LightSquared in Contract Talks- Aims to be King of Wireless Wholesale Networks in U.S.

Upstart wireless telco LightSquared is seeking to become the leading wholesale network operator in the US.  By using LTE -a “4G” wireless technology that supports faster web access on smartphones, notebooks and tablet computers- the company expects to leapfrog Clearwire which is currently the largest U.S. wireless wholesale network provider.  Currently, Clearwire is selling wholesale WiMAX networks to Sprint, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable. 

LightSquared’s LTE mobile network will also utilize satellite spectrum acquired by New York hedge fund Harbinger Capital. The company plans to build a hybrid network that will integrate LTE mobile technology with a satellite-based service, something that’s never been done before and has attracted many skeptics. LightSquared launched a satellite last November, and three handset makers, including Nokia, are developing handsets for their network. AT&T’s proposal to buy T-Mobile USA was bad news for LightSquared, because it was hoping T-Mobile to be one of its first large wholesale customers.

Sanjiv Ahuja, LightSquared’s chief executive, says the company should begin trial services in the second half of this year, and that its 4G network will cover more than 80 per cent of the population by 2015. He claims LightSquared has two key advantages over Clearwire. First, by using LTE, LightSquared has selected a much more popular 4G wireless technology. Second, although Clearwire’s spectrum holdings are more than double the size of LightSquared’s, Mr Ahuja says the airwaves he plans to use are more attractive because they are at a lower frequency where wireless signals travel further. This means it should cost LightSquared less than Clearwire to build a network. “There will only be three 4G LTE providers in the US with a nationwide footprint: the top two [AT&T and Verizon] and LightSquared,” says Mr Ahuja.  Bye, bye Clearwire!

As reported by CommsUpdate, last week LightSquared signed up retail chain Best Buy as a customer for its wholesale LTE network, and also struck a long-term roaming agreement with pre-paid mobile operator Leap Wireless to supplement its own planned LTE coverage. According to the terms of its licence the LightSquared network must achieve coverage of 100 million people by the end of 2012, 145 million people by the end of 2013 and 260 million people (not including satellite coverage) by the end of 2015. The network is expected to launch in the second half of this year (2011).

According to Bloomberg, Time Warner Cable (TWC) is in talks with LightSquared, Citing two people familiar with the situation, Bloomberg reports that TWC is interested in re-selling 4G services over LightSquared’s network. However, the unnamed sources have stressed that negotiations are not public, and no deal is guaranteed. Note that TWC currently resells Clearwire’s 4G Mobile WiMAX network. Cablevision is considering a partnership with LightSquared, according to a Bloomberg report, which cited an unnamed source. The report came shortly after another Bloomberg report, which said that Time Warner Cable, Cablevision’s rival, also was considering a deal with LightSquared. Audrey Schaefer, a LightSquared spokeswoman, declined to comment on the Bloomberg report. She told FierceWireless that LightSquared does not have a specific timeframe for announcing customers, and that the company follows the preference of customers on whether they want the deal to be publicly known.

The Financial Times reports that LightSquared is in talks with at least 60 companies that were interested in reselling the company’s mobile network to offer voice or data services to consumers or businesses. “There are 60-plus discussions, and 15 of those are at a stage where we are negotiating contracts with our customers,” LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja told the Financial Times.

LightSquared is conducting LTE trials in Baltimore, Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix, with commercial launches planned by the third quarter of this year. The company has committed to cover 100 million POPs by the end of 2012, 145 million by the end of 2013 and 260 million by the end of 2015.

Call for Interest – M2M Standardization Task Force – especially encouraging IEEE standards based involvement!

The US Telecommunications Association (TIA) is hosting the first Global Standards Collaboration Machine to Machine Standardization Task Force (MSTF) meeting in Dallas on May 18th, 2011.  The MSTF was created in Beijing, China in September 2010.  

The purpose of the MSTF is to provide a forum where work on M2M/Internet of Things standardization can be discussed in order to foster harmonization and avoid duplication of effort.  The M2M Standardization Task Force is for individuals who can represent their organizations (SDOs, IEEE, etc.) in various capacities.  It’s not open to the general public.

However, the organization states that “it would be of great interest to benefit from the views of IEEE or other related groups.  TIA is in the process of finalizing the agenda and is looking for knowledgable speaker s(15 mn) to share a standards committee/ task force/ working group/ study group position on M2M/IoT standardization.”

The MSTF meeting will take place, during TIA 2011, which is a telecommunications-focused summit and exhibition show (, at the Gaylord Texan hotel, 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, Texas 76051 Tel: +1.817.778.2000.

Alain Louchez of Numerex ([email protected]) is the coordinator of the MSTF meeting.  Please contact him for additional information.

The key deliverables of the MSTF are: 

-To facilitate global coordination and harmonization.
-To openly share relevant M2M material through liaisons, meeting invitations, etc.
-To outline the worldwide M2M activity map and make recommendations on current and future activities
-To encourage broad participation in the MSTF by GSC members and beyond
-MSTF will report to GSC -16 (to be held  in Halifax, Canada at the end of October 2011) on its activities and recommendations.

Jeff Smith, Chair of TIA TR-50 Smart Device Communications Committee, was appointed Convenor of the MSTF.  Cheryl Blum is TIA Vice President for Technology and Business Development and in charge of standards at TIA (an update on TIA’s work on standards can be found. at:

While the MSTF is only open to standards professionals, the TIA 2011 Conference is open to the public at large.

Comment:  The entity that “reigns sovereign” over the IEEE standards committees (including 802)  is the IEEE-Standards Association. To the best of my knowledge, IEEE does not have a standards committee on M2M communications or devices with embedded communications capability..  Rather, existing IEEE standards committees (e.g. within IEEE 802;16) may have a M2M study group or task group.  For example,

IEEE 802.16’s Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Task Group

IEEE Communications magazine April 2011 issue will have a special section on Recent Progress in M2M Communications

Note:  This call for participation has been sent to the IEEE 802 EC reflector – the email list for communicating with the 802 Executive Committee (made up of the 802 officers and working group chairs)/

Storage Area Network (SAN) market on the upswing- will 10GE or 40GE play a larger role?

Market research firm Infonetics Research ( last week released its fourth quarter of 2010 (4Q10) SAN Equipment market share and forecast report, which tracks storage area network (SAN) switches and adapters.  According to an Infonetics press release, the SAN EQUIPMENT MARKET highlights are:

.    The combined SAN switch and adapter market grew 15% in 2010 over the previous year, to $2.76 billion worldwide
.    For the quarter, SAN switch and adapter revenue is up 10% in 4Q10 over 3Q10, to $749 million worldwide
.    Infonetics Research forecasts the worldwide SAN equipment market to grow to $8.4 billion in 2015
.    In the adapter space, the 2 kingpins QLogic and Emulex showed solid revenue increases in 2010 over 2009 (10% and 12%, respectively)
.    Worldwide FCoE SAN switch revenue jumped more than 200% in 2010, albeit from a small base
.    SAN equipment simplifies the complexity of consolidating and increasing the size of data centers, a huge trend that continues as data center owners grapple with exploding amounts of (largely consumer-generated) video and data content

“The SAN switch and adapter market rebounded nicely in 2010 after the drop in 2009, with revenue growth driven mainly by Cisco, which posted a 60% increase in SAN switch revenue in 2010. Brocade remains the market leader in the overall SAN space of course, but it lost 6 points of market share while Cisco gained 7. Cisco is in a good position here with its strong lead in the Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) switch segment, widely seen as the future technology of the data center,” notes IEEE member Michael Howard, co-founder and principal analyst for carrier and data center networks at Infonetics Research.

AJW Comments and Opinions:

At the February 24-25 Ethernet Technology Summit, it was stated that Fibre Channel (FC), rather than Ethernet or FCoE or Infiniband,dominated SAN shipments and would continue to do so.  However, the Infonetics report states that “Worldwide FCoE SAN switch revenue jumped more than 200% in 2010, albeit from a small base.”  Furthermore, at March 16 IDC Directions, an analyst predicted explosive growth for FCoE in coming years. 

Jim Duffy of Network World writes:  “Cisco is unfazed by the realization that FibreChannel over Ethernet, the storage virtualization technology it helped define, standardize and evangelize, is essentially being given away for free. FCoE is designed to help unify a data center switching fabric by converging FibreChannel storage traffic over Ethernet, thereby saving the expense and operational complexity of running separate cables, deploying separate NICs and, eventually, SAN switches.

But FCoE, to the surprise of analysts and other industry observers, is being given away for free by leading adapter and switch vendors due to immaturity and market inertia. The virtualization technology is virtually the same price as a naked 10G Ethernet port, which undermines claims of high demand for FCoE – it’s essentially getting a free ride from 10G.”

Opinion: We do see a booming business for 10GE LAN PHY for storage and servers in the new data center (over a decade after that IEEE 802.3 standard was completed!).  While Brocade still has the largest SAN equipment market share, it does look like Cisco is gaining ground in the SAN switch market.

About the Infonetics SAN market report:

Infonetics’ SAN equipment provides worldwide and regional market size, market share, forecasts, and analysis for Fiber Channel (FC) and Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) SAN switches, and 3 segments of storage networking adapters: Fiber Channel host bus adapters (FC HBAs), iSCSI HBAs, and FCoE converged network adapters (CNAs). Switches are tracked by chassis (director) vs. fixed (fabric), and all ports are tracked by type (10G FCoE, FC 2G, FC 4G, FC 8G, FC 16G, iSCSI). The report tracks ATTO, Brocade, Chelsio, Cisco, Emulex, Intel, LSI, Mellanox/Voltaire, Myricom, Neterion, QLogic, and others.

To download the prospectuses, tables of contents, etc. for related and upcoming research (below), please log in to Infonetics’ service portal ( and go to ENTERPRISE NETWORKING or DATA CENTER NETWORKS.

IEEE ComSocSCV March 9th Town Hall meeting: Status & Future Directions for Communications Industry + What IEEE Can Do!

IEEE ComSocSCV has assembled a power panel of five telecom/photonics/networking industry experts to present and discuss the status, trends, and future directions of the “Network” in each of their subject areas. Included will be: the Mobile Broadband Operator’s Dilemma (and techniques to solve it), Photonics, Optical Components & Networks, DSL and evolution of high speed Internet access over copper twisted pair, Evolution of Ethernet (will it be everywhere?), Comcast’s Triple Play Delivery Network and Business Class services to enterprise customers.

The panelists will comment on the current state of each of these areas, how it has changed from prior decades, what’s driving it now (growth engines), and what may be coming in the near future (e.g. cloud computing, higher speed wireline Internet access, 4G mobile broadband, more video services, etc). For example, the mobile operator’s dilemma- the revenue is in voice services, but the demand is for high speed data with low latency. This will be our most informative and interactive meeting of 2011! Don’t miss it. More details and RSVP instructions at the ComSocSCV web site (where we archive presentations from previous technical meetings):

Here are a few highlights of what type of what we might expect to learn from our distinguished speakers:

Stu Jeffery, IEEE Life Member and long time ComSocSCV Discussion list contributor, will talk about the huge dilemma facing Mobile Cellular Operators – The money is in voice, but the demand is in high speed data (often with low latency). This creates a demand for additional network capacity – both in access and backhaul- but it must come at a relatively low cost since operator revenues aren’t keeping up with the explosive growth in mobile data traffic.

Some of the schemes that operators might use to improve overall wireless network capacity include:

-Acquire more licensed spectrum (by buying it from Clearwire or waiting ? till next auction)

-Nano cells and nano base stations with Self Organizing Networks/ SONs which might assign a given subscriber to a Base Station in an adjacent cell, when the closest Base Station is close to being saturated with data traffic.

-Improved modulation methods – LTE, LTE with CoMP, LTE with WiFi offload

-Other capacity enhancement schemes, e.g. Blast, MiMO, CoMP, Spacial Multiplexing (beamformaing)

-Femto cell or WiFi hot spot off load of data traffic

-Use cognitive radios and UNLICENSED spectrum (was the intent of IEEE 802.22 Wireless Regional Area Networks, which evidently went nowhere

Stu wonders how cellular network operators can generate enough revenues and profits to stay in business, considering most are now running hybrid networks. e.g. voice on 3G cellular (TDM based) and data on “4G” (IP based) networks.

[Editors Note: Mobile WiMAX and LTE are actually enhanced 3G technologies according to ITU-R that is responsible for selecting RANs that meet the IMT-Advanced criteria)]. There are also application issue threats to mobile network operator business. For example, Skype may limit circuit switch voice revenues (e.g. VZW) for subscribers that have unlimited “all you can eat” data plans.

IEEE Fellow Michael Lebby of Translucent Inc will address key issues for the optical networking/phontonics industries:

-The optical network and photonic component industries have not fully recovered from the 2001-2002 telecom bubble bursting and dot com crash. What’s the status of the industry now and what market segments are driving demand for optical/photonic components and systems?

-What are the key optical components (lasers, amplifiers, detectors, MEMS, etc) that are now being used in various types of optical networking equipment? For example, DWDM transponders, OEO switches, photonic switches, OADM/ROADM, PONs, Optical cross connects, routers and servers with optical network interfaces, etc

-What is the status of various optical networks that have been deployed? For example, SONET/SDH (is it on the decline?), OTN (on the upswing?), Optical Ethernet (1G, 10G), 40G/100G Ethernet, any others? Which look promising going forward?

-Why hasn’t 40G SONET/SDH OC192 been deployed more on inter-city and long haul optical links/wavelengths? It was promised to be hot in 2001! Is it pure economics that 4 x 10G is cheaper than 1 x 40G or is there another reason(s)?

-Why haven’t telcos deployed more fiber to business buildings and cell towers? That would stimulate the market for Optical Ethernet access and Optical Backhaul of 4G traffic, but telcos don’t seem to be in a rush to build out their fiber plant- why?

-Whatever happened to the “all optical network” with photonic switches and under long haul without OEO repeaters? What is the status of optical network monitoring, protection and restoration?

-What type of optical networking or component start up companies are of interest now to VCs, private equity firms and/or Angel investors?

-What’s the outlook for the optical component and networking markets in the next few years?

Despite all the advances in fiber optic networks, copper (DSL) based Internet access seems to have a lot of live left. Wonjong Rhee of ASSIA-Inc is an early member of ASSIA Inc, a company founded by DSL pioneer and former colleague John Cioffi. Wonjong has held positions leading the invention and hands-on development of the company’s DSL network optimization product. The product has been successfully commercialized and now it manages 80% of the DSLs in the US and approximately 15~25% of all DSLs worldwide! We are eagerly looking forward to his talk “DSL Roadmap to 1~2Gbps and Management of DSL.”

Here are a few issues Wonjong may address:

1. AT&T and other carriers use two different ransport architectures for DSL:
a] ATM over ADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2+ for Voice/Internet access or “naked DSL”
b] IP-Ethernet over VDSL, VDSL2, etc for delivery of triple play services over shorter loops (FTTN/ Fiber to the Cabinet).

What’s the status, trend and future direction for each of these?

2. VDSL was originally thought to be a high speed Internet + video distribution systems for multi-tenant dwellings/ office buildings. Why didn’t that happen in a big way and is it now viable with newer and faster VDSL standards?

3. How was it possible to so greatly extend the reach of VDSL, when it was conceived as a short reach transmission technology only capable of transport over a few hundred meters?

4. What is the % deployed of the various DSL technologies (ADSL, SHDSL, SDSL, VDSL, etc)= in U.S. and globally?

5. What is the future for all types of DSL, in terms of reach, speed, services (both for home and business), configuration, transport architecture, applications, other?

Many thanks to ASSIA-Inc for co-sponsoring this meeting!

Long time IEEE member and ComSocSCV Discussion list participant Geoff Thompson will cover the evolution of Ethernet, where it is now and where it’s going, Geoff worked at Xerox in the late 1970s where the first 3M and 10M bit/sec Ethernet systems were developed. For several years he was Vice Chair and then Chair of the IEEE 802.3 standards committee. Geoff will hopefully also touch on the following new flavors of Ethernet:

-Industrial Ethernet- what it is and what it’s used for

-Synchronous Ethernet- importance for applications like real time conferencing, circuit emulation, cellular backhaul of TDM (as well as IP) traffic

-40G/100G- what do you think are the key applications and timeframes.

While Ethernet was invented for LANs, it is now being used by network operators where it is referred to as “Carrier Ethernet.” Telcos, Public Utilities and MSOs (cable network operators) are offering such business class services to enterprise and government customers. We’re thrilled to have a representative from Comcast- the leading MSO in the U.S.- to tell us about their Ethernet based business class services and network. Nicholas Tornetta, a Senior Sales Engineer at Comcast- will cover the status and future direction of Comcast’s business class services/ network for enterprise customers. He will also brief us on the network the company uses for the delivery of triple play services (voice, high speed data, entertainment video) to residential customers. These two Comcast networks will be contrasted and compared.

Many thanks to Comcast Enterprise Business Services for co-sponsoring this meeting!

The five short presentations will be followed by a highly interactive panel session with audience Q & A encouraged. The moderator will ask the panelists what IEEE could possibly do to progress the state of their respective industries and subject areas of expertise. Something beyond more or better conferences, technical meetings, webinars, publications, etc

This will be your best opportunity of the year to interact with highly knowledgable networking industry experts. It will also be the ONLY ComSocSCV meeting this year to be moderated and chaired by Alan J Weissberger, the manager and moderator of the Community ComSoc web site.

Please plan to attend this very significant Town Hall meeting and get your questions ready for the panelists! Plan to arrive at 6pm for our networking session with fellow attendees, panelists and IEEE ComSocSCV officers.