Superb Article on What’s Wrong with Communications Industry by Steve Saunders, co-founder of Light Reading

Here’s the url for Steve Saunder’s spot on the money article:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/future-communications-steve-saunders/

The only add on I have to Steve’s  exquisite post is that the lack of standards is pervasive throughout the WAN space:

  1. SD WANs are a single vendor solution  – no UNI or NNI specified or being worked on by an accredited standards body.
  2. NFV: No standards for exposed interfaces, APIs (NFV orchestrator (NFVO) to/from virtual appliances), no backward compatibility between virtual appliances and physical appliances, no standard for network management or fault isolation/repair, etc.
  3. Every major Cloud Service Provider (CSP) has their own defacto standards/specs and APIs, e.g. Amazon, Google, MSFT, etc
  4. Every major CSP has their own connectivity solution(s) from customer premises network to their point of presence (PoP);  and their own method for realizing a virtual private cloud (VPC)
  5. Every CSP and network service provider has their own definition and implementation of SDN, including one or more southbound API (s) to/from Control Plane to data plane.  That southbound API was supposed to be ONLY OpenFlow according to the ONF.  The Northbound API was never standardized and there are many  options.  Many SDNs use an overlay network and virtualization of network functions while others do not.  Equipment and software built for one provider’s SDN won’t operate on another’s as the specs are different and usually proprietary.
  6. Far too many LPWANs for IoT:  Sigfox (by company with same name), LoRa WAN,  Weightless SIG (unidirectional Weightless-N, bidirectional Weightless-P and Weightless-W), NB-IoT, LTE Cat M1, many other proprietary versions like RPMA (from Ingenu).
  7. The message sets between “things”/IoT devices  and the cloud controller have not been standardized.  Neither is the functions of an “IoT Platform” which has become a wild west menagerie of incompatible platforms from hundreds of vendors.
  8. Every so called “5G” deployment planned before IMT 2020 has been completed (end of 2020) is proprietary.  The only thing in common seems to be use of 3GPP release 15 “5G New Radio” which is not a standard.   That implies mobile 5G will have severe roaming problems when moving from one 5G carrier to another.

 

And the list goes on and on and on……………………………………….

Without agreed upon standards, the upshot is that the big cloud players (Google, Amazon, FB, Microsoft, Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, etc) will dominate communications in the future (I think they already dominate all of IT!!)

Also, the rise of open source hardware organizations (OCP, TIP, ONF, etc) along with Taiwan/China ODMs have profoundly changed the communications industry.  With so many open source white boxes and bare metal switches available, there is little or no value add for vendor specific network equipment other than possibly higher performance (e.g. throughput).

Reliance Jio Blankets India with Inexpensive 4G Service; Where are the Profits?

India has the second largest number of Internet users in the world- second only to China.  But only in the last two years has India moved to true broadband wireless service.   Mukesh Ambani, head of Reliance Industries, one of India’s largest conglomerates, has shelled out $35 billion of the company’s money to blanket the South Asian nation with its first all-4G network. By offering free calls and data for pennies, the telecom latecomer has upended the industry, setting off a cheap internet tsunami that is opening the market of 1.3 billion people to global tech and retailing titans.

The unknown factor: Can Reliance reap profits itself after unleashing a cutthroat price war? Analysts say the company’s ultimate plan, after connecting the masses, is to use the platform to sell content, financial services and advertising. It could also recoup its massive investment in the years to come by charging for high-speed broadband to consumers’ homes and connections for various businesses, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Sidebar:  Reliance Jio gaining ground on incumbents via price war

Business Standard says that according to revenue figures of the industry for the April-June quarter, Jio has become the second biggest wireless network operator by revenues, overtaking Vodafone.

In fact, both Vodafone and Idea reported a revenue decline of 7 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively in the reported quarter. Airtel though managed to increase its adjusted gross revenue (AGR) by 1 per cent, thanks to income from national long distance (NLD) services.

According to a report by JP Morgan, Reliance Jio keeps flourishing in a continually stressed industry, which is why the industry may continue to be in stress.

Meanwhile, zeebiz.com reports “Reliance Jio impact: 15,000 people lost jobs, just 3 companies left in 2 years.”  Apart from declining financial health of incumbents, there have been massive job losses owing to mergers and sector consolidation. Experts estimate the number of job losses to be around 12,000-15,000 in the last two years, with a major shedding from Vodafone and Idea Cellular duo.

Reliance Jio has been gaining subscribers and revenue market share at a rapid pace. But for the incumbents, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular, there has been declining average revenue per user (Arpu) and margins with high debt levels. Together, the telecom industry has a cumulative debt of Rs 3.6 lakh crore.

Analysts from Jefferies say that the competitive intensity will remain high as Jio and Bharti focus on subscriber additions. “We expect increased competitive intensity in the postpaid and feature phone segments. The market share is expected to stabilise in the next 12 months. Post that, there will be a gradual Arpu recovery due to customer willingness to pay higher.”

“The next battleground is the 500 million non-LTE subscriber base, which would include 400 million 2G subscribers. Half of the 2G subscribers are low-value subscribers with monthly spend of Rs 50-80. Content and advertising will emerge as key pillars to increase average revenue per user and profitability for the sector in the medium term,” according to Deutsche Bank Research.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

A Jio advertisement featuring Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan.

A Jio advertisement featuring Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan. PHOTO: DHIRAJ SINGH/BLOOMBERG NEWS
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Mr. Ambani’s project has the potential to give India the largest—and most diverse—connected population in the world, with low-cost access to data helping to level the playing field between rich and poor.

It also could revolutionize retail. Mr. Ambani’s success or failure could affect Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp, which have poured resources into developing products for the Indian market, and Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., which have invested billions here on logistics for online shoppers. To profit, they all need people connected to the internet.

Underserved Population

India has more internet users than the U.S., but a low percentage of the country is online. Slow download speeds are a drag on building subscribers.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Mr. Ambani wasn’t available to comment, according to a Reliance spokesman. The company “has unleashed huge data potential in the country,” the spokesman said. “Digital life will no longer be the privilege of the affluent few.”

There are 390 million internet users in India, according to Bain & Co., but the penetration rate is still only 28%, compared with 88% in the U.S. The country’s e-commerce market is expected to be worth $33 billion this year, three times what it was in 2015, but less than 3% of India’s overall retail market, according to research firm eMarketer.

Companies are after customers like 59-year-old potato farmer Govind Singh Panwar. His home in the Himalayan foothills is built of mud and stone, and his village has no paved roads or indoor plumbing. Still, broadband internet has arrived.

“I bought our first fridge” online, Mr. Panwar said. “It’s a rare thing in a village.”  He got online last year with Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., Mr. Ambani’s telecom company, which built a tower nearby that beams his phone nearly unlimited 4G data for about $2.10 a month.

Govind Singh Panwar, a farmer in a village in the Himalayan foothills, below, bought his family’s first refrigerator after getting online via Jio’s network. He uses a JioPhone.
Govind Singh Panwar, a farmer in a village in the Himalayan foothills, below, bought his family’s first refrigerator after getting online via Jio’s network. He uses a Jio Phone. PHOTO: NEWLEY PURNELL/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Jio, which means “to live” in Hindi, has signed up 215 million subscribers since it went live in 2016, making it India’s No. 4 mobile provider, after Bharti Airtel Ltd., with 345 million, Vodafone Group PLC and Idea Cellular Ltd.

Mr. Ambani’s foray started in 2010, when he bought a company that had just acquired a pan-India 4G license. That was a risky move at a time when fewer than one in 10 Indians were online. Airtel and Vodafone were still focused on rolling out 3G services, and few Indians owned 4G-capable smartphones.

Promising MarketOnline sales in India have grown rapidly butare still just a sliver of all Indian retail.Source: eMarketerNote: 2018 and later are projections.

Fourth generation, or 4G-LTE networks provide significantly faster speeds than 3G, enabling more content like streaming video and music. They also provide the steadier connections important for online shopping, which can be difficult on patchy networks. 4G networks are common in the U.S., Europe and East Asia.

Mr. Ambani, now 61 and worth more than $48 billion, had just finished building what some have dubbed the world’s most expensive home, a 27-story mansion on a hill with views of the Arabian Sea. It was packed with bling—helipad, home theater, gym, garden, pool—but the internet connection was bad.

When his daughter came home from Yale University during a break, she struggled to submit her course work online. “Dad, the internet in our house sucks,” she complained, according to a story Mr. Ambani later recounted at an event.

At the time, India’s telecom industry executives and analysts agreed there was need for more speed, but they doubted enough people would be willing to pay for it. Indians then were spending only about $2 a month on their cellphones, the vast majority of that on voice calls.

Some rivals began rolling out 4G services in some cities, but Mr. Ambani wanted to build a network that would also cover more than 18,000 cities and towns and 200,000 villages, touching some places that didn’t have electricity yet. That required more than 200,000 cell towers and 150,000 miles of high-tech fiber-optic cable, enough to encircle the Earth six times, according to the company and people familiar with the matter. The construction is essentially complete. Wading through India’s infamous red tape required as much time as the physical infrastructure.

Hungry for Data

India’s average price for cellular data has swooned amid new competition, and usage has skyrocketed.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

To protect its sprawling web of cables, Reliance hired a national network of ex-army staff to look after its lines. It left a few feet of spare cable coiled on top of manhole covers to show thieves looking for copper that the mostly plastic materials weren’t worth pulling out, and local people were paid to keep an eye out for any problems.

“They had audacity, execution, and were financially capable to pull it off,” said Ankit Agarwal, chief executive of telecom products at India’s Sterlite Technologies Ltd. , which supplied and helped install the fiber.

At the launch of service in September 2016, Jio made phone calls and text messages free for subscribers, and made unlimited data free for the first three months, eventually extending it to six months. After that, Jio’s data price would be a quarter the industry average.

“India will change forever,” Mr. Ambani said at the ceremony, in an hour-and-a-half long speech broadcast live on local news channels.

Subscribers in India typically use prepaid plans without contracts, making it easy to switch carriers by swapping in a new SIM card from a competitor.  One adversary that has thrown in the towel: Reliance Communications Ltd., formerly part of the Reliance empire but taken separate by Mr. Ambani’s brother, Anil Ambani, after a family dispute. The company, under pricing pressure from Jio, closed its mobile business in late 2017.

The price war has cut industry wide revenue per user—now averaging $1.53 a month, compared with about $2.50 in 2016. Jio beats the average, at $1.89 a month, but the number has been falling since its launch.

The result has been a data binge. Jio transmitted more data in the first year of its operation than any carrier ever world-wide, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. India last year surpassed the U.S. in the number of apps downloaded from the Google Play store, according to mobile-app analytics firm App Annie. Monthly data traffic in India per user has jumped 570% in the two years since Jio launched, according to Morgan Stanley .

When Jio realized it was reaching the consumers who could afford the data but not the 4G-enabled smartphones, it built a new type of “smart” feature phone that worked on 4G and had some smartphone features. Consumers could own a JioPhone for a $23 security deposit—refundable if they return the phone. It launched in September 2017 and has overtaken Samsung Electronics Co. to capture 47% of the feature phone market, according to research firm Counterpoint.

Companies such as Amazon.com are depending on the new pool of users. Amazon has tweaked its model in India by introducing services like cash on delivery, in which customers can pay with cash when items arrive at their door, since few people have credit cards. The retailer has also deployed swarms of delivery men on motorbikes, so they can negotiate chaotic city traffic.

Google, which has been effectively shut out of China since 2010, has been rolling out new features to cater to users in India, testing products that might also work in other emerging markets, such as Indonesia. It launched a version of its YouTube app, called YouTube Go, designed to work on inexpensive smartphones. It created a mobile payment app for India, called Tez, that works without a credit or debit card. It is also working to make many of its services work with local languages.

At a July investors’ meeting, Mr. Ambani made his ambitions clear. “Even after serving the needs of our 215 plus million customers, the capacity utilization of the Jio network is less than 20%,” he said. “We are determined to connect everyone and everything, everywhere.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/two-years-ago-india-lacked-fast-cheap-internetone-billionaire-changed-all-that-1536159916?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=18

HKT & Huawei Open Digital Transformation Practice Center in Hong Kong; Indoor 5G Whitepaper

Hong Kong network operator HKT and China IT powerhouse Huawei jointly inaugurated the Digital Transformation Practice Center (DTPC) yesterday in Hong Kong.  The DTPC will share the experience and practices of HKT gained during its digital transformation journey, and help guide the digitalization process of other carriers in their development of digital transformation, HKT said.

The DTPC will provide on-site sharing of HKT’s experience and practices gained in its successful digital transformation journey.

At the DTPC, a project team will assess different transformational scenarios through the five stages of digital transformation: Envisioning, Ideating, Prototyping, Realizing and Scaling.  The goal is to realize digital transformation in a more agile and low-cost manner. By connecting to Huawei Cloud Open Labs, visitors can also experience on-the-spot the transformed services.

“We are glad to cooperate with Huawei to carry out the digital transformation project. During the process, we have encountered many challenges in terms of user experience, business processes, business support systems and network infrastructure,” HKT head of strategic wireless technology and core networks Dr Henry Wong said.  “Thanks to the joint team, the company has launched new services through the transformed cloud platform and gained a lot of valuable experience in the process. We hope to share our digital transformation experience with the industry around the world through the DTPC,” Wong added.

The digital transformation practice facility aims to offer consultancy from half a day or a full day to chief executives, through to several weeks with specialist staff, said Derry Li, Huawei’s vice president of consulting and systems integration.  “The center will support the construction of solutions. We will uncover user pain points,” Li said. The process will include prototyping of front-end and back-end solutions, he added.

By the end of this year, the facility will also advise on other technologies such as internet of things (IoT), the executive said.  Li also said that Huawei and Hong Kong Telecom plan to extend the scope of the new facility to include 5G services in the first half of 2019.

HKT had previously worked with Huawei to carry out the end-to-end digital business transformation project, covering service and operation transformation as well as infrastructure cloudification for the realization of customer-centric “ROADS” (Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY, Social) experience.

During his keynote presentation at the opening of the event, Huawei’s board Chairman Liang Hua said that a full digitalization process can take at least 18 months to get through the toughest period of the implementation.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Separately, HKT, Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), and Huawei have jointly issued Indoor 5G Networks White Paper which explains the complexity of indoor 5G network deployment. It discusses 5G indoor service network requirements, the evolution of existing network, and challenges in target network deployment, and recommends appropriate construction strategies.

The white paper points out that more than 80% of service usage on 4G mobile networks occurs indoors. The industry predicts that a greater number of mobile services will take place indoors as 5G spurs service diversity and extends business boundaries. As a result, says the white paper, indoor mobile networks in the 5G era will become essential to operators’ competitiveness.

The white paper discusses key requirements and performance indicators for indoor 5G target networks based on the features of the three major types of 5G services (enhanced mobile broadband, ultra-reliable low-latency communication and massive machine-type communication). The specific requirements of augmented reality (AR), VR, high-definition (HD) video, telemedicine, and smart manufacturing are elaborated.

References:

https://www.huawei.com/en/press-events/news/2018/9/hkt-huaei-practice-center

https://www.huawei.com/en/press-events/news/2018/2/Huawei-HKT-Digital-Transformation-Practice-Center

https://www.huawei.com/en/press-events/news/2018/9/indoor-5g-networks-whitepaper

 

 

 

Allied Telesis Introduces Single & Multi-Channel Blanket Hybrid WiFi Solution

Channel Blanket hybrid wireless solution delivers multi-channel and single-channel WLAN capabilities simultaneously using a single access point design, simplifying network deployments, improving performance and reducing costs.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
On Friday August 23rd, Allied Telesis announced the launch of the world’s first hybrid WLAN solution for optimized wireless networking across the Enterprise. By allowing simultaneous multi-channel and single-channel WLAN operations using a single access point (AP) design, network administrators can combine the performance attributes of the two architectures to best suit their specific deployment requirements.
“Today’s Wi-Fi isn’t perfect so we have learned to tolerate the occasional drop-outs, downloads that hang, and lengthy waits for available connections to busy public networks,” said Graham Walker, product marketing director at Allied Telesis. “But many wireless networks, such as those in hospitals, are mission critical and poor performance is simply not acceptable. Our new hybrid wireless solution helps deliver a better wireless experience and simplifies management too.”
Most Wi-Fi networks today operate on a multi-channel architecture, where each wireless AP connects to a mobile client using one of several radio channels. Wireless networks that are built this way generally have good data throughput but must be well planned, as radio interference from adjacent APs on the same channel can adversely affect network connectivity and performance.
Note:  This author has long had a 5GHz and 2.4GHz WiFi served by AT&T U-verse Residential Gateway which has an integrated multi-channel WiFi AP/Router. As the 2.4 GHz band becomes more crowded, many users are opting to use the 5 GHz ISM band. This not only provides more spectrum, but it is not as widely used by Wi-Fi as well as many other appliances including items such as microwave ovens, etc.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Single-channel is an alternate Wi-Fi architecture that allows all access points to use the same radio channel so that interference and performance degradation is not an issue. This type of wireless network solves the radio interference problem, is easy to deploy and enables seamless roaming between access points.
The Allied Telesis Channel Blanket hybrid wireless solution offers the simultaneous use of both multi-channel and single-channel capabilities and performance allowing customers to configure both architectures simultaneously on the same hardware to best suit their specific application.
The key hardware element to the hybrid WLAN solution is the TQ5403 Enterprise class Wave 2 wireless AP. Capable of up to 2133Mbps raw wireless throughput from its single 2.4GHz radio and dual 5GHz IEEE 802.11ac radios, the TQ5403 supports Multi-User Multiple Input and Multiple Output (MU-MIMO), allowing multiple clients to send and receive data at the same time, substantially increasing throughput for a better user experience.
The TQ5403 may operate standalone, in AP-cluster mode or can be controlled by Allied Telesis Autonomous Wave Control (AWC), an advanced network management tool that utilizes artificial intelligence to deliver significant improvements in wireless network connectivity and performance while reducing deployment and operating costs.
TQ5403 is the world’s first hybrid WLAN solution for optimized wireless networking across the Enterprise, according to Allied Telesis.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
AWC is available as a plugin for Allied Telesis Vista Manager EX™, a state-of-the-art network monitoring and management tool that includes various visualization modes that allow IT administrators to easily monitor their networks, with AWC profiles to simplify the management of multiple wireless APs.
“Until now, network operators have been forced to select the WLAN architecture that best meets their overall requirements which means compromising performance in some areas,” adds Walker. “Both architectures can be deployed separately, but this means managing two different networks with different tools, adding to increased management complexity and cost. What operators really want is a cost-effective Wi-Fi solution that combines the best features of both architectures using a single access point design and management system. This is the essence of our new Channel Blanket hybrid wireless solution.”
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
About Allied Telesis:
With a portfolio of products and technologies providing IoT and SDN-enabled solutions for enterprise, government, education and critical infrastructure customers, Allied Telesis is the smarter choice. Its Envigilant™ managed services division delivers customized, state-of-the-art IoT solutions at the edge, empowering innovation, improving process agility and helping build a competitive advantage for customers globally.

Verizon’s Network Roadmap includes NG-PON2 and Open Daylight

Lee Hicks, Vice President of network planning  at Verizon said the carrier is focused on a single core MPLS network supporting wireless, residential and business services that will use NG-PON2 as an access method for all three.  Mr. Hicks made those remarks at ADTRAN Connect 2018 in Huntsville, Alabama.  Hicks said that an important goal is to reduce the cost per bit by 45% while also providing low latency to support services such as augmented and virtual reality and telemedicine, he said.  Speaking about the company’s fiber investment, Hicks said: “This has become the base for what we do in the industry. We are big believers in taking fiber all the way.”

In comparison with other 10 Gbps PON options, Hicks said, “It’s not the easiest to go from GPON to NG-PON2, but it’s the best long-term step.”  NG-PON2 initially will have four wavelengths, each operating at 10 Gbps.   “In the future, we have a roadmap to be able to bond these wavelengths,” Hicks said. “We have a built-in ability to go beyond a 10-Gig to 20-Gig, 30-Gig, even 40-Gig down the road. Today with 1-Gig service becoming common place, it’s only a matter of time before 10-Gig and beyond become important. You need to be thinking about that. We are and we’re trying to pick a platform that could help us do that. Having multiple wavelengths available is important.”

Hicks said that tunable optics for NG-PON2 will allow operators to assign different subscriber types to different wavelengths. Using dynamic load balancing, a service provider could move a data hog to a separate wavelength via a provisioning command to the optical network tuners.  He touted the enhanced reliability that multiple wavelengths and tunable optics will support.  Verizon has demonstrated pulling a fiber off of a PON and having the optical line terminal automatically switch to a backup wavelength within a few seconds. “Having multiple wavelengths available helps when you have to take a PON card out of service,” he said.

NG-PON2 also will enable network operators to load balance traffic, Hicks noted. If one customer on a PON is a wavelength hog, other customers could be moved to a different wavelength.  NG-PON2 equipment currently uses a separate broadband network gateway and gateway router but Verizon is working with Adtran to incorporate BNG functions into the optical line terminal.

“Broadband is no longer a want to service; it’s a have to service.  We’re at 40%, 50% per customer growth in consumption every year. But what’s coming on top of that now is the demand for low latency. Whether it’s augmented reality, virtual reality, or telemedicine, all these things require very low latency. We’re looking for solutions that continue to help with that.

What can we do is simplify our network by driving the costs per bit down,” Hicks said. “We’re very focused on that. We have an internal goal to every year to reduce the cost per bit by 40%. That’s what I charge my team with figuring out how to do, that’s what I charge Adtran and all of our suppliers to do. Our goal is to continue to develop a roadmap on how to reduce the cost per bit so that we can give good value to our customers.  That’s our vision. And so now how do we think about meeting that, especially on a fiber network? We believe that NG-PON2 is the right platform to do that.”

 

Verizon’s Lee Hicks talks about some of the telco’s networking goals at Adtran Connect. (Photo by FierceTelecom)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Other elements of the Verizon network roadmap:

  • The company will consolidate real estate across its wireless, residential and business networks into what Hicks called “shared hub sites” for the “aggregation and service edge.” These could be central offices, points of presence or C-RAN huts, he said.
  • Verizon currently has more than 40 platforms and 200,000 network elements, including some that are up to 30 years old, that will be decommissioned.
  • The company’s platform “allows us to do circuit emulation” to support customers currently using DS-1 or Sonet services, which will be converted to Ethernet at the central office
  • Services such as FiOS, virtual private networks and others will share an uplink
  • The company will manage the network using a base network controller (BNC) that will use standard interfaces to an orchestration and abstraction network in place of traditional vendor-specific element management systems

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

On Network Automation, Telemetry and Control, Hicks said Verizon is using OpenDaylight for its Base Network Controller (BNC), which is the focal point for gathering streaming telemetry from network elements.

“The model there is we’re going to create standard interfaces to our orchestration and extract the network,” Hicks said. “Southbound from the BNC, we will use industry standards, things like NETCONF and YANG models for provisioning, and then we’ll use OpenFlow to do network control. We’re going to be using this to do telemetry.”

In the past, Hicks said every Verizon service had its own set of network probes to gather data, which was then put into separate data lakes with their own set of analysis tools.

“We’re not going to be buying probes anymore,” Hicks said. “We’re going to be using the intelligence that’s in the network elements themselves and using streaming telemetry to gather all that. We’re going to be bringing it to a single data lake and then doing analytic engines on top of that with closed-loop automation.

“Our vision is on this new network where I have a single data lake, without probes, that I can then do closed-loop automation,” Hicks concluded.

Super fast broadband boosts UK business; Calls to break up BT & sell Openreach

The roll out of super fast broadband in the UK has increased revenues for businesses and created jobs, says a report by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sporttitled: “The Evaluation of the Economic Impact and Public Value of the Super fast Broadband Programme, covering 2012 to 2016.”

“We’ve also recently introduced a raft of lower wholesale prices to help drive higher take-up of faster fiber services which will help to further fuel the boost to the UK economy,” Openreach chief Clive Selley said.

“Our roll-out of superfast broadband across the UK has been the most challenging infrastructure project in a generation, but is one of our greatest successes,” said digital minister Margot James. “We are reaching thousands more homes and businesses every week that can now reap the clear and tangible benefits that superfast broadband provides. We are helping to ensure the downfall of the digital divide.”
Superfast broadband can be defined either as a service capable of delivering speeds above 24Mbps (the threshold used by DCMS) or 30Mbps (the threshold used by Ofcom). However, it should not be confused with full-fibre – also known as fibre-to-the-premises – broadband, which can generally deliver ultrafast speeds of over 100Mbps.
Superfast broadband is almost always delivered using fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, which uses fibre backhaul to street cabinets and copper cables to bridge the last mile between the cabinet and the premises.
About five million homes and businesses can now access a superfast service through BDUK, with take-up running at 45%, double the expected rate, which, as previously reported, has seen millions returned by Openreach to advance the programme further still.
Openreach CEO Clive Selley said: “It is great to see businesses across the UK reaping the benefits of faster broadband speeds and I am proud of the leading role that Openreach has played in helping to deliver the government’s roll-out of superfast broadband – one of Britain’s great engineering achievements.
“We have also recently introduced a raft of lower wholesale prices to help drive higher take-up of faster fibre services, which will help to further fuel the boost to the UK economy.”
References:

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45238452

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/need-for-speed-drives-superfast-broadband-boost-for-wales

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

From the FT (see reference below):

Several large shareholders are pushing for a spin off of BT’s Openreach, the regulated part of the former UK incumbent that owns and manages the national broadband infrastructure.  BT said: “Openreach is an important part of BT and there are no active plans to sell the business.”
Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, looked as part of a long-running market review at whether the broadband market would be better served if Openreach were fully independent. BT agreed to a series of measures to improve the independence of Openreach, including establishing the business as a legally separate company, to appease its critics while maintaining ownership of the network.

KT to build fiber optic network in Philippines as part of $1.8B broadband project

KT CorpSouth Korea’s largest telecommunications network operator, will participate in a nationwide project to greatly improve Internet connectivity in the Philippines, gaining a major foothold in the Southeast Asian country and neighboring region.

KT signed a 53 billion won (US$ 47 million) contract last week with the Philippines’s Converge ICT Solutions Inc. to build an optical fiber network along some 1,570 kilometers (975 miles) of main roads in the northern region of Luzon. The company hopes the contract will lead to more business partnerships with the top Philippines Internet provider in the future.

The latest deal is part of Converge’s $1.8 billion endeavor to expand its broadband coverage throughout the Philippines over the next five years. KT is increasing efforts to expand its business presence and partnerships overseas, notably in AsiaEurope and Africa, with the company’s latest Internet solutions, including GiGA Wire, GiGA WiFi and GiGA LTE.

“The partnership with Converge ICT Solutions is a great opportunity to introduce our technological expertise in telecommunications network planning, construction and operation not only in the Philippines but also in neighboring countries,” said Yun Kyoung-Lim, head of KT’s future convergence and global businesses. “KT will continue its efforts in representing the Republic of Korea to the world as the global ICT leader.”

KT is a global leader in next-generation wireless technology. The company is preparing for the commercial launch of the country’s first nationwide 5G network early next year and successfully showcased trial 5G services with the world’s first 5G-ready network. The company is also a pioneer in future technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous driving, and virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR).

In recent years, KT has installed more than 5,500 kilometers (3400 miles) of optical fiber networks in MyanmarBangladesh and other countries. For the Philippines-based project, the company plans to cooperate with many Korean small- and mid-sized companies, which have proven their high quality through previous overseas projects. KT expects to have more business opportunities in the Philippines, including smart energy, corporate and public innovations, and disaster and safety management.

The Korean telecom leader also signed an agreement last month with Germany-based albis-elcon to provide its GiGA solutions and next-generation technologies to communications service providers in Europe and other parts of the world. KT is also now working on various projects to improve ICT infrastructure in Africa, including broadband networks in RwandaGabon and Botswana and a public security network in Angola.

Luzon is the largest of more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines and is home to the Southeast Asian country’s capital, Manila. More than half of the country’s population, estimated at over 106 million, live on Luzon. Because the country consists of so many islands, the Philippines has experienced difficulties in improving its Internet speed and telecommunications service environment.

When the optical fiber cables project in Luzon is completed in June 2020, a great number of people in the Philippines are expected to benefit from high-speed home Internet connections. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has established the Department of Information and Communications Technology, and the administration is promoting e-government services and ICT development.

About KT:

KT Corporation, Korea’s largest telecommunications service provider reestablished in 1981 under the Telecommunications Business Act, is leading the era of innovations in the world’s most connected country. The company leads the 4th industrial revolution with high speed wire/wireless network and innovative ICT technology. After installing 4.5 million fixed lines for 20 million users in just 12 years, KT was the first telecom provider to introduce 5G broad-scale trial service in 2018. It is another step in KT’s continuous efforts to deliver essential products and services as it seeks to be the No.1 ICT Company and People’s Company.

For more information, please visit our English website at https://corp.kt.com/eng/

Samsung’s Digital City Provides a Glimpse of What’s Possible with 5G

Samsung’s digital city in South Korea showcases many of the perceived benefits of 5G.  Samsung has deployed a 5G hot spot (or hot zone) within its campus to demonstrate how quickly a person in a moving vehicle could download and upload large video files to the network.   The company’s pre-5G standard technology already supports some in-vehicle services, as well as smart city initiatives such as traffic, smart lighting and CCTV, and as it gains widespread coverage, even more innovations will occur.

Sporting venues will likely use 5G hot zones to deliver a new in-stadium fan experience that offers personalized video feeds of a customer’s favorite player to their mobile device. One example of this was the time slice feature that was available for the winter Olympics. Moreover, remote healthcare use cases will get a boost with better bandwidth to enhance the video and enable new use cases such as assisted surgery with augmented and virtual reality.

https://news.samsung.com/global/video-5g-city-samsungs-preview-of-the-5g-era

 

Cignal AI’s Optical Customer Markets Report: Optical spending up in China & NA; Down for cloud service providers & other regions

Cignal AI’s (Andrew Schmitt) latest  Optical Customer Markets Report states that spending growth by cable Multiple System Operators (MSOs) led all other North American industry verticals during first quarter 2018. The report also reveals that contrary to continued increase in China’s optical spending, incumbent network operator spending in North America and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) on optical transport equipment continues to decline.  Spending in North America grew 30 percent and outpaced all other customer verticals, including cloud operators.

Indeed, optical equipment spending by cloud operators has stalled due to rapidly declining prices and the use of IP-over-WDM as a substitute. Despite the downward trend, however, Ciena and Infinera continue to increase market share in the cloud optical network market.

“In North America, cable MSOs were the strongest performing customer market during the first quarter of 2018,” says Andrew Schmitt, lead analyst at Cignal AI. “Cloud operators are not increasing purchases of optical equipment, though common belief right now is just the opposite. The revenue growth from cloud operators experienced by Ciena and Infinera came at the expense of other vendors’ sales.”

Other key findings in the report include China being the largest source of optical hardware market growth, almost single-handedly representing the one-third global spending by Asia. Global spending by cable MSOs grew 5% year-over-year in the first quarter, with North America increasing 30%.

Other findings of the report were outlined in the press release and included:

  • Ciena and Infinera sales growth in the cloud and colo market came during a period of overall spending decline among these customers (see above chart).
  • Optical equipment spending by cloud operators has stalled, which contradicts the common perception that cloud operators like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are increasing spending on optical transport equipment. Growth in the cloud market has been inhibited by rapidly declining prices and the use of IP over WDM as a substitute.
  • One third of global spending on optical hardware is in Asia, with almost all coming from Chinese incumbent operators.
  • Cable MSO global spending grew 5 percent year-over-year in the first quarter.

Cignal AI’s Optical Customer Markets Report is issued quarterly and quantifies optical equipment sales to five key customer markets as well as equipment vendor market share for sales to cloud operators.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

From a separate Cignal AI market research report, here’s the latest YoY Revenue % increase/decrease for various segments of the optical networking market by country or region and Grand Total:

 

Chart courtesy of Cignal AI

FTTH/FTTP Update: Migration from HFC to Distributed Access Architecture for MSOs

by Jon Baldry, Director Metro Marketing at Infinera

Fibre to the Home (FTTH) or Building (FTTP) is now a very popular choice for new housing developments and business parks across the globe. Extending broadband availability and raising public expectations provides a major boost for the industry, but there is a greater challenge in regions with a well-established copper or cable infrastructure. Telcos are already stretching DSL technology to discourage customer churn. Cable too has significant territory to defend: it begins with a more powerful offering, but MSOs cannot be complacent.

QoS is the new battle cry, and Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) offers a major challenge to the spread of Fibre to the Home. The migration to DAA is inevitable, but not to be undertaken lightly.  The global advance of FTTH has been dramatic, and it is expected to provide nearly 50% of all broadband subscriptions by 2022. But it is worth noting that this has been driven by exceptional uptake in certain countries, notably the Far East, where the legacy copper and cable infrastructure was less established.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

China accounts for over a third of the global broadband total, and over 70% of those connections are on FTTH. Singapore has 95% FTTH, South Korea over 80% and Hong Kong over 70% according to the Fibre Broadband Association. Compare that with Europe, with its legacy copper and cable infrastructure, where FTTH penetration is barely 10%.

Editor’s Note:  Point Topic said that  in 12 months to the end of Q1 2018, China added nearly 63 million FTTH connections. This figure constituted 80% of global FTTH net adds in the period.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Fibre still has a long way to go, and installation will take time in the old world with its stricter planning regulations and narrow old-town streets.  What does the world want from broadband?

Expectations are changing rapidly. Optical fibre now delivers about six times the capacity that DSL can manage. There is still huge demand for downloads and streaming video and services like 4K HDTV are pushing demand way beyond the capabilities of current DSL technology. More significantly, in addition to the video demands, users also use a broad range of services such as social media, gaming and potentially, in the not too distant future, virtual or augmented reality where upload speeds and latency become much more important. Here legacy cable delivery does have a distinct disadvantage – although it has accelerated its download speeds to stay around 80% of fibre capacity, cable’s upload speeds are more like one third of what FTTH can offer. Cable was in a strong position in the days of asymmetric Internet usage, but today’s soaring demand for massive bandwidth, fast uploads, low latency and high reliability presents a serious challenge, and the industry is looking to a new Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) to meet this challenge. This is a radical move that will impact the entire system for cable multiple service operators’ (MSOs) optical networks, from “fiber-deep” access networks to support Remote PHY Devices (RPDs) to the need for enormous bandwidth scalability throughout their entire networks.

For a couple of decades cable operators have used Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) to connect the core to the access networks. The fibre carries the data as analogue radio frequency (RF) signals, similar to those in the coaxial access cables, rather than digital packets as in a typical fibre network like FTTH (Fig 1). This analogue infrastructure is expensive to operate and maintain. Digital signals are more tolerant of signal to noise degradation and are therefore less affected by attenuation, whereas analogue signals need a chain of power hungry amplifiers along the route to maintain signal strength and quality. This analogue technology was designed to suit earlier network requirements, which it supported well, but it cannot scale to meet today’s increasing demands.

Figure 1: The Current HFC Access Network 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Note also that each Optical Network Terminal (ONT) typically serves several hundred homes, requiring costly analogue equipment that requires considerable maintenance. With so many subscribers per node, the system struggles to support bursts in demand, slowing down delivery at those most critical times.

The new “fibre deep” approach pushes today’s default packet-based digital fibre technology out closer to the end point (see Figure 2). Replacing analogue channels and the older transmission protocol also frees up spectrum in the remaining shorter coaxial plant for more efficient use of capacity, enabling Full Duplex delivery so that upload speeds will be able to match download speeds. This narrows that gap between FTTH and Cable for interactive gaming, virtual reality and social media purposes – as well as increasing its potential for future Internet of Things (IoT) applications where masses of data may be uploaded from countless small devices.

Note also in Figure 2. below that increasing in the number of nodes closer to the end users means that each one serves around one tenth of the number of subscribers, and this facilitates exceptional interactive services. The cable network has for many years supported on-demand content, and the updated network architecture makes room for more locally stored content. Being closer improves responsiveness and Quality of Service (QoS), especially during peak hours.  These developments will present a serious challenge to the arrival of FTTH providers, who already have to compete against an existing infrastructure and established customer base.

 

Figure 2: HFC to Distributed Access Architecture (DAA)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Huge potential versus tricky demands of DAA:

DAA offers exciting opportunities, but migration to this new architecture presents a raft of new challenges. Fibre and DWDM pushing deeper into the access network from the secondary hub to remote RPDs means a tenfold or so increase in the number of end points for the DWDM network. Secondary hubs will now also have to aggregate 100s of 10Gb/s circuits from RPDs into efficiently filled 100Gb/s backhaul circuits to the primary hubs. These secondary hub locations are often already space and power constrained and when they aren’t, operators may look to consolidate secondary hubs, creating a space and power constrained environment.

Selecting suitable equipment will no longer be a simple matter of asking a preferred supplier to meet the required performance levels, it will be necessary to look closely at the specifications to see if devices are sufficiently compact and power efficient to optimise scarce secondary hub real estate and to provide additional capabilities that can address the significant operational challenges of managing such a high density aggregation. With a tenfold or so increase in the number of RPDs terminating the DWDM network, installation and operating expenses will soar unless care is taken to choose the most compact, reliable and easy to maintain equipment.

Optical equipment suppliers are aware of these concerns and are rising to the challenge of mass deployment of DAA networks. Great advancements are being made in terms for density, power consumption and addressing the operational challenges of managing potentially 1000s of fibers within a secondary hub rack. What’s more, the industry has been working to bring the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) vision of autotuneable WDM-PON optics up to the performance levels required to support the reach and capacity requirements of DAA networks. This eases the pressures of commissioning and maintaining extensive DWDM optical networks by replacing the technicians’ burden of determining and adjusting wavelengths at every installation. Autotuneable technology will automatically select the correct wavelength without any configuration by the remote field engineer enabling them to treat DWDM installations with the same simplicity as grey optics.

These are the sort of challenges that will be faced as MSOs migrate to DAA, and they will need to take a very close look at their choice of equipment and solutions in order to meet the very specific challenges of fibre-deep access networks. However, a successful DAA rollout is not just about what happens in the access network. DAA will also create a surge in bandwidth demand throughout the entire infrastructure – from access through transport to core. Unless steps are taken to reinforce, optimise and automate the entire network capability, the most powerful, responsive and efficient access network could become its own worst enemy.

Conclusions:

Already nearly a half of all US consumers are using streaming video services and 70% “binge watch” TV series, while virtual and enhanced reality services and 4K high definition TV are still poised to go mainstream. So future-proofing a cable MSO’s network means preparing for a highly uncertain future.

Network operators will need help from specialist optical equipment providers to optimise optical transport platforms to their specific needs, creating network architectures that will be highly scaleable, that simplify operations, accelerate the launch of new services, and minimize total cost of ownership. Something that will only be achieved by installing intelligent networks that integrate best-in-class technology and automate a significant proportion of manual operations.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

On July 23, 2018, Infinera announced its intent to acquire Coriant, a global supplier of open, hyperscale networking solutions for service providers and web-scale internet operators. We are excited at the opportunity to combine forces with Coriant and are delighted to imagine the possibilities. Infinera’s acquisition of Coriant positions the company as… Read More

Recent Posts