIoT Deployment, Iotium

Early adopters are realizing the complexities involved in scalable mass deployment of Industrial IoT. These includes deployment complexities, security issues starting from hardware root of trust to OS, network, cloud security and application vulnerabilities, and extensibility. This session will focus on these 3 areas in-depth to help you successfully deploy your own IIoT strategy.

2.  Overcoming The Connectivity Challenge Limiting IoT Innovation, Helium

The hardware and application layers of IoT systems are supported by robust, mature markets, with devices tailored for any use case and pre-built infrastructure platforms from Microsoft, Google and AWS.   But the connectivity layer, without which the entire system is useless, still has numerous challenges. It takes too much knowledge and time to get data from sensors to apps that most staffs don’t have.   The speaker discussed a streamlined, secure approach to connectivity that will make building a wireless IoT network as easy as designing a mobile app, thereby removing the greatest barrier to mass IoT adoption.

3.  Whitelabel The Future: How Platforms Will Streamline The IoT Revolution, Pod Group

As expectations tend towards personalized, data-driven services, responding immediately to market changes is becoming a key differentiator, creating the need for mutual insight on both sides of the market. Whitelabelled platforms are an effective intermediary, allowing unprecedented levels of customer interaction and paving the way for truly end-to-end IoT systems.

4.  From Disappointing To Delightful: How To build With IoT, Orange IoT Studio

Many engineers, designers and business folks want to work with IoT devices, but don’t know where to begin. Come learn which mistakes to avoid and which best practices to copy as you integrate with IoT or build your own IoT products. This presentation examines the consistent, systematic ways that IoT tends to fail and delight. The talk explained what makes IoT unique, and examined why it’s not at all easy to classify IoT platforms and devices.

5. Many Faces Of LPWAN (emphasizing LoRaWAN), Multi-Tech Systems 

Until recently, most M2M and Internet of Things (IoT) applications have relied on high-speed cellular and wired networks for their wide area connectivity. Today, there are a number of IoT applications that will continue to require higher-bandwidth, however others may be better suited for low-power wide-area  network options that not only compliment traditional cellular networks, but also unlock new market potential by reducing costs and increasing the flexibility of solution deployments.

Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN)s are  designed to allow long range communications at low bit rates. Ideally suited to connected objects such as sensors and things operating on battery power and communicating at low bit rates, the foregoing two characteristics distinguish LPWAN from the wireless WAN used for IT functions.  Many LPWAN alternatives have emerged – some use licensed spectrum such as ITU-R LTE Cat-M1 and 3GPP NB-IoT, while other alternatives such as LoRaWAN™ are based on as specification from the LoRA Alliance and uses unlicensed  industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) radio band/spectrum.

IoT has many challenges – from choosing the right device, to adding connectivity and then managing those devices and the data they generate. Here are just a few IoT connectivity challenges:

  • Long battery life (5+ yrs) requires low power WAN interface
  • Low cost communications (much lower than cellular data plans)
  • Range and in-building penetration
  • Operation in outdoor and harsh environments
  • Low cost infrastructure
  • Robust communications
  • Permits mobility
  • Scalable to thousands of nodes/devices
  • Low touch management and provisioning – Easy to attach assets
  • Highly fragmented connectivity due to a proliferation of choices

Vinnie:  Insert slides 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 here. Then delete this place holder

6. What Makes a City Smart? Totem Power

The framework necessary to build holistic infrastructure that leverages capabilities essential to realizing the full potential of smart cities – concepts including curbside computing power, advanced energy resiliency and ubiquitous connectivity.

An interesting observation was that fiber trenches being dug to facilitate 5G backhaul for small cells and macro cells could accommodate electrical wiring for power distribution and charging of electronic vehicles within the city limits.

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At it’s booth, Analog Devices/ Linear Technology displayed an exhibit of SmartMesh® – a Wireless Mesh Sensor Network that was based on a now proprietary extension of IEEE 802.15.4 [1]. SmartMesh® wireless sensor networking products are chips and pre-certified PCB modules complete with mesh networking software; enabling sensors to communicate in tough Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) environments.

Note 1. IEEE 802.15.4 is a standard which defines the operation of low-rate wireless personal area networks (LR-WPANs) via PHY and MAC layers.  It focuses on low-cost, low-speed ubiquitous communication between devices.

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The Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) wireless sensor networks (WSNs) must support a large number of nodes while meeting stringent communications requirements in rugged industrial environments. Such networks must operate reliably more than ten years without intervention and be scalable to enable business growth and increasing data traffic over the lifetime of the network.

More information on SmartMesh® is here.

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References:

https://www.idtechex.com/internet-of-things-usa/show/en/

https://www.idtechex.com/internet-of-things-usa/show/en/agenda

http://www.linear.com/dust_networks/

 

Ericsson Files 5G Patent; Teams up with Bharti Airtel on 5G Evolution & Massive MIMO

1.  Ericsson Files End-to-End “5G” Patent Application:

Ericsson has filed what it is calling a “landmark” end-to-end “5G” patent application incorporating numerous inventions from the vendor.

The patent application combines the work of 130 Ericsson inventors and contains the vendor’s complementary suite of 5G innovations.

“[The application] contains everything you need to build a complete 5G network – from devices, the overall network architecture, the nodes in the network, methods and algorithms, but also shows how to connect all this together into one fully functioning network,” Ericsson principal researcher Dr Stefan Parkvall said.

“The inventions in this application will have a huge impact on industry and society: they will provide low latency with high performance and capacity. This will enable new use cases like the Internet of Things, connected factories and self-driving cars,” he added.

Ericsson has filed a worldwide patent with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and a U.S. patent with the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO).

Reference:

https://www.telecomasia.net/content/ericsson-files-end-end-5g-patent-application

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2.  Ericsson & Bharti Airtel “5G” Partnership:

“Ericsson will work with Bharti Airtel on creating a strategic roadmap for evolution of the (wireless) network to the next-gen 5G technology,” Ericsson Senior Vice President and Head of Market Area South East Asia, Oceania and India, Nunzio Mirtillo told reporters in New Delhi, India, according to the Economic Times (see references below).

On Friday November 17th, Ericsson showcased the first live “5G” end-to-end demonstration here using its 5G test bed and 5G New Radio (“NR” specified by 3GPP).

The company already has 36 such MoUs with global telecom operators. Under these agreements, Ericsson is trialing 5G technology and other solutions across verticals with these telcos.

Ericsson had earlier said that timely deployment plan for 3.3-3.6GHz band is crucial for the 5G network rollout in India. The band has already been identified as the primary band for the introduction of 5G services in the country before 2020.

Ericsson India Country Manager Nitin Bansal said, ” Besides telcos, startups, enterprises and academia have to come together to develop 5G use cases in India.”

Mr. Bansal said that Ericsson through its partnership with IIT-Delhi is evaluating 5G use cases around Healthcare, automotive and education verticals.

Earlier this year, Bharti Airtel had inked a similar pact with telecom gear maker Nokia to expand their partnership to areas like 5G technology standard and management of connected devices.  Hence, it remains to be seen if both wireless network equipment vendors will be supplying base stations to Bharti Airtel.

India plans to roll out 5G services for consumers by 2020 and to achieve that objective, the government has this week set up a high-level forum that will evaluate and approve road maps and action plans to bring in the latest technology in the country.

References:

https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/ericsson-bharti-airtel-ink-pact-for-5g-technology/61690369

https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/ericsson-says-in-talks-with-indian-telcos-on-5g-partnerships/61687067

 Operators around the globe gearing up for 5G: Ericsson survey

 

IHS-Markit: 15% Drop in Global Optical Network Equipment Sales; Cisco and VMware are SD-WAN market leaders

  1. Optical Network Equipment Market:

IHS-Markit reports that the optical network equipment market slumped 3% in the third quarter from the same period last year.  Huawei was #1 in optical network sales, followed by Ciena, which ranked first in North America where Huawei isn’t permitted to sell its gear.

Highlights:

  • In the third quarter of 2017 (Q3 2017), the global optical equipment market declined 15 percent quarter over quarter and 3 percent year over year as North America, Latin America and EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) experienced significant reductions in spending; the Asia Pacific region was up 2 percent on a year-over-year basis
  • The metro wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) segment was down slightly in Q3 2017 from the prior quarter but increased 3 percent from a year ago; long-haul WDM declined 9 percent year over year
  • Huawei remained the worldwide optical equipment market leader in Q3 2017; Ciena was the number-two optical equipment vendor by revenue globally and maintained its number-one position in North America

IHS-Markit analysis:

The worldwide optical equipment market declined 15 percent sequentially and 3 percent year over year in Q3 2017 as soft growth in the Asia Pacific region was not sufficient to offset the declines in EMEA, North America and Latin America.

Recent performance in some corners of the optical components market has many in the industry looking to the market in China and questioning whether it can sustain the high investment levels seen over the past 18 months. While China was indeed down sharply sequentially as is typical for the quarter, it did manage to stay in growth territory on a year-over-year basis. Recent bid activity in China indicates that further significant investments in backbone and provincial networks are still ahead.

In Q3 2017, the WDM equipment segment declined 15 percent from the prior quarter and was down 2 percent from a year ago. The metro WDM segment fell slightly quarter over quarter, but increased 3 percent year over year, supporting our view that this will be the main growth vector for the market moving forward. The long-haul segment sank 23 percent quarter over quarter and was down 9 percent year over year. Subsea revenue also declined both sequentially and on a year-over-year basis in Q3 2017.

Huawei remained the optical equipment market leader in Q3 2017 despite a significant seasonal drop in revenue both sequentially and year over year. Tepid spending in Western Europe was responsible for a large part of Huawei’s overall decline in the quarter. Ciena moved back up to the number-two position worldwide for Q3 2017. The company continues to be the dominant optical equipment vendor in North America, and it also made notable progress outside its home market in Q3 2017 with strong year-over-year gains in EMEA, Latin America and Asia Pacific.

Analyst Quotes:

“The metro WDM segment fell slightly quarter over quarter, but increased 3% year over year, supporting our view that this will be the main growth vector for the market moving forward,” report author Heidi Adams said.

“Huawei remained the optical equipment market leader in Q3 2017 despite a significant seasonal drop in revenue both sequentially and year over year,” Adams said. “Tepid spending in Western Europe was responsible for a large part of Huawei’s overall decline in the quarter.”

Ciena “continues to be the dominant optical equipment vendor in North America, and it also made notable progress outside its home market in Q3 2017 with strong year-over-year gains in EMEA, Latin America and Asia Pacific,” Adams added.

Optical report synopsis:

The IHS Markit optical network hardware report tracks the global market for metro and long-haul WDM and Synchronous Optical Networking (SONET)/Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) equipment, Ethernet optical ports, SONET/SDH ports and WDM ports. The report provides market size, market share, forecasts through 2021, analysis and trends.

References:

https://technology.ihs.com/597065/optical-network-hardware-market-cools-off-in-q3-2017

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Related article:

Optical Networks Booming in India

 

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2. SD-WAN Market:

IHS Markit offered a much more bullish assessment for software-defined (SD) WAN vendors.

Consolidation and acquisitions are well underway in the software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) market as vendors race to include SD-WAN technology in their offerings. Following Cisco’s acquisition of Viptela, VMware carried out its own acquisition of VeloCloud, the SD-WAN revenue leader in the first half of 2017, for an undisclosed amount.

“VMware and Cisco have acquired the two SD-WAN market share leaders, making the SD-WAN market a two-horse race for the number-one spot,” said Cliff Grossner, PhD and senior research director/advisor for cloud and data center markets at IHS Markit.  “And we could see even more consolidation as vendors set out to add SD‑WAN to their capability sets, especially since the technology is key to supporting connectivity in the multi-clouds that enterprises are building.”

According to the IHS Markit Data Center and Enterprise SDN Hardware and Software Biannual Market Tracker, SD-WAN is currently a small market, totaling just $137 million worldwide in the first half of 2017 (H1 2017). However, global SD-WAN hardware and software revenue is forecast to reach $3.3 billion by 2021 as service providers partner with SD-WAN vendors to deploy overlay solutions — and as virtual network function (VNF)–based solutions become more closely integrated with carrier operations support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS).

“Currently, the majority of SD-WAN revenue is from appliances, with early deployments focused on rolling out devices at branch offices,” Grossner said. “Moving forward, we expect a larger portion of SD-WAN revenue to come from control and management software as users increasingly adopt application visibility and analytics services.”

More highlights from the IHS Markit data center and enterprise SDN report:

  • Globally, data center and enterprise software-defined networking (SDN) revenue for in-use SDN-capable Ethernet switches, SDN controllers and SD-WAN increased 5.4 percent in H1 2017 from H2 2016, to $1.93 billion
  • Based on in-use SDN revenue, Cisco was the number-one market share leader in the SDN market in H1 2017, followed by Arista, White Box, VMware and Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Looking at the individual SDN categories in H1 2017, White Box was the front runner in bare metal switch revenue, VMware led the SDN controller market segment, Dell held 45 percent of branded bare metal switch revenue and Hewlett Packard Enterprise had the largest share of total SDN-capable (in-use and not-in-use) branded Ethernet switch ports

Reference:

https://technology.ihs.com/597071/sd-wan-market-a-two-horse-race-between-cisco-and-vmware-ihs-markit-says

 

Highlights of 2017 Telecom Infrastructure Project (TIP) Summit

Executive Summary:

The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is gaining a lot of awareness and market traction, judging by last week’s very well attended TIP Summit at the Santa Clara Convention Center.  The number of telecom network operators presented was very impressive, especially considering that none were from the U.S. with the exception of AT&T, which presented on behalf of the Open Compute Project (OCP) Networking Group.   It was announced at the summit that the OCP Networking group had formed an alliance with TIP.

The network operators that presented or were panelists included representatives from:  Deutsche Telekom AG, Telefonica, BT, MTN Group (Africa),  Bharti Airtel LTD (India), Reliance Jio (India), Vodafone, Turkcell (Turkey), Orange, SK Telecom, TIM Brasil, etc.  Telecom Italia, NTT, and others were present too.   Cable Labs – the R&D arm of the MSOs/cablecos – was represented in a panel where they announced a new TIP Community Lab (details below).

Facebook co-founded TIP along with Intel, Nokia, Deutsche Telekom, and SK Telecom at the 2016 Mobile World Congress event.  Like the OCP (also started by Facebook), its mission is to dis-aggregate network hardware into modules and define open source software building blocks. As its name implies, TIP’s focus is telecom infrastructure specific in its work to develop and deploy new networking technologies. TIP members include more than 500 companies, including telcos, Internet companies, vendors, consulting firms and system integrators.  Membership seems to have grown exponentially in the last year.

Image result for quotes from 2017 Telecom Infrastructure Project (TIP) summit

During his opening keynote speech, Axel Clauberg, VP of technology and innovation at Deutsche Telekom and chairman of the TIP Board of Directors, announced that three more operators had joined the TIP Board: BT, Telefonica, and Vodafone.

“TIP is truly operator-focused,” Clauberg said. “It’s called Telecom Infrastructure Project, and I really count on the operators to continue contributing to TIP and to take us to new heights.” That includes testing and deploying the new software and hardware contributed to TIP, he added.

“My big goal for next year is to get into the deployment stage,” Clauberg said. “We are working on deployable technology. [In 2018] I want to be measured on whether we are successfully entering that stage.”

Jay Parikh, head of engineering and infrastructure at Facebook, echoed that TIP’s end goal is deployments, whether it is developing new technologies, or supporting the ecosystem that will allow them to scale.

“It is still very early. Those of you who have been in the telco industry for a long time know that it does not move lightning fast. But we’re going to try and change that,” Parikh said.

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TIP divides its work into three areas — access, backhaul, and core & management — and each of the project groups falls under one of those three areas.  Several new project groups were announced at the summit:

  • Artificial Intelligence and applied Machine Learning (AI/ML): will focus on using machine learning and automation to help carriers keep pace with the growth in network size, traffic volume, and service complexity. It will also work to accelerate deployment of new over-the-top services, autonomous vehicles, drones, and augmented reality/virtual reality.
  • End-to-End Network Slicing (E2E-NS): aims to create multiple networks that share the same physical infrastructure. That would allow operators to dedicate a portion of their network to a certain functionality and should make it easier for them to deploy 5G-enabled applications.
  • openRAN: will develop RAN technologies based on General Purpose Processing Platforms (GPPP) and disaggregated software.

The other projects/working groups are the following:

  • Edge Computing: This group is addressing system integration requirements with innovative, cost-effective and efficient end-to-end solutions that serve rural and urban regions in optimal and profitable ways.
  •  This group is pioneering a 60GHz wireless networking system to deliver gigabits of capacity in dense, urban environments more quickly, easily and at a lower cost than deploying fiber.  A contribution was made to IEEE 802.11ay task force this year on use cases for mmW backhaul.

TIP-WS_MWC_Contribution_MMWave_Ku_v.001

Above illustration courtesy of TIP mmW Networks Group

  • Open Optical Packet Transport:  This project group will define Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) open packet transport architecture that triggers new innovation and avoids implementation lock-ins. Open DWDM systems include open line system & control, transponder & network management and packet-switch and router technologies.
  • The Working Group is focused on enabling carriers to more efficiently deliver new services and applications by using mobile edge computing (MEC) to turn the RAN network edge (mobile, fixed, licensed and unlicensed spectrum) into an open media and service hub.
  • The project is pioneering a virtualized RAN (VRAN) solution comprised of low-cost remote radio units that can be managed and dynamically reconfigured by a centralized infrastructure over non-ideal transport.
  • project group will develop an open RAN architecture by defining open interfaces between internal components and focusing on the lab activity with various companies for multi-vendor interoperability. The goal is to broaden the mobile ecosystem of related technology companies to drive a faster pace of innovation.

A complete description, with pointers/hyperlinks to respective project/work group charters is in the TIP Company Member Application here.

TEACs –  Innovation Centers for TIP:

Also of note was the announcement of several new TEACs – TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Centers, where start-ups and investors can work together with incumbent network operators to progress their respective agendas for telecom infrastructure.

The TIP website comments on the mission of the TEACs:

“By bringing together the key actors – established operators, cutting-edge startups, and global & local investors – TEACs establish the necessary foundation to foster collaboration, accelerate trials, and bring deployable infrastructure solutions to the telecom industry.”

TEACs are located in London (BT), Paris (Orange), and Seoul (SK Telecom). .

TIP Community Labs:

TIP Community Labs are physical spaces that enable collaboration between member companies in a TIP project group to develop telecom infrastructure solutions. While the labs are dedicated to TIP projects and host TIP project teams, the space and basic equipment are sponsored by individual TIP member companies hosting the space.  The labs are located in: Seoul, South Korea (sponsored by SK Telecom); Bonn, Germany (sponsored by Deutsche Telekom); Menlo Park, California, USA (sponsored by Facebook). Coming Soon Rio de Janiero, Brazil – to be sponsored by TIM Brasil.  At this summit, Cable Labs announced it will soon open a TIP Community Lab in Louisville, CO.

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Selected Quotes:

AT&T’s Tom Anschutz (a very respected colleague) said during his November 9th – 1pm keynote presentation:

“Network functions need to be disaggregated and ‘cloudified.’  We need to decompose monolithic, vertically integrated systems into building blocks; create abstraction layers that hide complexity.  Design code and hardware as independent modules that don’t bring down the entire IT system/telecom network if they fail.”

Other noteworthy quotes:

“We’re going to build these use-case demonstrations,” said Mansoor Hanif, director of converged networks and innovation at BT. “If you’re going to do something as difficult and complex as network slicing, you might as well do it right.”

“This is the opening of a system that runs radio as a software on top of general purpose processes and interworks with independent radio,” said Santiago Tenorio, head of networks at Vodafone Group. The project will work to reduce the costs associated with building mobile networks and make it easier for smaller vendors to enter the market.  “By opening the system will we get a lower cost base? Definitely yes,” absolutely yes,” Tenorio added.

“Opening up closed, black-box systems enables innovation at every level, so that customers can meet the challenges facing their networks faster and more efficiently,” said Josh Leslie, CEO of Cumulus Networks. “We’re excited to work with the TIP community to bring open systems to networks beyond the data center.” [See reference press release from Cumulus below].

“Open approaches are key to achieving TIP’s mission of disaggregating the traditional network deployment approach,” said Hans-Juergen Schmidtke, Co-Chair of the TIP Open Optical Packet Transport project group. “Our collaboration with Cumulus Networks to enable Cumulus Linux on Voyager (open packet DWDM architecture framework and white box transponder design) is an important contribution that will help accelerate the ecosystem’s adoption of Voyager.”

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Closing Comments:  Request for Reader Inputs!

  1.  What’s really interesting is that there are no U.S. telco members of TIP.  Bell Canada is the only North American telecom carrier among its 500 members. Equinix and Cable Labs are the only quasi- network operator members in the U.S.
  2. Rather than write a voluminous report which few would read, we invite readers to contact the author or post a comment on areas of interest after reviewing the 2017 TIPS Summit agenda.

 

References:

TIP Summit 2017

An Update from TIP Summit 2017

News

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171108005571/en/Cumulus-Networks-Telecom-Infra-Project-TIP-Collaborate

https://www.devex.com/news/telecom-industry-tries-new-tactics-to-connect-the-unconnected-91492

 

 

AT&Ts Perspective on Edge Computing from Fog World Congress

Introduction:

In her October 31st keynote at the Fog World Congress, Alicia Abella, PhD and Vice President – Advanced Technology Realization at AT&T, discussed the implications of edge computing (EC) for network service providers, emphasizing that it will make the business case for 5G realizable when low latency is essential for real time applications (see illustration below).

The important trends and key drivers for edge computing were described along with AT&T’s perspective of its “open network” edge computing architecture emphasizing open source software modules.

Author’s Note:  Ms. Abella did not distinguish between edge and fog computing nor did she even mention the latter term during her talk.  We tried to address definitions and fog network architecture in this post.  An earlier blog post quoted AT&T as being “all in” for edge computing to address low latency next generation applications.

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AT&T Presentation Highlights:

  • Ms. Abella defined EC as the placement of processing and storage resources at the perimeter of a service provider’s network in order to deliver low latency applications to customers.  That’s consistent with the accepted definition.

“Edge compute is the next step in getting more out of our network, and we are busy putting together an edge computing (network) architecture,” she said.

  • “5G-like” applications will be the anchor tenant for network provider’s EC strategy.  augmented reality/virtual reality, Multi-person real time video conferencing, and autonomous vehicles were a few applications cited in the illustration below:

Above illustration courtesy of AT&T.

“Size, location, configuration of EC resources will vary, depending on capacity demand and use cases,”  said Ms. Abella.

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  • Benefits of EC to network service providers include:
  1. Reduce backhaul traffic
  2. Maintain quality of experience for customers
  3. Reduce cost by decomposing and disaggregating access function
  4. Optimize current central office infrastructure
  5. Improve reliability of the network by distributing content between the edge and centralized data centers
  6. Deliver innovative services not possible without edge compute, e.g. Industrial IoT autonomous vehicles, smart cities, etc

“In order to achieve some of the latency requirements of these [5G applications?] services a service provider needs to place IT resources at the edge of the network. Especially, when looking at autonomous vehicles where you have mission critical safety requirements. When we think about the edge, we’re looking at being able to serve these low latency requirements for those [real time] applications.”

  • AT&T has “opened our network” to enable new services and reduce operational costs.  The key attributes are the following:
  1. Modular architecture
  2. Robust network APIs
  3. Policy management
  4. Shared infrastructure for simplification and scaling
  5. Network Automation platform achieved using INDIGO on top of ONAP
  • AT&T will offer increased network value and adaptability as traffic volumes change:
  1. Cost/performance leadership
  2. Improved speed to innovation
  3. Industry leading security, performance, reliability

“We are busy thinking about and putting together what that edge compute architecture would look like. It’s being driven by the need for low latency.”

In terms of where, physically, edge computing and storage is located:

“It depends on the use case. We have to be flexible when defining this edge compute architecture. There’s a lot of variables and a lot of constraints. We’re actually looking at optimization methods.  We want to deploy edge compute nodes in mobile data centers, in buildings, at customers’ locations and in our central offices. Where it will be depends on where there is demand, where we have spectrum, we are developing methods for optimizing the locations.  We want to be able to place those nodes in a place that will minimize cost to us (AT&T), while maintaining quality of experience. Size, location and configuration is going to depend on capacity demand and the use cases,” Alicia said.

  • Optimization of EC processing to meet latency constraints may require GPUs and FPGAs in additional to conventional microprocessors.  One such application cite was running video analytics for surveillance cameras.
  • Real time control of autonomous vehicles would require a significant investment in roadside IT infrastructure but have an uncertain return-on-investment. AT&T now has 12 million smart cars on its network, a number growing by a million per quarter.
  • We need to support different connectivity to the core network and use “SDN” within the site.
  • Device empowerment at the edge must consider that while mobile devices (e.g. smart phones and tablets) are capable of executing complex tasks, they have been held back by battery life and low power requirements.
  • Device complexity means higher cost to manufacturers and consumers.
  • Future of EC may include “crowd sourcing computing power in your pocket.”  The concept here is to distribute the computation needed over many people’s mobile devices and compensate them via Bitcoin, other crypto currency or asset class.  Block chain may play a role here.

TC3 Update on CORD (Central Office Re-architected as a Data center)

Introduction:

Timon Sloane of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) provided an update on project CORD on November 1st at the Telecom Council’s Carrier Connections (TC3) summit in Mt View, CA.  The session was titled:

Spotlight on CORD: Transforming Operator Networks and Business Models

After the presentation, Sandhya Narayan of Verizon and Tom Tofigh of AT&T came up to the stage to answer a few audience member questions (there was no real panel session).

The basic premise of CORD is to re-architect a telco/MSO central office to have the same or similar architecture of a cloud resident data center.  Not only the central office, but also remote networking equipment in the field (like an Optical Line Termination unit or OLT) are decomposed and disaggregated such that all but the most primitive functions are executed by open source software running on a compute server.  The only hardware is the Physical layer transmission system which could be optical fiber, copper, or cellular/mobile.

Author’s Note:  Mr. Sloane didn’t mention that ONF became involved in project CORD when it merged with ON.Labs earlier this year. At that time, the ONOS and CORD open source projects became ONF priorities.  The Linux Foundation still lists CORD as one of their open source projects, but it appears the heavy lifting is being done by the new ONF as per this press release.

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Backgrounder:

A reference implementation of CORD combines commodity servers, white-box switches, and disaggregated access technologies with open source software to provide an extensible service delivery platform. This gives network operators (telcos and MSOs) the means to configure, control, and extend CORD to meet their operational and business objectives. The reference implementation is sufficiently complete to support field trials.

Illustration above is from the OpenCord website

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Highlights of Timon Sloane’s CORD Presentation at TC3:

  • ONF has transformed over the last year to be a network operator led consortium.
  • SDN, Open Flow, ONOS, and CORD are all important ONF projects.
  • “70% of world wide network operators are planning to deploy CORD,” according to IHS-Markit senior analyst Michael Howard (who was in the audience- see his question to Verizon below).
  • 80% of carrier spending is in the network edge (which includes the line terminating equipment and central office accessed).
  • The central office (CO) is the most important network infrastructure for service providers (AKA telcos, carriers and network operators, MSO or cablecos, etc).
  • The CO is the service provider’s gateway to customers.
  • End to end user experience is controlled by the ingress and egress COs (local and remote) accessed.
  • Transforming the outdated CO is a great opportunity for service providers.  The challenge is to turn the CO into a cloud like data center.
  • CORD mission is the enable the “edge cloud.”                                               –>Note that mission differs from the OpenCord website which states:

    “Our mission is to bring datacenter economies and cloud agility to service providers for their residential, enterprise, and mobile customers using an open reference implementation of CORD with an active participation of the community. The reference implementation of CORD will be built from commodity servers, white-box switches, disaggregated access technologies (e.g., vOLT, vBBU, vDOCSIS), and open source software (e.g., OpenStack, ONOS, XOS).” 

  • A CORD like CO infrastructure is built using commodity hardware, open source software, and white boxes (e.g. switch/routers and compute servers).
  • The agility of a cloud service provider depends on software platforms that enable rapid creation of new services- in a “cloud-like” way. Network service providers need to adopt this same model.
  • White boxes provide subscriber connections with control functions virtualized in cloud resident compute servers.
  • A PON Optical Line Termination Unit (OLT) was the first candidate chosen for CORD.  It’s at the “leaf of the cloud,” according to Timon.
  • 3 markets for CORD are:  Mobile (M-), Enterprise (E-), and Residential (R-).  There is also the Multi-Service edge which is a new concept.
  • CORD is projected to be a $300B market (source not stated).
  • CORD provides opportunities for: application vendors (VNFs, network services, edge services, mobile edge computing, etc), white box suppliers (compute servers, switches, and storage), systems integrators (educate, design, deploy, support customers, etc).
  • CORD Build Event was held November 7-9, 2017 in San Jose, CA.  It explored CORD’s mission, market traction, use cases, and technical overview as per this schedule.

Service Providers active in CORD project:

  • AT&T:  R-Cord (PON and g.fast), Multi-service edge-CORD, vOLTHA  (Virtual OLT Hardware Abstraction)
  • Verizon:  M-Cord
  • Sprint:  M-Cord
  • Comcast:  R-Cord
  • Century Link: R-Cord
  • Google:  Multi-access CORD

Author’s Note:  NTT (Japan) and Telefonica (Spain) have deployed CORD and presented their use cases at the CORD Build event.  Deutsche Telekom, China Unicom, and Turk Telecom are active in the ONF and may have plans to deploy CORD?

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Q&A Session:

  • This author questioned the partitioning of CORD tasks and responsibility between ONF and Linux Foundation.  No clear answer was given.  Perhaps in a follow up comment?
  • AT&T is bringing use cases into ONF for reference platform deployments.
  • CORD is a reference architecture with systems integrators needed to put the pieces together (commodity hardware, white boxes, open source software modules).
  • Michael Howard asked Verizon to provide commercial deployment status- number, location, use cases, etc.  Verizon said they can’t talk about commercial deployments at this time.
  • Biggest challenge for CORD:  Dis-aggregating purpose built, vendor specific hardware that exist in COs today.  Many COs are router/switch centric, but they have to be opened up if CORD is to gain market traction.
  • Future tasks for project CORD include:  virtualized Radio Access Network (RAN), open radio (perhaps “new radio” from 3GPP release 15?), systems integration, and inclusion of micro-services (which were discussed at the very next TC3 session).

Addendum from Marc Cohn, formerly with the Linux Foundation:

Here’s an attempt to clarify the CORD project responsibilities:

Fog Computing Definition, Architecture, Market and Use Cases

Introduction to Fog Computing, Architecture and Networks:

Fog computing is an extension of cloud computing which deploys data storage, computing and communications resources, control and management data analytics closer to the endpoints.  It is especially important for the Internet of Things (IoT) continuum, where low latency and low cost are needed.

Fog computing architecture is the arrangement of physical and logical network elements, hardware, and software to implement a useful IoT network. Key architectural decisions involve the physical and geographical positioning of fog nodes, their arrangement in a hierarchy, the numbers, types, topology, protocols, and data bandwidth capacities of the links between fog nodes, things, and the cloud, the hartware and software design of individual fog nodes, and how a complete IoT network is orchestrated and managed. In order to optimize the architecture of a fog network, one must first understand the critical requirements of the general use cases that will take advantage of fog and specific software application(s) that will run on them. Then these requirements must be mapped onto a partitioned network of appropriately designed fog nodes. Certain clusters of requirements are difficult to implement on networks built with heavy reliance on the cloud (intelligence at the top) or intelligent things (intelligence at the bottom), and are particularly influential in the decision to move to fog-based architectures.

From a systematic perspective, fog networks provide a distributed computing system with a hierarchical topology. Fog networks aim at meeting stringent latency requirements, reducing power consumption of end devices, providing real-time data processing and control with localized computing resources, and decreasing the burden of backhaul traffic to centralized data centers.  And of course, excellent network security, reliability and availability must be inherent in fog networks.

Figure 1

Fog computing network architecture

Illustration courtesy of August 2017 IEEE Communications Magazine article: “Architectural Imperatives for Fog Computing: Use Cases, Requirements, and Architectural Techniques for Fog-Enabled IoT Networks”  (IEEE Xplore or IEEE Communications magazine subscription required to view on line)

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Fog Computing Market:

The fog computing market opportunity will exceed $18 billion worldwide by the year 2022, according to a new report by 451 Research. Commissioned by the OpenFog Consortium, the Size and Impact of Fog Computing Market projects that the largest markets for fog computing will be, in order, energy/utilities, transportation, healthcare and the industrial sectors.

“Through our extensive research, it’s clear that fog computing is on a growth trajectory to play a crucial role in IoT, 5G and other advanced distributed and connected systems,” said Christian Renaud, research director, Internet of Things, 451 Research, and lead author of the report. “It’s not only a technology path to ensure the optimal performance of the cloud-to-things continuum, but it’s also the fuel that will drive new business value.”

Key findings from the report were presented during an opening keynote on October 30th at the Fog World Congress conference. In addition to projecting an $18 billion fog market and identifying the top industry-specific market opportunities, the report also identified:

  • Key market transitions fueling the growth include investments in energy infrastructure modernization, demographic shifts and regulatory mandates in transportation and healthcare.
  • Hardware will have the largest percentage of overall fog revenue (51.6%), followed by fog applications (19.9%) and then services (15.7%).  By 2022, spend will shift to apps and services, as fog functionality is incorporated into existing hardware.
  • Cloud spend is expected to increase 147% to $6.4 billion by 2022.

“This is a seminal moment that not only validates the magnitude of fog, but also provides us with a first-row seat to the opportunities ahead,” said Helder Antunes, chairman of the OpenFog Consortium and Senior Director, Cisco. “Within the OpenFog community, we’ve understood the significance of fog—but with its growth rate of nearly 500 percent over the next five years—consider it a secret no more.”

The fog market report includes the sizing and impact of fog in the following verticals: agriculture, datacenters, energy and utilities, health, industrial, military, retail, smart buildings, smart cities, smart homes, transportation, and wearables.

Fog computing is the system-level architecture that brings computing, storage, control, and networking functions closer to the data-producing sources along the cloud-to-thing continuum. Applicable across industry sectors, fog computing effectively addresses issues related to security, cognition, agility, latency and efficiency.

Download the full report at www.openfogconsortium.org/growth.

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Fog Use Cases:

According to the Open Fog Consortium, fog architectures offer several unique advantages over other approaches, which include, but are not limited to:

 Security: Additional security to ensure safe, trusted transactions
 Cognition: awareness of client-centric objectives to enable autonomy
 Agility: rapid innovation and affordable scaling under a common infrastructure
 Latency: real-time processing and cyber-physical system control
 Efficiency: dynamic pooling of local unused resources from participating end-user devices

New use cases created by the OpenFog Consortium were also released that showcase how fog works in industry.  These use cases provide fog technologists with detailed views of how fog is deployed in autonomous driving, energy, healthcare and smart buildings.

The August 2017 IEEE Communications magazine article lists various IoT vertical markets and example fog use cases for each one:

Table 1.

It also delineates several application examples and allowable latency for each one:

Table 2.
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IEEE to Standardize Fog Network Architecture based on Open Fog Consortium Reference Model

The OpenFog Consortium has announced that its OpenFog Reference Architecture will serve as the basis for a new working group formed by the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) to accelerate the creation and adoption of industry standards for fog computing and networking.  This and other future standards on Fog computing and networking will serve as a significant catalyst to propel the digital revolution occurring as a result of advanced Internet of Things (IoT), 5G and embedded artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

Fog computing and networking is an advanced distributed architecture that brings computing, storage, control, and networking functions closer to the data-producing sources along the cloud-to-thing continuum. Applicable across industry sectors, fog computing effectively addresses issues related to security, cognition, agility, latency and efficiency (SCALE).

The inaugural meeting of the IEEE ComSoc Standards Working Group on Fog Computing and Networking Architecture Framework- Project P1934 [1] is scheduled for November 2017, with its work expected to be complete by April 2018.  Additional details were presented at two Fog World Congress sessions I attended on October 31st and November 1st in Santa Clara, CA (see below).

Note 1.  IEEE P1934 proposed standard: OpenFog Reference Architecture for Fog Computing:

-Working Group: Fog Computing Architecture Framework
-Working Group Chair: John Zao  –  jkzao@openfogconsortium.org
-Working Group Vice-Chair:  Tao Zhang  –  taozhang1@yahoo.com

-Sponsoring Society and Committee: IEEE Communications Society/Standards Development Board (COM/SDB)
-Sponsor Chair: Mehmet Ulema –  m.ulema@ieee.org

http://standards.ieee.org/develop/wg/FOG.html

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The OpenFog Reference Architecture is a universal technical framework designed to enable the data-intensive requirements of IoT, 5G and AI applications.  It is a structural and functional prescription of an open, inter-operable, horizontal system architecture for distributing computing, storage, control and networking functions closer to the users along a cloud-to-thing continuum. The framework encompasses various approaches to disperse information technology (IT), communication technology (CT) and operational technology (OT) services through an information messaging infrastructure as well as legacy and emerging multi-access networking technologies.

“This represents a giant step forward for fog computing and for the industry, which will soon have the specifications for use in developing industrial strength fog-based hardware, software and services,” said John Zao, Chair, IEEE Standards Working Group on Fog Computing and Networking Architecture Framework (and Associate Professor at Taiwan Chiao-Tung University). “The objective from the beginning was that the Open Fog Reference Architecture would serve as the high-level basis for industry standards, and the IEEE is looking forward to the collaboration in this effort.”

“The standards work produced by this new working group will be crucial in the continued growth of fog computing innovation and things-to-cloud systems,” said Dr. Mehmet Ulema, Director, Standards Development, IEEE Communications Society, and Professor at Manhattan College, New York. “This also is an outstanding example of the strategic alliance between IEEE and OpenFog to co-create and co-promote fog networking concepts and architectures.”

“The mandate for fog computing is growing stronger, driven by the recognition that traditional architectures can’t deliver on the operational challenges for today’s advanced digital applications,” said Helder Antunes, chairman of the OpenFog Consortium and Senior Director at Cisco.  “On behalf of the members of the OpenFog technical community, I’m pleased to see the recognized value of the OpenFog Reference Architecture and IEEE’s commitment to fog computing and networking via the formation of this new working group.”

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IEEE ComSoc Rapid Reaction Standards Activities – RRSA

On November 1st at the Open Fog World Congress, IEEE ComSoc Standards Chair Alex Gelman, PhD explained the RRSA mechanism to define new IEEE ComSoc standards for Fog computing/networking and other projects related to communications technologies.  Special targets for IEEE standardization are emerging technologies

Methodology:

  • Invite industry practitioners that have ideas for specific standardization projects or for areas of standardization
  • Identify relevant leading experts in the target field, e.g. Industrial  and academic researchers
  • Leverage IEEE ComSoc Technical Committees
  • Issue a call for participation, solicit project proposals and/or position statements
  • Select participants based on proposals/positions statements submissions
  • Selected proposals are typically selected that can be clustered in 1-3 groups
  • 1 day face to face meeting to come to agreement on a proposed new standard
  • If approved, culminates in a PAR – Project Authorization Request

Some observations made during OpenFog RRSA:

  • Scholarly nature of Fog Technologies
    • Fog/Edge technologies are still, at least in part, in conceptual phase
    • It is critical to engage Industrial and academic researchers in discussion and standardization
  • Multiplicity of standards
    • Notable complimentary efforts, e.g. MEC
    • The bad news about standards is that there are many to choose from
    • The good news about standards is that there are many to choose from
    • “Legislating” any particular technology will impede innovation
  • Properly architecting standards is key to harmonization of efforts
    • Early cooperation with IEEE and external standards groups is highly desirable for harmonization
    • Proper modularity of standards is critical for future Interoperability, Interworking, or Coexistence mechanisms
  • Viable Standardization Strategy
    • Harmonize IEEE standardization method with OpenFog entity-based membership is a good idea
    • Deploy adoption and standard development methods as appropriate
    • Position OpenFog Standardization among IEEE Strategic projects for 5G and Beyond

Related IEEE Standards Projects:

  • IEEE P1934 “Open Fog Reference Architecture for Fog Computing”
  • IEEE P2413™: Draft Standard for an Architectural Framework for the Internet of Things

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Future Fog Computing and Networking Standards:

During a November 1st late afternoon discussion on Fog/IEEE standards, Professor Zao said that in the future, the Open Fog Consortium would work with IEEE and other standards bodies/entities on other Fog computing standards. This author suggested that future Fog networking standards follow the CCITT (now ITU-T) model adopted for ISDN in the early to mid 1980’s:  define the reference architecture, functional groupings and reference points between functional groupings.  Then standardize the interfaces, protocols and message sets based on pointers to existing standards (where applicable) or new standards.  Several attendees agreed with that approach with the goal of being able to certify compliance to exposed Fog networking interfaces.

References:

OpenFog Reference Architecture

https://www.openfogconsortium.org/wp-content/uploads/OpenFog_Reference_Architecture_2_09_17-FINAL.pdf

 

IEEE Standards Association:  http://standards.ieee.org/

IEEE Standards for 5G and Beyond: https://5g.ieee.org/standards

IEEE IoT Initiative: https://iot.ieee.org/

IEEE SDN/NFV Initiative: https://sdn.ieee.org/

IEEE 5G Initiative: https://5g.ieee.org/

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2017 Telecom Council’s TC3 Summit: SPIFFY Award Winners + Start-up Success Stories

2017 SPIFFY Awards:

Seven pioneering start-up companies were recognized by the Service Provider Innovation Forum (SPIF) at the 10th Annual SPIFFY Awards held Wednesday evening November 1st at TC3 Summit.

Since 2001, the Telecom Council has worked to identify and recognize companies who represent a broad range of cutting-edge telecom products and services. From there, dozens of young companies are presented each month to the Service Provider Innovation Forum (SPIF), ComTech Forum, IoT Forum, and Investor Forum.

SPIF members, who represent cutting-edge telcos from over 50 countries and who serve over 3B subscribers, selected seven companies from hundreds of presenting communication startup companies and 30 SPIFFY nominees as best-in-class in their respective categories. Each winner, who is set apart for their dedication, technical vision, and interest from the global service provider community, is a company to watch in the telecommunication industry.

The winners below represent the best and brightest in their respective categories:

  • The Graham Bell Award for Best Communication Solutions – Sightcall :  a cloud API that enables any business to add rich communications (e.g. video), accessible with a single touch, in the context of their application.
  • Edison Award for Most Innovative Startup – DataRPM: cognitive preventive maintenance platform.
  • San Andreas Award for Most Disruptive Technology – Veniamnetworking solution for future autonomous vehicles; mobile WiFi done right.
  • Core Award for Best Fixed Telecom Opportunity – Datera: storage and data management for service providers, private cloud, digital business via “Datera elastic data fabric software.”
  • Zephyr Award for Best Mobile Opportunity – AtheerAir: augmented reality solutions for industrial enterprises.
  • Ground Breaker Award for Engineering Excellence – Cinovavirtual reality streaming at practical bit rates using Cinova’s cloud server technology.
  • Prodigy Award for the Most Successful SPIF Alumni – Plexstreaming media server and apps to stream video, audio and photo collections on any device.

This year’s entrepreneurs had a chance to vote on the operators as well, to give a shout out to those telcos who were supportive, approachable, and helpful to young and growing telecom companies. The entreprenneurs chose Verizon.

  • Fred & Ginger Award for the Most Supportive Carrier – Verizon.

The SPIFFY nominees attended the awards ceremony along with 50 global fixed and wireless communications companies and over 300 industry professionals. Photos of the event can be found on Telecom Council’s blog and Instagram pages.  Note that none of this year’s SPIFFY award winners, with the possible exception of Veniam, actually provide a connectivity (PHY, MAC/Data Link layer) solution.

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Author’s Notes on three impressive start-ups that presented at TC3 on November 1st (only day I attended 2017 TC3):

1.  In a session titled “Closing the Rural Broadband Gap,” Skyler Ditchfield, CEO of GeoLinks, provided an overview of his company’s success in providing high-speed broadband to schools and libraries using fixed wireless technologies, specifically microwave radio operating in several frequency bands.  The company’s flagship service is ClearFiber™, which offers customers fixed wireless broadband service on the most resilient and scalable networkSkyler described the advantages of their 100% in house approach to engineering, design, land procurement, construction and data connectivity. GeoLinks approach offers gigabit plus speeds at a fraction of the cost of fiber with lower latency and rapid deployment across the country.

A broadband fixed wireless installation on Santa Catalina island was particularly impressive.  Speeds on the island (which GeoLinks says is 41 miles offshore) are typically 300 Mbps, and the ultra-fast broadband connection provides support for essential communications services, tourism services, and commerce.  GeoLinks successfully deployed Mimosa Network´s fiber-fast broadband solutions to bring high-speed Internet access to the island community for the first time in its history.  Connecting the island to the mainland at high speeds was very challenging. GeoLinks ultimately selected Mimosa for the last mile of the installation, deploying Mimosa A5 access and C5 client devices throughout the harbor town of Avalon.

Another ClearFiber™ successful deployment was at Robbins Elementary school in California.  It involved 19 miles of fixed broadband wireless transport to provide the school with broadband Internet access.

Skyler said that next year, GeoLinks planned to deliver fixed wireless transport at 10G b/sec over 6 to 8 miles in the 5Ghz unlicensed band- either point to point OR point to multi-point. The company is considering 6GHz, 11GHz, 18Ghz and 20Ghz FCC licensed bands.  He said it would be important for GeoLinks to get licensed spectrum for point to multi-point transmission.

More on GeoLinks value proposition here and here.   And a recent blog post about Skyler Ditchfield who told the TC3 audience he grew up fascinated by communications technologies.   This author was very impressed with Skyler and GeoLinks!

2. In a panel on “Startup Success Stories,” Nitin Motgi, founder and CEO of Cask (a “big data” software company) talked about how long it took to seal a deal with telcos.  It’s longer than you might think!  In one case, Nitin said it was 18 months from the time an unnamed telco agreed to purchase Cask’s solution (based on a proof of concept demo) till the contract was actually signed and sealed. Nitin referred to the process of selling to telcos as “whale hunting.”  However, he said that if you succeed it’s worth it because of the telco’s scale of business.

3. Tracknet Co-Founder and CEO Hardy Schmidbauer presented a 5 minute “fast pitch” to the Telecom Council Service Provider Forum.  He talked about his company’s highly scalable LPWAN/ IoT network solutions:   “TrackNet provides LoRaWAN IoT solutions for consumers and industry, focusing on ease of use and scalability to enable a “new era” of exponentially growing LPWAN deployments.”   The company is a contributing member of the LoRa Alliance and the TrackNet team has been instrumental in specifying, building, and establishing LoRaWAN and the LoRa Alliance for more than five years.  The founding Tracknet team includes veterans from IBM and Semtech who were instrumental in the development of LoRa and LoRaWAN.

With “Tabs,” Tracknet combines a WiFi connected IoT home and tracker system with LoRaWAN network coverage built from indoor Tabs hubs.

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About the Telecom Council: The Telecom Council of Silicon Valley connects the companies who are building communication networks, with the people and ideas that are creating them – by putting those companies, research, ideas, capital and human expertise from across the globe together in the same room. Last year, The Telecom Council connected over 2,000 executives from 750 telecom companies and 60 fixed and wireless carriers across 40 meeting topics. By joining, speaking, sponsoring, or simply participating in a meeting, there are many ways telecom companies of any size can leverage the Telecom Council network. For more information visit: https://www.telecomcouncil.com.

Reference:

http://blog.telecomcouncil.com/blog/2017-spiffy-award-winners-announced-telecom-councils-annual-service-provider-forum-ceremony/

 

Image result for pic of telecom council TC3 2017

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Forward Reference:

A follow up TC3 blog post will provide an update on project CORD (Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center) from the perspective of the Open Network Foundation (ONF) with panelists from AT&T and Verizon.

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