Next Generation Communications Blog

Broadband

IP Video: A Whirlwind of Innovation

By: Roland Mestric, Director, Video Solutions Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

Before the iPhone, the world of TV was relatively simple. Linear TV programs were delivered to the TV set over the air or to its set-top box (STB), which was directly tied to the cable coax, the home gateway or the satellite dish.

Now everything has changed.

Video-enabled, IP-connected devices with ever-greater screen resolution are flooding the market. Tablets, smartphones and smart TVs are running on many flavours of operating systems. All use different protocols, formats and standards. With these devices, end users have many options to watch video. These include being attached to the service provider’s managed network, or being directly connected to the Internet and consuming ‘over-the-top’ content. Moreover, end users want to watch their favorite content on demand; they no longer want to be restricted to linear programing. This adds yet another level of complexity to this whirlwind of change.

Covering all IP video options results in countless protocols, proliferating standards and loads of acronyms. Even industry watchers can find the rapidly evolving world of IP video confusing. That’s why I created this IP video streaming infographic.

Answering the Question of How to Manage NFV Effectively with an vEPC

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The advantages to mobile operators of network functions virtualization (NFV) and moving to a virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC) have become clear, and mobile networks operators are pretty much sold on the technology in theory.

As the technology side has been figured out and operators begin to plan commercial deployments of NFV and vEPC, however, discussion is starting to move toward operational requirements and challenges. Mobile network operators need to figure out how best to manage these new virtual network functions (VNFs) and the NFV infrastructure, and also how to modify the existing network operations model when these VNFs are deployed.

The Cat Video Index: A Simple View of Data Costs

By: Andy Porter, Product Manager in the Payment, Policy and Charging department at Alcatel-Lucent

The Economist has its famous Big Mac index for comparing buying power across countries. But I wanted an index that focuses on the cost of mobile data usage. That meant I had to find a data-charging equivalent of the Big Mac. I needed an item that crosses cultural boundaries, is universally understood and is available worldwide.

I considered many possibilities. But the answer arrived when I saw my daughter laughing at a video of a cat playing a piano. Obviously, the mobile data equivalent of the Big Mac is the YouTube video. It’s a universally available service that is easily measured in quantitative terms, making it ideal for comparing mobile data costs.

In honor of my daughter, I chose the classic “piano-playing cat” as the baseline video. And by the way, this cat video has been viewed over 34 million times, proving its suitability as a baseline.

THE SECRET VALUE OF VoLTE - WHAT'S IN IT FOR CONSUMERS

By: Ed Elkin, Director, IP Platforms Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent 

Today’s consumers want faster mobile broadband, and lots of it. That’s the dominant fact shaping Mobile Service Providers’ competitive strategies. So let’s look at what you can offer these valuable subscribers with voice over LTE (VoLTE).

Ethernet VPN Brings Distinct Advantages over Its Predecessor

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Ethernet services delivery based on the control plane approach hasn’t changed for proven solutions such as MPLS/VPLS and PBB. Layer 2 flooding and learning as an approach to build the forwarding database is still necessary, but this has inherent limitations.

A new approach has emerged that brings many benefits over the control plane approach in the form of Ethernet VPN (EVPN). With EVPN, the control plane and data planes are abstracted and separated. A multiprotocol BGP (MP-BGP) control plane protocol carries MAC/IP routing information, and there are several data plane encapsulation choices.

Optical Transport Networks Help Operators Meet Growing Traffic Requirements

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

It has been called the “data storm;” due to increased online video usage, the cloud, and mobile devices, bandwidth demand is increasing relentlessly, and operators are straining to keep up.

Research from Bell Labs suggests that from 2013 to 2017, operators will see a 550 percent increase in bandwidth demand due to the shift to cloud and a 720 percent increase in bandwidth to support IP video across fixed and mobile networks. This will result in a 320 percent increase in the amount of traffic in the core network.

“Telecom operators are starting to realize that simply increasing the line rate is no longer sufficient to control the costs associated with increasing bandwidth demands,” noted David Stokes of Alcatel-Lucent in a recent TechZine article, Optical transport networks and bandwidth demand. In fact, we really are seeing exponential traffic growth as recent research from Bell Labs below shows expected traffic growth from 2013 to 2017.  



DLNA CVP-2 Will Make Sharing Pay TV Much Easier

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet.com Contributor

There are two kinds of technology consumers: Those who revel in the technology, and those who just want the benefits of the technology without having to think about tech itself.

While I definitely am someone who enjoys the technological innovation as much as the results of that innovation, most consumers are not. They just want technology that works, i.e., where the proof of the viability of next generation capabilities can be summed up as “seeing is believing.”  

One example of this is the increasing popularity of multiscreen entertainment as delivered over a leading-edge multiscreen video platform such as the Alcatel-Lucent one that has become with service providers around the world. Consumers don’t want to have to fiddle with their computer or TV to get their content from one device to the next. They just want it to work; consumers want to be able to walk around the house with their shows or take their entertainment out into the world via their smartphone, not unlike we’ve been able to do with hardbound books for generations.

Who's Afraid of Interoperability?

By: Mike Schabel, VP, Small Cells, Alcatel-Lucent

In our never ending quest to deliver higher capacity networks and more effectively deliver a true broadband experience to wireless consumers, our industry continuously engages in vigorous debates about new technology, architecture, and processes followed by rapid acceptance and adoption.

I only look to small cells as an example, where the industry has quickly evolved from a macro-centric view that small cells were an unnecessary nuisance, to the current view where they are accepted as necessary for scaling the network and create compelling new opportunities for network optimization, efficiency and applications. With the small cell debate behind us, we have turned to new ones: How should we use unlicensed or shared spectrum? How do we enable a centralized SON layer in the field that works across multiple vendors?

Motive Helps Global Service Provider Know When to Upgrade Customers to Ultra-Broadband

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

As one of the world’s largest network service providers, Norway’s Telenor must constantly upgrade its systems to stay on top. The company runs networks in 12 countries and operations in 29 more, and it has a market capitalization of roughly $38 billion. But it must keep its operations modern to maintain its position, so last year the company decided to upgrade its access network so it could deliver ultra-broadband services and improve the customer experience with ADSL2+ and VDSL2 technology.

Deployment of the upgrade currently is underway, and Telenor expects to have its 500,000 DSL lines migrated to the new VDSL2 platform by 2015, according to a recent case study, Telenor Achieves Competitive Advantage In Ultra-Broadband, on the rollout.

To efficiently deliver ultra-broadband services, however, Telenor needed a way to determine which of its existing DSL lines could be upgraded to VDSL2 without issue, and which ones needed additional infrastructure changes.

How to Speed Small Cell Site Acquisition on a Large Scale

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

Outdoor small cells are now widely recognized as a great solution for expanding mobile capacity and coverage. And their use is expected to grow sevenfold by 2018.[1] So here’s the next big question: How can you put these cells where they’re needed, faster and at lower cost?

Maybe you’ve already encountered deployment issues, including difficulties with small cell site acquisition. According to an Informa Telecoms & Media survey, nearly 60% of mobile operators say that deployment problems are their biggest small cell challenge.[2] In other words, operators’ top concerns are not about small cell technologies or products. Instead, they’re about the practical aspects of getting these cells up and running on light posts, utility poles, bus stops, buildings and other street locations.

This blog looks at a collaborative approach that makes these deployment processes faster and easier. Alcatel-Lucent adopted these methods for our Metro Cell Express Site Certification Program. And we’re discussing them here, because this business model earned a top award in the small cell innovation leadership category.

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