Next Generation Communications Blog


The Ongoing Applicability of Copper-Based Broadband Access

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

Video and other rich media are driving demand for ever-faster connectivity. Indeed, Bell Labs believes demand for bandwidth to support residential triple play services will grow by 10 percent annually.

Sometimes fiber to the subscriber is the best fit to support broadband services for residential and small and medium businesses. However, existing copper continues to have an amazing ability to be enhanced to meet broadband requirements. Indeed, copper-based technologies such as VDSL2 vectoring, Vplus, and can support bandwidth rates of 100, 300mbps or even 1gbps.

To decide which areas are ideal candidates for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) or business, and which can be more than adequately served with copper-based technologies, Bell Labs Consulting suggests that service providers consider:

Alcatel-Lucent Urges Power Companies to Plan Transitions as TDM Networks Sunset

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

It’s monsoon season here in Arizona, so we desert dwellers know as much as anybody about the power of a storm. We also understand the problems that storms can create, such as taking out the power.

However, natural occurrences like storms and other unexpected events like power line cuts by backhoes aren’t the only external challenges with which power utilities have to contend. In a recent blog Dave Christophe, Director of Utilities Marketing at Alcatel-Lucent, explained that there’s now an additional consideration that could negatively impact power company abilities to bring people and businesses power consistently, cost effectively, and safely. That is the systematic decommissioning of legacy telephone and data networks.

Study Shows the Economic Benefits of Government Broadband in Australia

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Go to Australia and you’ll quickly realize that not only is the country run reasonably well, but the continent also has a good digital infrastructure.

This is no surprise, because Australia has made a significant investment in national broadband infrastructure as part of an agenda to capture economic and social benefits in the emerging digital economy. Government broadband, particularly for the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN), ensures ubiquitous national availability of an open access, high-speed services delivery platform.

Private LTE Networks Boost Mining Efficiency

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The mining industry is booming thanks not only to natural resource demands in China, but also because every electronic device, including smartphones a lot of the precious materials that miners pull from the earth. For example, an iPhone contains gold, silver, platinum, copper and many rare earth elements like Yttrium, Lanthanum, Neodymium, Gadolinium and Europium.

Keeping these bustling mines efficient requires a highly reliable, accessible, secure and high-performance communications network. The reason is the mines tend to be operational 24/7/365. It is a major factor in why many mines are in the process of or evaluating upgrading their communications networks, since the existing Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G, proprietary VHF and PMR options are not keeping pace with mining information interchange demands of all types.

How the Airlines Can Make Their Systems, and Air Travel, More Reliable

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

If you traveled by air this summer, consider yourself lucky if you made it to your destination on time. It was a tough summer for both the airlines and for passengers, as IT issues in both July and August led to widespread delays and flight cancellations in the U.S. and beyond.

Most recently, a software update to a plane routing system at an FAA control center in Leesburg, Va., led to what some are now calling Flypocalypse.

Why TWDM is Superior to XG-PON1

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

Fiber-to-the-home networks service more than 130 households today, and PON is the dominant FTTH architecture. This trend is expected to continue, with 90 percent of the forecast 300 million FTTH subscribers by 2019 to be served by PON, according to Ovum.

As PON subscriber numbers grow, so will the types of users it can address. And that will include enterprise customers. That said, TWDM is the best and obvious way forward for service providers in the GPON realm, according to Ana Pesovic, senior marketing for wireline networks at Alcatel-Lucent who in a recent TechZine posting, TWDM technology moves ahead: XG-PON1, explains why TWDM is superior to XG-PON1 on a number of fronts. These include from a bandwidth perspective, in terms of revenue potential, and in its ability to lower carrier risk.

Ovum backs up those statements in its recent article TWDM-PON is on the horizon: Facilitating fast FTTx network monetization, in which the firm suggests that communications services providers would do well to leapfrog XG-PON1 and move on to TWDM-PON.

IP/MPLS Helps the Paris Metro Handle Increasing Complexity and Commuter Volume

p>By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The Paris Metro shows that you can, in fact, teach old dogs new tricks.

For more than a century, the massive Paris Metro has been enabling commuters and tourists to easily travel across the French capital. Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP), which operates the metro network, employs roughly 54,000 employees and has yearly revenue of more than €5 billion ($5.43 billion). As part of the Grand Paris initiative, which has support from several levels of government, RATP is planning:

  • 205 km of automatic metro lines
  • 68 new stations
  • Deployment of 30,000 high-definition video cameras

However, getting there means having a next generation communications network. With that in mind, the Paris Metro is converging its five communications networks into a single IP/MPLS network.

Railways Can Meet Regulatory Needs and Boost Services with IP/MPLS

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

While signaling and train control technologies have long existed to automatically trigger emergency brakes, railways are struggling to put them into place.

In North America, the Positive Train Control (PTC) system was mandated by the United States federal government in 2008 for railway lines carrying passengers and hazardous materials. Yet, the government deadline to have 96,500 km of track with the feature by 2015 will not be met.

Similarly, the European Train Control System (ETCS) in Europe, part of the Europe Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), is currently only deployed on 5000 km of track. The EU is aiming for a rollout on Europe’s 68,000km core network by 2030, and there is a long way still to go.

“With the US government set to introduce a five-year extension of the PTC bill by the end of 2015, and the EU turning the screw on ETCS deployment, this is not going away,” noted a recent blog post, Unlocking the benefits of train control with IP/MPLS, by Thierry Sens, Marketing Director Transportation Segment, Alcatel-Lucent. Sens, explained that, “Railways should therefore embrace the respective mandates as an opportunity to improve their network architecture and technology, specifically by introducing IP/MPLS.”

Next Gen Wireless is Fueling African Developing Nation Growth

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

There tends to be a prejudice in the press for covering the latest and greatest technology and how it is being used in the developed world. The reality is that especially when it comes to wireless, the impact of having ubiquitous and affordable access to communications, not just for voice but for data (aka the Internet), is busy transforming the developed world in ways that may be even more profound.

In fact, in the developing world, connectivity is the lifeblood of economic progress improving not just commerce itself but also the delivery of healthcare and as a tool for rapidly improving the education of young and old alike.  Data is where it is at, and 4G has become as important in the developing world as in the developed. 

A great example of this is in the work Alcatel-Lucent has done with aggressive mobile services provider Smile in Tanzania and the Ivory Coast.  One interesting factoid is that in Tanzania, for every 1 landline subscriber there are 166 mobile phone subscribers.  In short, the age old problem of increasing tele-density in the developing world as the engine for progress is being conquered and with impressive speed that has opened the eyes of man

Why CSPs Will Retain a Strong Position in Video Services

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

Facilities-based service providers that own the access network are ideally positioned to distribute video both today and in the future, according to Chris Croupe, who works in strategic marketing at Alcatel-Lucent. Video comes in a variety of forms, its applications continue to expand, and this kind of content continues to multiply, Croupe notes in his recent TechZine posting, Future of video content: Evolution toward 2020.

Calls leveraging video have become widespread, he adds, noting that 59 percent of smartphone users under 35 years of age make at least one video call a month, and 37 percent of this group does so at least once a week.

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