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.