Carl Ford : 4G: For Generations to Come
Carl Ford

Access is Still Pretty Good

At all the shows, it is cloud this and cloud that - a bunch of doom and gloom on legacy telecom....

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Mobile fax? Why do you need that?

Fax is an enduring technology. While you may think that fax is declining, some reports show that the market is actually...

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We ask the experts: How can exceptional QoE be achieved in VoLTE networks?

By: Jean Jones, Director, Wireless Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

What does voice over LTE (VoLTE) offer your subscribers? Better voice quality, including HD voice. Rich communications with messaging and video. And whatever inventive applications you choose to introduce. In other words, VoLTE can provide a superior quality of experience (QoE) for subscribers and give you a competitive edge — particularly when your service operates at its best. 

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In my last blog[CCE1] , our experts explained why an end-to-end strategy is the key to maintaining peak VoLTE performance. Now we’ll look at how this strategy gets put into practice to optimize real-world service offerings. The information here is based on interviews with Luis Venerio who works with our VoLTE Readiness Services team. And his observations come straight from his experience on VoLTE deployments that serve millions of subscribers.

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Wearable Tech Expo 2014 Kicking off in NYC

My team is at the Jacob Javits Center setting up for Wearable Tech Expo 2014 which will take place Wednesday and Thursday...

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When Does WebRTC Need a Media Server? Reason #7

Tsahi Levent-Levi’s white paper, “Seven Reasons for WebRTC Server-Side Processing,” details a variety of WebRTC-related scenarios that necessitate a media server....

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How signaling spikes affect networks: 3 real-world examples

By: Josee Loudiadis, Director of Network Intelligence, Alcatel-Lucent

Data and signaling growth are usually good news for network operators, since growth often translates into higher revenues. But when growth is averaged over a month or quarter, the daily highs and lows of network activity are smoothed out. And signaling spikes remain hidden within the averages. These spikes can overwhelm available signaling capacity, which impairs the customer experience, as well as the operator’s reputation.

What happens when a spike occurs? Typically, a CPU Overload alarm appears on various mobile nodes. And the Network Operations Center (NOC) immediately starts praying that the burst is short-lived and doesn’t go over maximum peak-rate capacity. Because when that happens, all consumers are denied service access. Then, the process of identifying the source of the problem begins. This can be arduous, because it often involves applications completely out of NOC control. And the issue can’t be resolved easily without solid network analytics that enables engagement with application and device developers.

That’s the reason signaling information is a crucial part of the Alcatel-Lucent Mobile Apps Rankings report and why LTE World 2014 devotes an entire pre-conference day to the topic. It’s also why this blog offers a closer look at how some real-world disruptive signaling spikes got started — and were finally resolved.

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The Expanding Channel Programs

Not only do I see more cloud service providers looking to the channel for sales, I see other channel programs expanding....

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Alvarion Scores $100 M WiMax Deal With Open Range

June 17, 2009

The press release just hit the Internets -- Alvarion's mysterious $100 million WiMax gear deal is with planned rural WiMax provider Open Range Communications, and not Clearwire as previously rumored.

According to Ashish Sharma, Alvarion vice president for corporate market development (and apparently handler of all late-night phone calls), the deal could eventually be in excess of the stated $100 million total over its planned five-year length -- but even at the stated $100 million, it's a big win for Alvarion, which just posted $68 million in revenues for its latest quarter. Though Open Range was all over government funding before anyone even dreamed of big telecom stimulus bucks, there are still a lot of questions in the industry whether Open Range is all hat, no cattle as they sometimes say out West.

While Open Range's promises and strange makeup -- government funding and a non-standard deal to obtain spectrum -- have made for a lot of industry head-scratching, the Alvarion deal (which calls for radio equipment, customer premise gear and systems integration) seems to put some meat on the Open Range skeleton, so to speak.

As we said earlier, any $100 million deal is a good one for the WiMax industry, no matter which provider is paying the bills. But until and unless Open Range actually starts delivering on its rural broadband promise (Sharma said services are supposed to be available before the end of the year) this one is still probably better marked as incomplete.

Tags: Alvarion, Clear, Clearwire, Open Range, Paul Kapustka, Sidecut Reports

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The Tax Man Backs Down for Now.

June 17, 2009

The IRS earlier this month was looking to tax the personal use of business cell phones.  It was considered a perk!.  To have a wireless tether 24x365 was a perk!  

They have since backed down, but the point is not this instant but what comes next.  What you should understand is that even at the federal level they are looking for new tax revenues.  

But cellphones represent a hornet's nest of issues when it comes to billing.  Its rare that the cellphone is a corporate charge.  Most of the time the billing is personal with expenses.  Its interesting that the IRS did not try to attack this from the opposite direction.  In effect the subsidy is the opposite way with the employee floating their employer. Mind you we have not gotten to the point where the IP-PBX has disappeared and its all wireless.  Lets drag picocells and dualmode into this to while we are at it.

All of these issues are great points of discussion to bring up when next the idea of taxing telecom comes up.  I would expect the issue to come up alot this year.


Tags: Cellphone, dual mode, femtocell, FMC, IP-PBX, IRS, picocells, taxes

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All Glory is Fleeting- The Genachowski / McDowell Hearings

June 17, 2009

Finally the hearings happen, but what a strange love fest.   In some ways it reminds me of the old adage, everyone hates congress but loves their congressman (95% of the incumbents got reelected last election).

Future Chairman Genachowski, was praised by Senate Committe Chairman Jay Rockerfeller with the telling line, 'If you do not have the credentials to be the Chairman, I don't know who would".

But the love fest was full of the reminder that all glory was fleeting and within the hearing were statements that made it clear the committee had their priorities of agendas.

The one that caught my ear (and seemed to have a rough concensus), was the desire for a nationwide emergency service system. 

NENA is ready with a next generation design that needs funding and it would be interesting to see if somehow the rules for $ 6.7 B stimulus can be modified to include the support of this build out. 

Whenever I think of the next generation of 911, I remember what a kludge funding for the existing network was and in this country every state's 911 is testament to how taxation has worked in the past.

Which is why I think the glory for poor Julius is fleeting.  The rules are old and the needs are new.  Its a bad combination and he will need to be adept at bringing the telecom act of 2010 into some useful model.

Congress wants him to succeed as do I.

Commissioner McDowell was very gracious and put his role in perspective.  I was very impressed with his opening remarks.

From Congresses perspective they have a monkey on their back with the issues of media ownership.  It was clear that their were expectations of shot clock of 6 months for the approval process for all future mergers and acquistions. 

Like Genachowski, McDowell was given the we want you to succeed despite our conflicting objectives (save the newspapers expand the ownership).

I also want to concur with the praise of Acting FCC Chairman Copps, he was the half vote on the pulver order and am glad to have as much of his guidance as possible.

Now that they are about to take their seats I want to put in my own two cents on their priorities.  I want to echo Senator Hutchison's call for the unserved to take priority over the underserved when it comes to broadband.  The Yellow spots on the map can fit into the definition of underserved even though if you were to use the cable model of homes passed the bandwidth is greater than the need.  Fix the problem for the unserved first. The underserved need solutions that are not directly associated with high cost and the need for tax dollars.  (imho A few rules in support of network neutrality might do the trick).


Tags: Broadband Policy, Commission McDowell, Commissioner Copps, Congress, Congressman, Julius Genachowski, Media Ownership, Net Neutrality, NextGen 911, Senator Hutchison, Senator Rockerfeller, Stimulus

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Dear Apple, Calm down.

June 16, 2009

The new iPhone 3GS has been declared sold out by Apple as it continues to take orders.  Perhaps they have adopted the record industry method of counting retail inventory as sold rather than available.  Whatever is going on its a very disturbing methodology and perhaps is an over reaction to Rubenstein's defection to Palm. 

The company has been so good for so long making it look like Steve was in total control, the fact that the emperor's clothes are fraying right now is disturbing.

Everyone likes the new price points.  I myself and thinking of expanding my owner ship of Apple gear, (though my Linux gear is non-existent right now and Ubuntu would give me access to some interesting mobile OS strategies.)

But the issue is that Wall Street is playing with stock based on the chatter.  Watching CNBC I have gotten Apple advise every fifteen minutes (or at least it has felt that way).

I want to buy technology for its value to me, not based on artificial stock manipulation.  And as we know from Kramer's past, Apple is a darling to play with.  I am hoping that the noise out of Cupertino calms down soon.


Tags: Apple, CNBC, iPhone, Jim Kramer, Linux, Ubuntu

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India - Tech Centers and guess what #1 Trend they want

June 16, 2009

Mobile Apps!

Looking at the Times of India (a good place to read to get away from the skew of US politics but perhaps hard for those who are used to a more US centric view).  One of the lead articles is on the tech center build outs going on in India. 

What are the trends will fill those offices?
  1) Mobile Applications
  2) Green Energy
  3) Green Lighting
  4) Global Positioning Systems
  5) Next Generation Networks
  6) Green Mobile
  7) Netbooks
  8) New Interfaces
  9) Content Delivery
10) High Definition TV

Most interesting is the fact that the story is no longer outward facing.  The article highlights the 400M mobile subscribers internal to India. Also highlighted is the use of SMS with ecommerce, Widgets and the mobile web.  The expectation is that SMS spam will be a big problem as well.

Saying all that the trend on the phone in India is take advantage of its recent upgrades to 3G made the 41st country to get 3G (though they consciously want to catch up to Japan and Korea in their WiMAX and LTE rollouts).

The best part of the discussion was the topic of the Set Top box offering WiFi access to the HD Video it was receiving.  Interesting concept and makes the Femto disucssion alot more interesting.

Tags: 3G, 4G, Applications, Femtocells, GPS, Green Mobile, HD Video, India, LTE, LTE Advanced, Mobile Apps, Times of India, WiMAX

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HD Video Samsung and Radvision Gear up for the Next Wave

June 15, 2009

Lots of talk about HD these days and I have been waiting for this announcement to put in my own two cents.

My personal view point is that HD Voice needs HD Video to lead the way. 

The first reason is that HD voice has very little chance of gaining new revenue.  Video Conferencing is becoming a very fertile marketplace.  It can blame the user generated content side for some of it, but the bigger picture is the bandwidth is becoming available globally.

So the ability to use presence with HD Video is huge and will eventually hit the tipping point for migration.  I am not saying that every call will be a video call, but at some point in our lives our goal will be to accept video as easily as we pick up a call.

So the VC240 product by Samsung a world leader in HD TV sets with the communications suite of Radvision is a great combo that should be considered in strategies for collaborative services.

Tags: Collaboration, HD Video, HD Voice, Radvision, Samsung, Telepresence, VC240, Video Conferencing

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The FVNO A New Role for Virgin with Sprint

June 15, 2009

Scanning the news on our site the announcement by Jim Patterson of Sprint that Wholesale Femtocells were a possibility gave me a great cause for speculation. 

What if Virgin Mobile took the challenge of providing a Virgin Mobile Femto?

What would that mean at the home?  A service that had unlimited ringtones?
An improved music player strategy that include private events?  I started to see some signs of genius here, when it came to hearing a difference in the femto model.  And in Virgin's case it could be bundled with a pay as you go model.

By in large femtocells often come across as a pretty strange beast to me.  Built for the carrier unlike a WiFi device in your house, but supposedly something you want to pay for.  Dual Mode phones are clearly popular (even though it prays for security to be missing)  so when does the femtocell become compelling?

Better coverage in your home, that pushes the landline out of their, but you need to keep a DSL or Cable Modem?  Feels like a stretch to me.

But bring in the idea of an MVNO with Femtocells and now it has some real legs, like the battle that rages in France with triple play set top boxes from Free and all the Thomson customers.

----

Acronym Decipher
MVNO - Mobile Virtual Network Operator
FVNO - Femtocell Virtual Network Operator


Tags: Cable Modems, DSL, Dual Mode, Femtocells, Free, Free.fr, FVNO, Jim Patterson, MVNO, Sprint, Thomson, Virgin Mobile

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Introducing the 'Clearwire NTK' Research Series -- Deep Insight for Less Than $5

June 13, 2009

Welcome to the June, 2009 installment of our "Clearwire Need To Know," or Clearwire NTK, Research Series. The NTK Series provides quarterly updates on all things related to Clearwire Corp.'s nascent WiMax services, including market launches, pricing schemes, WiMax device availability and recent business deals from the company building a nationwide WiMax network. The Clearwire NTK reports are designed to give anyone interested in Clearwire the most thorough and up-to-date package of news, analysis and short-term outlooks available, in a format designed for easy reading.

Much more comprehensive than short blog posts -- and much more timely and economic than thousand-dollar traditional analyst reports -- our Clearwire NTK reports are "right-sized research" for busy professionals who want to stay as current as possible on all things Clearwire. If you are interested in Clearwire, here is everything you NEED TO KNOW, ready for you to order and download directly from our site.

Topping out at just over 3,000 words -- like those good old feature stories that most tech publishers don't have the space or author experience to provide any more, each of our Clearwire NTK reports are available in form factors designed for your convenience, from PDF downloads for your desktop, laptop or netbook, or in formats suitable for reading on your Kindle bookreader or iPhone.



Jim Crowe and Dan Hesse

June 12, 2009

  The Wall Street Journal reported that Level 3 and Sprint are in talks. And while a lot of the commentary will be negative, I have to admit I think it is synergistic. First of all the realities; Level 3 had a head chopping moment about a year ago where good people that were paid reasonably well were cut by pay grade and not by performance. Some of them have landed elsewhere others are still in transition.  At the time I thought it was positioning the company for acquisition and I thought a customer was already in mind other than Sprint. Level 3 has had some interesting services based on their customer's needs and between their relationships with Amazon and its cloud network and Akamai and others in the video world they were finding new uses for the network that were valuable. On the VoIP voice side, as a supplier they were pretty firm with their pricing models and while I considered them too pricey for some of the stuff I was asking them. However,  combined with the 911 support services they were offering many retail VoIP solutions found them useful.  Sprint likewise found a niche in supporting the cable operators as they need transport of telecom traffic and some form of triple play services. Of course the major goal was not to work with Sprint but not to work with the incumbent which helped justify the separation from the ILEC (now called Embarq). Dan Hesse was at Embarq before coming back into the Sprint fold and he has successfully managed the finishing touches on the Clearwire strategy.   (Has anyone noticed that the Palm Pre supports WiMAX?). Some of the commentary has been negative on a 51% newco strategy that would take assets from Level3 and Sprint. Remember Wholesale LD requires volume, so combined they may move into the second position for wholesale minutes. Personally, if Sprint finds a way to be the Berkshire Hathaway of Telecom, more power to them.    

Tags: Dan Hesse, Jim Crowe, Level3, Sprint

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Dear Clearwire, Reach me @home.

June 12, 2009

Sitting here wanting to participate in the WiMAX testing and using the Palm Pre, I need a WiMAX home device to backhaul to Clearwire.

If they were to do this and I think it would also enable them to trend spot customers in clusters and accelerate their rollout plans.  Another key ingredient if the device enabled meshing would be to let word of mouth and the palm pre to drive customers.

As a majority owner, I think Sprint would like this as well and if they share the info new synergies may materialize between them and their cable operators.

Tags: Clearwire, Femtocells, Sprint, WiMAX

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